Recently a college came and visited my place of work. It was fun to talk to students and answer their questions. However, there is something that no one did that was such a basic error that it must be addressed.
We went around the circle of about 12 students and they all said their name. I didn’t remember one of them and this was the only group I met. Think about this from a professors or interviewers perspective, they meet a TON of people and you need to make an impression and make sure they remember you. There are a bunch of great ways to do this that involve a little effort on your part but make you memorable.
1 on 1 Time
After we all talked in the group we broke up and gave tours. Some people were one on one with me and asking me a ton of questions and really wanted to get a network out of it. This is a great time to do it, but you aren’t going to create a network if you aren’t memorable or you don’t make sure the person knows who you are and what you are interested in. When those people got one on one time with me they should have reintroduced themselves saying I know you heard a lot of names and my name is __________ and I’m really interested in…
This also true for classes and professors. On their first week they have 6 classes of 25 people each or a lecture hall of 100. They will not remember you unless you are dressed like lady gaga (which I don’t suggest). Visit their office hours. I can not reiterate this enough for it is so crucial. They want students to care about what they are teaching. I often find if I visit a professors office hours and talk to them about work they will grade a little more leniently then usual.
Additionally, most professors have a network. Tell them what you are interested in and ask if they know people in that industry or field. If they do, you are creating a network. This is also great because they will keep you in mind when they interact with someone in the field you are interested in.
Ask a better and deeper question
People want to talk about themselves. Exploit this. Ask them what their favorite thing at their job is. Ask what a professors favorite part of the semester is or what their interests are. Especially for research professors, this is key. Ask a question that is different so you are memorable. Sometimes you might not be interested, but fake it, if you care about them, they will care about you.
Informational meetings and group visits:
Bring a copy of your resume or a business card and politely ask if they would look at it. A business card or resume keeps a memorable version of yourself in the mind of the person you met with.
Remember meeting with someone in a big company or college face to face is a HUGE IN!! It pretty much doesn’t get better. If you can create an advocate for you at school or at a business you will get a job or internship SO MUCH easier!
Shannon is a senior at Boston University majoring in Advertising in the College of Communication. She has experience working for NBC Universal in New York City as well as PJA Advertising and Marketing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She loves clean functional digital design. Digital is the future of advertising and marketing and Shannon likes to stay involved and on trend. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.