AlumniHow to Network your way to a top Parisian Luxury Brand (and beyond!)

A self-professed timid person by nature, Swiss graduate Sara Hirt worked hard at mastering the art of networking during her studies at César Ritz Colleges Switzerland.

After learning to put her shyness aside, Sara has a very successful luxury internship under her belt, a master’s degree on the horizon and a very bright future ahead. We asked Sara to compile some networking advice based on her experiences for students headed to the International Recruitment Forum next week.  

My networking tips for the International Recruitment Forum

Decide on your goal
During the IRF it’s easy to feel like a little fish in a deep sea. I recommend going in with a goal in order to not be so overwhelmed. As a student I knew that I wanted to find an internship with a luxury company in Paris in order to improve my French and gain experience in the industry. After meeting Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris at my first IRF, I was completely charmed by their friendliness and personalized approach. I decided to make it my goal to work for them. 

Patience is important (sometimes a lot of it!)
The first time I met Le Royal Monceau I shared with them that I was very interested to work for them. However they told me that I was still too inexperienced but I should come back the following year. So that is what I did. At every International Recruitment Forum I made a point to stop by their booth and talk to the recruiters to let them know that I remained interested. The best part was that the recruiters always remembered me. 

Find your moment to showcase your talent
The following year the International Recruitment Forum was looking for volunteers to support the industry booths. I quickly signed up to help Le Royal Monceau and worked alongside them for the duration of the IRF. This was a perfect opportunity to show them my professional skills and personality. They organized an interview on the spot and very soon after offered me an internship position in Guest Relations. 

My tips for networking during your next internship

Get to know your team and their different interests
My team at Le Royal Monceau was superb and we have remained friends following my internship. You never know where your colleagues will end up in the future and its important to make an effort to stay in touch. For example one of my colleagues is now working for a huge luxury brand house in Paris – a great contact in the Paris Fashion scene! Soon he will be changing to work for the Ritz Paris. He has discussed with me the potential to work with his team but it is not currently the right time for me. 

Network with colleagues in different departments and roles
There was a former GM in the office next to mine and I had the opportunity to get to know him. He was very kind and always helpful with questions. He has since kept my email address and we have remained in contact and have discussed opportunities in the luxury business in Switzerland once I have completed my Master’s degree. 

Know when NOT to network
Working in guest relations I was responsible for very exclusive VIPs that stayed at the hotel from royalty to mega superstars. When I was working with these clients, I knew that I had to be someone that they could trust and exercise professionalism and discretion at all times. It was not the time to be discussing ways they could potentially support my future career. 

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