But I sucked it up, struck up a conversation with someone standing nearby, and had an enjoyable and productive evening.
While considering how to maximize the connections I made that night—and having studied the “master” networkers I encountered—I came up with some tips to help professionals of all experience levels become their own master networkers:
1. Look the part. I’m always in awe of the professional wardrobe choices people make and how an inappropriate or sloppy outfit can affect first impressions. Whether you’re in a job interview or at a networking event, put your best foot forward in the looks department. Make an investment in a tailored suit and comfortable shoes.
2. Show up prepared to make your sales pitch. Bring writing samples, an “About Me” introduction letter, and examples of your creative work. If you are skilled in Photoshop or InDesign, include an example from a past internship. If you reference your social media savvy in your résumé, bring a blog post you’ve written or a tangible illustration of your involvement online.
3. Don’t be afraid to make your résumé stand out. Buy some interesting paper, upgrade your font from Times New Roman, and add some creative formatting.