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With graduation weeks away for many postsecondary students, Career Edge staff offer networking advice to those finding themselves immersed in conferences, recruitment events, career fairs, coffee chats, volunteer work, and other networking engagements.

Aziz Smailagic | Marketing Coordinator

“Open with a joke that they’ll remember – talk about anything BUT work.”

Andreea Cotcaru | Talent Specialist

“Listen! Don’t just wait for your turn to talk. It is easy to tell when you are not genuinely interested in the other person. Ask them questions and show interest!

Maintain eye contact – nothing more rude than looking behind them for other opportunities. Give them your full attention, and then excuse yourself politely…(I’ve got lots – I’ve seen so many no-no’s.)”

Jumana Baker | Marketing Design Specialist

“Try to engage in a fun conversation – find common ground or interests outside of work. Once the personal connection is made, then you can go into business.”

Leo Batista | Manager, Information Technology

“Get all business cards after the event and put a note of when and where you met that person. It helps for the next conversation.”

Jimmy Huynh | Digital Marketing Assistant

“If you know who you’ll meet, conduct deep research. Learn about them to find common interests.”

Michelle McNabb | Talent Specialist

“If you’re at a standing networking event, keep your drink in the hand that you don’t shake hands with. That way, as you meet people, you can walk up and shake their hand to introduce yourself without switching hands – also if it’s a beer or white wine, you’ll likely get condensation on your hand so you want to avoid wiping your hands on your clothes or shaking with wet hands.

“Also, keep an eye on people’s body language. If you’re joining a group, see if their bodies are turned toward each other or are turned outwards. If a group of two people are not facing each other directly, you’re good to enter. If facing each other, avoid. If a bigger group, then check for the person whose body isn’t facing someone else’s or someone who is looking around the room. Once you enter into a larger group, listen. Don’t try to speak first. Listen so that you know what they are talking about and then slowly start to add to the conversation.

“Lastly, learn how to exit properly. Don’t just turn around and leave. When you get the chance, say something like, it’s been great getting to know more about [you, a topic, etc, I don’t want to take up more of your time so have a great evening, take care]. And then shake hands or not and exit. Basically, acknowledging that you’re leaving the conversation is the proper way to exit. Sometimes you can then ask for a business card too.”