Networking & Volunteer Opportunities

Networking & Volunteer Opportunities Script, Activities & FAQ

Slides for the script can be accessed here.

Slide 1: Introduce yourself (name, school, job, position in Catapult) and the topic

Slide 2: Introduce today’s agenda:

  • Networking and its benefits
  • Networking Do’s
  • Networking Don’ts
  • Benefits of volunteering
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Activities
  • Questions

Slide 3: What is networking and what are the benefits?

  • Networking: Interacting and connecting with people to exchange information and develop contacts
  • Benefits of networking: Sharing information: learning from other people’s experiences and knowledge
  • Connections: expanding your opportunities and meeting contacts
  • Promotion: promoting yourself and/or your business, which will help launch your career
  • Credibility: improving your reputation
  • Self-esteem: giving yourself confidence to talk to others and promote yourself

Slide 4: Networking Do’s

  • Attend networking events (volunteering opportunities, local newspaper, company events)
  • Build a social and business-networking profile on LinkedIn
  • Dress for success - always check the dress code beforehand
  • Research the company, employer, job opportunities and qualifications; If possible, find out who is attending the session and complete background research on them
  • Have a purpose. Before you arrive at an event, ask yourself what you are hoping to achieve (job, meet clients, socialize, etc) and what you need to do to achieve it
  • Prepare questions before-hand for discussion. Ex: What are some of the things you are looking for in this job? What are some of the tasks that are expected of me in this role? How is your experience in your role and organization?
  • Have good and open posture (head up, don’t cross arms or legs, don’t look down.)
  • Shake hands with people and practice a firm handshake before you go to the even
  • Introduce yourself to people - try to introduce yourself to at least 5 people
  • Smile! This conveys happiness, openness, and confidence!
  • Prepare a 30 second biography (elevator pitch) including: work experience, background/origin, skills, hobbies, languages you speak - This will help you answer the common question: What do you do?
  • Bring business cards to the networking events
  • If you are interested in a position, ask for an email or business card to contact them later. Make contact within 72 hours of the event; name the event that you met them at to help them remember where they met you!
  • Immediately after the event, take notes on what to do next time, what you learned, some tips for yourself, etc
  • Message your connections to meet for coffee, where you can discuss job openings, learn about their experiences, learn about the company, etc
  • Reach out to people you already know or have been introduced to.

Slide 5: Networking Don’ts

  • Don’t be late
  • Don’t ask about the person’s salary
  • Don’t be nervous
  • Don’t be shy - business people are at the networking session to network too!

Slide 6: Benefits of Volunteering

  • Connections: you can meet other people and make valuable connections
  • Skills: develop transferable skills that can be used in future jobs
  • Resume: volunteering shows dedication, willpower, and determination on a resume

Slide 7: Where to look for opportunities

Other opportunities - email community.engagement@gtaa.com

Activities:

  1. Name some of the things you should do at networking sessions.
  2. Name some of the things you shouldn’t do at networking sessions.
  3. Is this an example of something you should or shouldn’t do? Act out slouching or having good posture
  4. Give an example of a bad/limp handshake versus good handshake

FAQ:

1. If it is past 72 hours, should I still message the employer?

  • Although sooner is better when it comes to messaging employers, it is still acceptable to reach out later on
  • Don’t message them after two weeks

2. How often should I volunteer?

  • Try to volunteer at least one hour a week
  • Don’t take on a crazy about of hours - ease into it; Add one hour of volunteering when you feel comfortable with it, so you know that you are on top of your work as well as volunteering

3. If I am late to a networking session, what should I do?

  • Depends on how late you are. If you are only a few minutes behind, you can simply act like nothing happened - most people will not ask
  • If you are an hour late, explain your absence to the registration desk and enter the event as if nothing happened - most people will not notice

4. How do I know how to dress for networking sessions?

  • Normally, the event will have a dress code. You can find examples of ways to dress by searching it up on google
  • Example searches: business casual women, business dress code men

5. How should I decide where to volunteer?

  • Volunteer at a place that relates to what you want to do in the future
  • If you want to become a veterinarian, volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, or similar places