Land the gig: Network it

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Networking events can be as painful as a trip to the dentist. Unfortunately, networking really is proven to, well, work. A few tips and tricks for networking can help you navigate the room like a pro -- and help advance your career in the process.

First things first: Actually get to the event. Don't talk yourself out of it last minute because you had a long day, or it just started drizzling. And definitely don't forget your business cards.

Once your there, it can be easy to set up shop by the food table and nibble on cubes of cheese, waiting for someone to spark conversation with you, but try not to let your social anxiety get the best of you and actually put yourself out there!

Know how to pitch yourself. Practice how you're going to describe your job to other, and keep it succinct unless they ask follow-ups.

But don't crazy with the business talk. One key mistake when chatting it up at networking events is that it's all about work. Actually, purely business or professional talk can turn people off. Think friendships, not connections. Try to get personal and forge genuine relationships while you're there.

FInally, follow up the next day with the people you met ... and voila! You're a networking pro!

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