Networking Conversation Starters for the UGA Diversity & Inclusion Career Conference

Each Spring, the UGA Career Center hosts its annual Diversity & Inclusion Career Conference. The event is an opportunity for students to meet employer representatives with a commitment to diversity and inclusion through panel discussions, a keynote address, a networking dinner, and a networking hour.

Benefits of attending include:

  • Listening to employer representatives discuss their company’s commitment to diversity & inclusion
  • Learning about internship and job opportunities
  • Jumpstarting your personal and professional inclusion goals through an inspirational keynote address
  • Earning a FREE UGA leather padfolio and FREE resume prints at Print & Copy Services

Sounds impactful, right? If you are interested in attending, here are some tips on how to successfully strike up a conversation with employers during and after the event.

Introduce yourself with confidence
The first impression is crucial and helps you set the tone with each new person you meet. When introducing yourself to an employer representative during this event, an introductory statement is an effective way to concisely communicate who you are and why you are in attendance. Check out the template and examples below.

Introduce yourself + explain what you’re seeking or why you’re there + ask a question or make a connection

EXAMPLE #1: “Hi, I’m Shauna Stephens. I’m a second-year advertising major seeking a summer internship in marketing and communications. I see from your nametag that you work for AT&T. Can you tell me a little bit more about your company’s commitment to DEI?”

EXAMPLE #2: “Hi, I’m Jamal Thomas. I’m a first-year finance major in the Terry College. I’m excited to learn more about employers with a commitment to DEI this evening. Dr. Bowtie’s keynote was inspiring! What did you think?

Other options for making a connection:

  • Mention a detail about the event. Comment about a speaker, a topic, the location. If you don’t know anything about the other person, what you have in common is your presence at the event, so use it to your advantage. For instance, you could say: “I enjoyed Dr. Bowtie’s point about the inclusive ecosystem. What did you think?”
  • Use a typical conversation starter. You can discuss the Dawgs (#nationalchamps), the food, offer a compliment, comment on the weather, or express your excitement for the upcoming weekend. For example, if you’re in line at the buffet, you can turn to the person next to you and say: “Those vegetables look delicious. What are you going to get?”

Other options for asking a question:

  • What do you love about working at (insert company name)?
  • What have you enjoyed most about the conference so far?
  • How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?
  • What impresses you the most when you are considering hiring someone?
  • Where are you from? • What do you enjoy most about your job?
  • Would it be possible for me to get your business card/email address? It would be great to find out more about [insert topic here].

Follow up
Be sure to send a follow up email to representatives you spoke with thanking them for their time and sharing their experiences and information. Consider connecting with them on LinkedIn and following the employer on Handshake for real-time updates on available positions. We hope you’ll consider attending the UGA Diversity & Inclusion Career Conference and use these tips to help you network with confidence! If you found these tips helpful, let us know @UGACareerCenter!

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