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Educated Networking

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On Tuesday evening, I attended an event for the Alumni of DePaul University’s School for New Learning, along with a dear friend. I graduated in 2012 and she did the following year.

These alumni events range from dinners to cocktail parties, to more social events at select venues/activities. At this one – the wine was flowing though the appetizers were a bit few and far between. Needless to say, wine can make one more comfortable, but in an academic social circle, not necessarily sounding as educated as we might think!!!

All kidding aside, I really had no expectations. It was good timing however, as it became an opportunity to promote the upcoming job fair throughout the evening. At these events, there is always a speech or two from the Dean and from another graduate who has earned tremendous success due to the nature of their own educational pursuits – and most of us, as already experienced and now more mature adults. As we sat down and met more people, it became an easy opportunity to let people know what I was planning. I hadn’t even thought about it prior to attending, or would have been more PREPARED!

In any case, careers and work and transition are often the lead topic of speeches and conversations at these DePaul alumni events. I was prepared enough, but could have been better equipped with more cards to share about the June 9th job fair. Regardless if these individuals were in transition themselves, or they are a organization who is currently hiring, I approached people more generically and that was more comfortable for me. I wasn’t selling – I was informing. At the same time, making a casual introduction of myself and the year I graduated, I would open the conversation at a table by asking about their own graduation dates, campuses they studied at and their focus areas.

My point being today — consider who will be attending the event you are being invited to. Educate yourself and prepare accordingly. Ask others questions that allow them to share something about themselves, before you start sharing your story. Enjoy yourself, carefully, and be sure to thank the event hosts for inviting you.

And then after the event, go out for something to eat with a friend.


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