Don’t be afraid to approach someone you don’t know. A student who takes the initiative to speak to someone who out ranks them will not go unnoticed.
When possible, for example before special events or meetings, prepare by learning basic details about people you may meet, including names, current positions and past/present companies. That way, you can make the best use of limited time by talking to the right people and you will look more professional for being prepared.
Be aware of what you’re saying with your body language. Maintain eye contact, don’t cross your arms, and avoid fiddling your hands.
Yes, the end result is to make a business contact but that shouldn’t be obvious when speaking with individuals. Make sure you appear engaged and in the individual, what they are saying, and what they do. Above all, make sure the conversation is two-way.
Prepare an “Elevator Pitch.” You should be able to convey who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you want to do articulately and on the spot in either 30 seconds or three minutes.
To help remember peoples’ names, try to repeat it at least three times: when you first meet them, during the conversation, and when you are saying good-bye.
Make sure to ask for business cards before you leave. Write where you met the person and any additional information on the back for future reference and to help jog your memory.
Afterwards, follow-up with a brief email thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in their field. Be sure to include your contact information.
Think quality, not quantity. A few solid connections are more likely to bear fruit than a bunch of acquaintances who won’t remember you after just a brief encounter.
________________________________ 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 406 │ Washington, DC 20037 │ P: 202-861-9797 F: 202-861-9799
BUSINESS ATTIRE Men and Women
Conservative two-piece business suit (solid dark blue or grey is best) Conservative long-sleeved shirt/blouse (white is best, pastel is next best) Clean, polished conservative shoes Well-groomed hairstyle Clean, trimmed fingernails Minimal cologne or perfume Empty pockets--no bulges or tinkling coins No gum, candy or cigarettes Light briefcase or portfolio case No visible body piercing (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.)
Always wear a suit with a jacket; no dresses Shoes with conservative heels Conservative hosiery at or near skin color (and no runs!) No purses, small or large; carry a briefcase instead If you wear nail polish (not required), use clear or a conservative color Minimal use of makeup (it should not be too noticeable) No more than one ring on each hand One set of earrings only
Necktie should be silk with a conservative pattern Dark shoes (black lace-ups are best) Dark socks (black is best) Get a haircut; short hair always fares best in interviews No beards (unless you are interviewing for a job as a lumberjack!) Mustaches are a possible negative, but if you must, make sure it is neat and trimmed No rings other than wedding ring or college ring No earrings (if you normally wear one, take it out) ________________________________ 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 406 │ Washington, DC 20037 │ P: 202-861-9797 F: 202-861-9799