Curiosity Will Help You Stand Out During Networking

The Career Fair, Meet the Students, and Employer Info Sessions are coming up—be ready!

You may have heard of something called an Elevator Pitch—you know, the idea that you might have about 30 seconds to make an impression on someone, or to make a connection—it gets its name from the idea of riding in an elevator with an executive and using the time to introduce yourself. At its heart, an Elevator Pitch is just about introducing yourself briefly and starting a conversation.

So, if you’ve been nervous about developing some type of scripted Elevator Pitch, it’s time to stop worrying. To prepare to make a good impression at a networking event, answer these questions for yourself:

Start with the Present: Who are you? What are you studying and why?

Go back to the Past: What have you done that might resonate with your audience? Have you been working on a project for a class, been part of a club, or did you have an internship or summer job you want to mention?

Look ahead to the Future: Why might this this company (or specific job, if applicable) fit in well with your plans for yourself?

NOTE: You do not need to deliver this all at once! Remember, this is preparation for the conversation you will have with a recruiter or a company representative.

Start by introducing yourself and what you are studying.

Then, ask a question! The questions you ask your networking contact will likely make a bigger impact than what you say about yourself. Do a little research ahead of time. Look at the company’s website. Is there something there that sparks your curiosity? Note: Curiosity is the secret ingredient that brings a networking conversation to life.

Hint: Do not ask something uninformed and obvious—like, “what can you tell me about your company?” Rather, see where your research leads you. You might ask something like, “I noticed that giving back to the community is one of your company’s values. That is important to me, too, and it was great to see the photos of your creek clean-up project on your website. How do you decide what community events to get involved in?”

Or, “I noticed that your agency provides social marketing strategies and content. I’m interested in content marketing, and I’d love to learn more about the different industries you serve.”

Those questions show that you are actually interested in the company and what they do there. Everyone likes to talk with someone about a common interest!

Then, be an active listener. Respond to your contact, ask follow-up questions. The goal is to have a good conversation. That will make you stand out!

If you’d like support as you prepare for an event, schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor. We’re here to help!

By Pauline Thaler (she/her)
Pauline Thaler (she/her) Career Advisor