Networking events are a bit of a necessary evil. They can seem like places where other people find succes but there’s none for you. This is not true! Networking events are important for everyone for a variety of reasons. People are always surprising. You never know which connection will come through in the future when you need someone. Everyone can provide value to your professional life. Let’s jump into three concrete ways that networking events can maximize your career potential.
It Brings You out of Your Comfort Zone
If you are uncomfortable in interviews, networking events are your training grounds. Talk to people and be uncomfortable for the hour or so that you are there. Acclimate yourself to that elevator pitch into general talk into specifics with a professional connection, and know that you can always pull your parachute and say “I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn it’s been great to meet you” and move on to another person (or a well-deserved break). This rapid-fire talking is a much better way to practice your communication than being in an actual interview. The stakes are much lower. At a networking event you get to meet a lot of job seekers as well and you can exchange pitches and develop a stronger support network. Not everyone you talk to has to be a hiring manager or a recruiter!
The Value of Communication
After you become comfortable in that situation it’s time to refine your message. You got this. Talking to someone, especially on the fly in a networking environment, is a training experience for your communication skills. Your comfort in networking events hinges, in part, in your expectations of the event. Mistakes are okay in a networking event. Mock interviews or other faux-professional situations will never fully prepare you for your first networking event. Some people are naturally relaxed and thrive in these situations and can focus more on the specifics of their message whenever talking at networking events.
That opening salvo of conversation in any professional hiring event is tremendously important. Staying flexible while delivering your core facts is a tremendously powerful boon in any situation.
Your Professional Network
The unfortunate reality of this game is that everyone might prove a help in your career, but there are never guarantees. It’s all a numbers game. Making face-to-face connections at networking events is very valuable. You want to grab or exchange business cards whenever you can and prirortize making that LinkedIn connection with a little note within a day or two after attending the event. Some people might give you the cold shoulder, but there’s a much greater chance of someone accepting the connection if they’ve just chatted with you at the event. Deepening your professional network lets you leverage it in the future and reach out for career opportunities when you want to make a switch.
Want some help in your job search?
We got you! There are tons of aspects in any job search, and Pathrise is here to help you out in every phase of your job search. After that big networking event we will help you unpack all your new connections and how to leverage your professional network to its fullest extent. Ready to give Pathrise a go? It’s free until you get a job. Apply today!