Although the last few years have shaped and played a large part in gatherings and the events industry altogether, they still play a vital and key role in expanding your network, knowledge, and career advancement. It could be the social butterfly in me, but I personally really enjoy networking events. It is a wonderful way to reconnect with individuals; or completely meet new people.
Starting in college, I really tried to gain a large social circle and connections. Granted, this is not for everyone, and I totally get that. As I have gotten older, I have seen how important so many of these connections and acquaintances have made for me and my career. I have learned so much from these individuals and have met others, through those initial contacts that have shaped who I am today.
You could be more introverted and being in a group of unfamiliar people may scare the heck out of you. As an extrovert, I can say at times, that I have even gotten that way myself from time to time. I do not think someone needs to go to an event every other day of the week, but occasionally trying to even drop business cards off at an event or tag team it with a friend is always a good call. If you do not know where to even start to accomplish going to an event, look at the tips below!
Keep the lines of communication open with your second choice. In today’s market, things move quickly and there’s no guarantee you are your top choice’s top choice.
Utilize Professors and Academic Event Listings:
If you are in high school or college, utilizing your teachers, professors, or the school’s event section on the website is af events, they know of some if you take the time and ask!
If you are looking for something outside of your classes to attend, typically, clubs and organizations keep an event schedule available. If those organizations have social media pages or even a website, they have them listed somewhere on there. While you are online, be sure to go to your school’s website. It may take some digging, but school websites always have an events calendar and schedule (or they should) with resources and upcoming events to utilize as a student!
Create Your Own Networking Group
You may be wondering how this is done, but most of us usually have similarities with our peers. Even if this is only one or two people, that is a great start. Utilize your friends and family and grow from there. Does your friend have a friend you do not know? Ask to be introduced or connect with them on LinkedIn! Most people want to expand their circles, especially when it comes to career and industry-related topics.
People also love to share their firsthand experiences and their opinions on jobs they have had, companies they have worked with, or interview questions they have been asked. Once you start growing your inner network, soon you will have a large group of people to connect and talk to within the same or similar career fields that can be valuable resources for you down the road!
Join Local Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn
It is common for groups to exist on Facebook and LinkedIn for people of a certain age, interest level, or city location that are looking to connect and share feedback on numerous things to do! I personally have belonged to various sorority alumni chapters throughout locations I have lived in, as well as joining groups with women who share the same interests in marketing, fashion, and social media as myself! These are wonderful places to meet completely new people and gain insight from individuals outside of your normal circle.
Stay Connected with Alumni
I recently went to an event where alumni were invited from my college’s major program. I went to it with a friend, and we had a fun time reconnecting with familiar faces and meeting plenty of fresh faces! Why was this great? Everyone at the event shared a common interest (which was our college institution and what we majored in). It was great to get my face out there and what I do currently, in addition to meeting others looking for advice! I would recommend getting a friend or friends together to monopolize opportunities like these when you are looking for a job or widen your circle.
Regardless of if you are looking to attend an event in person, or even utilize an online seminar, there are only positives to being present at a networking event! If your traditional way of networking is not appealing, using your creativity, creating your own group, or utilizing past peers is another wonderful way to start. Whether you are looking to get a new job, expand your network, or learn about what others are doing, it is not a bad idea to get yourself out there and start talking!