Tonight I’ll be attending Humber Connect, my old school’s networking event designed for students to speak to industry professionals in hopes of getting a great internship. However, this time It’ll be the other way around. I’m going to be representing my agency. So students, what advice can I give to you on your glorious night? Here are some of my experiences that I once had.
Was I nervous? 100% .The people that I would be talking to that evening could’ve been my future co workers. So many questions ran through my head. “How do I approach someone? Who do I approach? Can I drink?”. That last one was made up…sort of. But in all seriousness, networking events can be hard. When I was a student, the only thing that I thought about was who I was going to meet, and how I was going to get a job from that. Which was both the right and wrong way to look at things, and I’m going to tell you why. There are so many other things to focus on at a networking event. Yes, the people you meet will ultimately help you get an internship/job, but here are a few things from my experience that might help you land your dream internship.
When I attended my school’s networking event, I had great grades, a decent resume, and a lot of things I could use to talk about myself. After chatting with a few industry professionals about how great I was at communication, or how my technical skills were impeccable, I could see the eyes of the recipient of my talking start to wander. People are always interested in candidates who have those skills, but holding a conversation, asking questions, and learning are such a big part of what networking events are. If you have great communication skills, show you have them but asking strong questions and engaging with what they are telling you. It’s good to talk about your qualifications, but don’t forget that showing your character and who you are is just as important.
Don’t wait to make a move
Being confident is literally the key to your success in a networking event. When the first few professionals walk in the door, you’re going to feel your heart racing. That’s ok. The people who are coming to these events want to talk to you. That’s the whole point. As Big Sean would say, make moves.
Talk to everyone…yes everyone
Even if it’s not your desired destination, try to talk to every single person in the room. The representatives from agencies the that you want to intern or work for may not show up until later on in the night. Use that time to speak to every person and practice what it’s like to get into the groove of these things. That way, once you see the right people, you’ll know exactly how to approach them and what to talk to them about.
These events can be very beneficial. The reason why I’m in my position right now is because of an event like this. Be confident in yourself and your skills. So for you Humber College students, if you see me tonight, don’t be afraid to come chat with me, I’ll be there to help.
Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.