Networking at Bars: 10 Do’s and Don’ts

A great way to get your name known to potential employers is by attending networking events. Often times, these events can include a cash bar or open bar which can potentially break your chances at making a good first impression. If there’s alcohol, it’s important to know what you can do and what you can’t do.

1. Do Pace Yourself

If you are going to have a drink, know how long you’ll be at the event and plan accordingly. It’s okay to take advantage of the offering, just remember the reason you’re there. You should be able to legally and safely drive home afterwards.

2. Don’t Overdo It

Don’t start off the event chugging drinks down left and right, then go talk to the person who could become your boss. That is, if you don’t act like a slob in between sips and gulps.

3. Do Enjoy a Glass of Wine or Low-Alcohol Level Cocktail

Having something that isn’t going to give you a buzz after one drink is best. If you’re not sure what to order, take a look at what the people around you are drinking. You can even ask them for recommendations and use this as a conversation starter.

4. Don’t Go for the Hard Liquor

You’re not at a career-networking event to get wasted. Remember that. No shots, no Irish car bombs. Don’t ever feel you need to order something stronger than you’re used to because you want to impress someone. It’s not a drinking contest. Other people may have a higher tolerance than you or simply may not care about getting hired.

5. Do Act Professionally

Always be professional when interacting with anyone at a networking event. You never know where a contact might get you. Use every introduction as a way to present yourself in the best possible light. If they don’t have a job opening for your talents, ask if they could mention your name to other colleagues.

6. Don’t Slur Your Speech

A sign of having too much to drink is slurred speech. There is absolutely no reason for this. If you can’t control yourself at a networking event, how will the employers ever feel you’re qualified to work for them? No slurring your speech, no vomiting, no swear words. Just, no.

7. Do Share Details About Your Work Experience

As you talk in more depth, be sure to mention the work experience you have. Share stories about your professional accomplishments and how you achieved them. Captivate an audience by sharing your experiences rather than your milestones. Once they’re interested, they’ll take a look at your resume. And you know they’ll actually read it.

8. Don’t Share Details About Your Personal Life

A networking event is not the place to vent about your family, relationship, or how horrible your last job was. These aren’t your drinking buddies. These are the people who could be giving you a salary that would allow you to live on your own and kick-start your career path. Don’t look at them as equals. Treat them as if they are already your employer. And trash talking your old boss isn’t going to win you any brownie points with anyone.

9. Do Ask for Business Cards

If you meet someone whose company you are particularly interested in, ask for a business card. It shows initiative and that you are interested in learning more about the company. You now have a contact who has personally met you and can recommend you to Human Resources. If your contact is Human Resources, even better. Also establish contacts with those who are already professionals in the line of work you’d like to pursue. You can reach out to them as mentors with questions you have.

10. Don’t Hit on Anyone

Do not use this opportunity to look for a date or a hook up, including other job hunters, and ask for their personal numbers. Establishing business contacts is good, exchanging numbers for a future hook up is bad. Understand the difference.

Of course, you could always decide to skip the alcoholic beverages during the event and avoid the temptation altogether. Your best impression is you when you’re sober. Not buzzed, not high, and not throwing up in the potted plant in the corner. Ask yourself throughout the event, would you hire you based on how you’re acting? The answer should always be yes.