8 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Networking or Hiring Event

8 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Networking or Hiring Event
Attendees interact during a MOAA Military and Veteran Networking Forum and Hiring Event at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Jennifer Milbrett for MOAA)

Even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers still needed to find quality candidates to fill positions. Numerous networking and hiring events transitioned to a virtual format. 


As the pandemic wanes, we see a return of more in-person offerings to help make the employment match. Whether the networking and hiring event is virtual or in-person, success is about preparing beforehand, arriving on time, looking your best, and making a great impression. 


Here are some tips to help you:  

  1. Dress for success. This is your first contact with the company.  The goal is to exude executive presence in civilian business attire.     
  2. Get rid of distractions. What is more important than talking to the talent acquisition professionals and engaging with fellow job-seekers? Silence the smartphone and be in the moment.
  3. Introduce yourself. Be ready to give your 30-second commercial to employers as you present your professional biography or résumé. Highlight your employment goal, education, qualifications, and relevant experience.  
  4. Be open. Don't ignore companies and organizations you do not recognize. Ask what types of positions they are looking to fill and how they would describe the ideal candidate. 
  5. Do your homework. Based upon your research, explain to a prospective employer why you want to work at the company and outline your readiness for posted positions gleaned in advance from the company’s website or MOAA’s Job Board.   
  6. Bring up the bottom line. As you develop an understanding of the company’s needs and concerns from your conversation, focus on how you can help the company make money or save time through increased productivity or efficiency.  
  7. Be a sharer. In addition to offering your résumé or professional biography, have other essential details handy, like contact information and a link to your LinkedIn profile.   
  8. Follow up. Remember to acknowledge everyone you meet with a personalized thank-you note reiterating your interest in the position and your critical skills that meet the employer’s requirements.


[RELATED: More Transition and Career Events From MOAA]


Don't expect to leave any virtual or in-person networking event or career fair with an offer. The purpose is to make a connection with a company representative and begin a dialogue which may lead to an interview opportunity. In all your interactions with company representatives, ask for contact information, write thank-you notes, and remember to always follow up! 


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.