How to put your best foot forward at a networking event…

Having posted the announcement for our networking event and received some resumes so far, it occurred to me that I could probably help folks out and maybe doing a little free coaching on how to make the most of this, or any similar, networking event.

First, let me say this: the event is by invitation only. If you don't get an official invitation, seriously do not worry. We are looking for marketing folks and this group has specific openings that they need to fill. They pretty much all fall under the category of inbound product management although they are somewhat varied. So if you don't get invited to the event, it just means that this group doesn't have a role that fits your background. I will still get your resume to the other recruiters that may have an interest in your background and will ask them to call you if they have a role open. I treat resumes with care...I promise.

Second, I realize that the event announcement is vague. We didn't put details like date and time because that will go out in the invitations. We didn't list job descriptions because we didn't want to get too specific. But if you are invited to the event, there are things you can do to prepare and there are some other tips I can give you on how to work the event. Here we go...

1) Research the group. Know what products we have in the space and what positions we have open. You can search the positions on our career site.  If one particular role matches your background, remember it (you can make reference to it later). You'll have to use keywords and the pull down menus to find the jobs, but  here are the job codes....they will help you know when you have found the right ones:  112833, 119545, 115439, 119543, 124337, 121837.

2) Bring a few copies of your resume. The MS attendees may want to make notes on yours. So it's good to have some extras (maybe bring 6-7...don't worry about funky paper...plain old white is fine).

3) OK, this is the most important thing. Have a sound byte. Since you won't be sitting down for an interview at this event, you want to get the hiring manager interested quickly. Best thing to do is have a sound byte based, not on the kind of role you want, but the kind of experience you have that could apply to the open position. Here's what I would say if it was me attending: "I've got 11 years of recruiting experience in IT, finance and, most recently, marketing. I've been with Microsoft for 5.5 years and in my current role I develop and implement strategic staffing programs around volume recruiting, community building and employment branding. I thought that the position titled XYZ at Microsoft appeared to be a good fit for my background" (take a breath and see if the person has any questions...then you ask them questions). Once you've got this down, you initial approach to the hiring manager will seem very polished and confident (as long as it doesn't sound too rehearsed...some people can wing this kind of stuff and some can't...we aren't hiring professional interviewers so don't worry about it too much, OK?)

4) Know why you want to work at Microsoft.

5) Know what your calendar looks like for the next few days. I don't know if the hiring group will be in a position to schedule additional interviews, but if they were to want to meet you the next day, be prepared.

6) Work the room. There's nothing wrong with trying to meet all the MS folks there. It's not a race, but this is your opportunity to meet people and ask questions.

7) Try to have fun. I know this can be nerve wracking. If you don't go into it with any expectations, you don't have anything to lose, right? So what's the worst thing that could happen? You could learn something. That's not too bad.

If people have any questions, please feel free to post a comment or, if you are feeling shy, send me an e-mail (I'll post answers to the blog but will keep your name anonymous if you want). We'll be sending out official invitations to the folks we feel are a good match within the month. We look forward to seeing some of you down in the bay area!

Comments (5)

  1. Pradeep says:

    Hey Heather –

    Herez an – "always wanted to ask but dint know who to" kinda qn.

    In typical networking events – easily the job seekers outnumber the recruiters by a factor of 10 (atleast) – at any given instant of time.

    In other words – airtime is scarce, competitive and therefore crucial. So yes, I realise your soundbyte recommendation cant be over emphasized.

    But my qn is about networking-ettiquettes towards the other job seekers in the group. Social, cultural, personal experiences make some ppl look aggressive in one’s eyes, enthusiastic in another and down right rude in yet another.

    How does that play by the eye of the recruiter?

    What are your words to social networking ettiquette to the fellow-job seekers?

  2. Heather says:

    Pradeep-People have to use their own good judgement on this. If they don’t have strong judgement around aggressive versus confident at a networking event, then they probably won’t have it as an employee either. I suspect that people that are being overly aggressive know they are doing it. I’d say go with humble confidence over aggressiveness. If one if too aggressive, their approach will be what someone remembers, not their experience.

    But I guess my ultimate feedback is to be yourself. I guess just don’t be yourself on 11. If you have to dial it up or down, make the adjustment. Be aware of how people are reacting to you.

  3. Here’s my previous post called "Putting your best foot forward at a Networking Event". I’m starting to…

  4. As I promised a month ago , I’m going to start blogging about the new Microsoft product that I’m working

Skip to main content