Are you getting enough from your networking events?

Many people network because it’s the thing to do, but few actually get tangible results out of it. If you’re using networking events to find your dream job, carry this mindset. These hours aren’t just meant to mingle and update your Facebook status. This is time to boost your career.

The fact that you’re attending networking events is a great start, so don’t give that up. The key is to make the most of your time at these events so that you can land your dream job one day. Here are a few tips to achieve this.

First, find the right networking events to attend.

Instead of choosing events that are local or convenient, find networking opportunities that are truly worth going to. Networking events can be found on networking sites, social media and local organizations. Identify events in your specific area of interest. Also, talk to friends and colleagues about the events that were most helpful to their career search.

Next, prepare like it’s an interview.

The next step is to get yourself ready for meeting your potential new boss. Don’t let your nerves get to you, but do take this seriously. To show up prepared and confident, I recommend the following:

  • Dress appropriately. Your outfit should be professional but comfortable, as you don’t want to be too cold or too hot when talking to others. Sweating during conversations is embarrassing!

  • Bring your business cards. Have business cards on hand for those who ask. If you prefer to go paperless, download an app like Evernote where you can take notes and share your contact info with others.

  • Set goals. You probably won’t walk up to someone and land your dream job, so break things down into smaller goals. For example, do you plan on introducing yourself to 10 new people?

  • Practice your pitch. At networking events, there’s often little time to make an impression. Be ready to deliver your best elevator pitch – just 30 seconds to introduce yourself and what you do.

Last, give your best during the event.

During the networking event, it’s important to be fully present in each conversation. If you’re talking to someone, be engaged and avoid looking around for your next target. This allows you to connect with others and build meaningful relationships. You never know who is in the power to pass along your name! Of course, balance your time wisely, as you don’t want to be stuck in one conversation for too long.

Make sure that you follow up with the people you meet at the networking event. Even if there is not a job available for you at this time, keep open communications. If and when a job does come along, your name will be front and center.