Networking for Newbies

Networking for Newbies

After having attended the American Translators’ Association annual conference, I thought I would add some tips for fellow translators and interpreters who are new to the ‘biz. While I am new as well, having just earned my MA in May, I find that there are some tried and true tips on how to make the most of a conference or job fair. I hope these tips help you all.

Please comment at ‎if they have, or if you have any other questions or ideas based on this topic. I find that networking in person is my strength, so I would love to help!

How to Network:

  1. Come prepared. This involves having a Curriculum Vitae and a business card. While I think it possible that one can land a job without one or the other, it shows that you are proactive and organized. You can stand out from the crowd based on the style and quality of both your CV and card. I have seen some creative, infographic CVs, but what is most important is what your content. Furthermore, you can order quite a lot of business cards for a little amount of money, or order more stylish cards for more money with less of a quantity.
  2. Put yourself out there.  It is hard to talk to someone you don’t know and often difficult to talk about yourself. I challenge you to go outside your comfort zone for networking purposes. This may mean that you will talk to each booth at a job fair, call up agencies or clients that you have not met or create a website. Baby step: try one new networking method for a while before you add another step. You can do it!
  3. Prepare a 30 second ‘elevator speech.’ This is the perfect moment to talk about how you are perfect for the job or how hiring you could help the company meet their goal. Either way, they say that the first appearance makes an impression and the first few minutes we meet someone are the most important. So, figure out your approach, practice it before you go and wow them!
  4. Smile. My grand-mother always told me to, and I think this is the most simple thing that one can do to catch another person’s attention.
  5. Mention the person by name. Especially if they are wearing a name tag. Write their name down later, for later reference.
  6. Ask how they are. Sometimes just a little bit of small talk–in a genuine way-will help.
  7. Look at the person in the eyes. This would be the second-easiest thing to do. It shows sincerity and that you are truly listening.
  8. Listen to them. I am sure they do not want to repeat themselves and would be grateful to have a meaningful conversation.
  9. Engage in conversation, asking about their company to see if it is a good fit for your ideal career.
  10. Follow up. Thank-you letters are a great follow-up to a job interview, and warm emails with CVs.

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