Industry Connections

First impressions are critical when meeting recruiters. One of the most important aspects of networking is the conversation and approach when talking with those in your intended industry. It takes intention and practice to talk with recruiters with confidence and assurance.


  • Project enthusiasm and confidence right away – firm handshake, good eye contact, smile!
  • Dress for success – when in doubt it is better to overdress than under dress
  • Be prepared with examples – share your experiences that are relevant to the company and role you are interested in

Being prepared with a strong elevator pitch is key. Use the four step formula below to help build yours: 

1. Name and Role

  • Who you are, what you do, and what your goals are
  • “I am a student at the University of Florida majoring in ___________. I have experience in ___________. My long term career goals surround solving problems in __________ area.”

2. Competencies and Expertise

  • What are your strengths, values, skills, personal attributes, and successes? What do you know?
  • “My success in [insert experience] allows me to solve problems utilizing my strengths in __________ and guiding values of __________.”

3. Who is your Target Audience?

  • How can you contribute based on your research of the organization?
  • “As a leader in xyz, I see that your team does __________, and I believe I can bring a fresh perspective and help you achieve __________ goals.”

4. Call to Action

  • Wrap up with next steps
  • “I think I am a great fit for this organization and I am excited for an opportunity to learn more your opportunities.”

Recruiters are people too and were once in your shoes, they want to have a genuine interaction with you. Here are questions to use as conversation starters. Having prepared open-ended questions, can help you relax and show the recruiter who you genuinely through a conversation. Open-Ended Questions:

  • What is something that you are really curious about? Or something new you learned recently?
  • How did you get started in your field? What motivated you to choose your degree/major?
  • What is excites or interests you about your work/field/major?
  • What conference or event are you interested in attending or have attended?
  • What do you enjoy doing outside of your work?
  • What is on your reading list? What podcasts are you listening to?
  • What is your favorite place to eat in Gainesville (or city you are in/from)?
  • What is the most interesting class you’ve ever taken?
  • What are some of your strengths?

Ending a conversation gracefully is just as important starting the conversation. Here are ideas on how to wrap up a conversation with a recruiter.

  • I’m going to take a look at [something of interest related to the event], but if I don’t run into you later, I hope to see you at another event soon.
  • I have to head out right now, but I really enjoyed learning more about your work. Could I get your contact info to schedule a time for us to finish our conversation?
  • I had a great time talking with you—are you planning to go to the [related event] next month? It seems like something that would be relevant to both of us, so maybe we could go together [or meet up there].
  • I wonder if I could pick your brain for advice over lunch sometime soon. I need to say hello to a few others here, but can we plan to connect next week?
  • [Name], it’s been great getting to know you, but I need to say hello to a few more folks around here. I hope you have a great evening.