For many years, the advice about networking has been about building your career many do not know how to find an event that effectively caters to their interests, aspirations, and location. People that are first-timers, it can be an intimidating experience. For those that have regularly attended such events, it may feel repetitive and not worthwhile. Through all, networking is key to growing in your career.
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What is Networking?
Networking revolves around exchanging information and ideas. It can also refer to starting and growing long-lasting relationships that benefit you professionally. People all have different reasons for attending a networking event; be it, to network on a social level by building their interactions with others socially or advancing their careers. It is a proactive skill that can be beneficial.
The types of activities that can be offered at networking events:
- Ice Breaker: Two Truths and a Lie
Participants are placed into groups of 5 or fewer, where each member lists two facts about themselves and one lie. Then everyone else has to decide which is the lie out of the three statements. This is fun and gets everyone involved.
- Business Card Collection Contest:This activity is all about competition. Each attendee has to collect as many business cards as possible under a time limit.
- Quick Fire Questions: Each attendee has to find a partner at the event, and you are both given one minute to fire questions to each other. The questions should relate to career aspirations.
Are You Wondering, “How Do I Find a Good Networking Event Near Me?”
When going to networking events, the objective is clear: the bigger you grow your network, the better exposure you get for your career.
But before attending networking events, this is what you should do:
Make use of different social platforms (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to help you find events that are in your area. Use search engines like Google and Ask.com to help find a suitable location. Read the reviews of the past events. That will help you decide if you want to attend the next event in your area.
Look at Networking Sites
There is a range of websites that focus on networking and they will help you find an event in your area:
MeetUp: This is a networking site that focuses on hosting and planning face-to-face and virtual activities.
Eventbrite: This site brings people together from all parts of the world through live adventures and experiences. You can use the search button to match what your passions are and find any events that best suit you.
LunchMeet: It’s like MeetUp, but the significant difference is that with LunchMeet you can host a meeting with one identified professional instead of attending a crowded event.
Jobcase: This site has a wide range of data about open positions and hiring companies. You can set up a profile and receive access to their database, join groups, know about any networking events near you and participate in discussion forums.
Type in keywords that relate to the kind of networking event you would like to attend, and set your preferred location. Write down your goals for attending the networking event and then place the keywords in the search, by doing this will narrow the results to what you need.
University Alumni Platforms
After you graduate from your tertiary institution, you are immediately added to your university alumni platform. It will allow you to find potential job vacancies and keep in contact with fellow alumni members.
Extend Your Interest in Networking to Others
You can never go wrong with spreading information or desired interests to others, as your friends or colleagues could know of industry-focused networking events. Ask your friends where they go to network, whether it be industry based or not. Out-of-industry events can also lead to meeting people with whom you can form personal relationships.
Benefits and the Importance of These Events
Advances your Career
Having a chance to meet people that are as like-minded as you are can be a positive thing since it will allow you to share similar goals. In this space, you can share aspirations and career goals with people and seek out advice. Networking is also considered a tool for looking for investors, employees, business partners and suppliers. You can also meet someone who might see great potential in you and wants to become your mentor. It helps professionals to stay up to date on expectations.
At the networking events, they do not openly advertise vacancies, but your interaction with the right crowd at the event can lead you to an unadvertised job opening or refer you to one. Let your new network know that you are looking for a new position so that they can help you with career advancements. Networking can be a tool for every professional to widen their circles of relationships, and increase awareness of news and trends in their career field.
Attending networking events near you can boost your self-confidence and grow your social skills. It is all about starting conversations and finding common interests, which will assure comfort.
Gain New Perspectives
At times, you come across obstacles that you cannot find solutions to. The next best option is to turn to your network and confide your problem to them and see whether they can help find an answer from a different angle.
Develop Long-Term Relationships
Interacting with your peers or industry people can assist you in developing important relationships for sharing goals and aspirations. Having a wide range of networks can introduce you to people with whom you form deeper friendships that are out of a professional environment and into a personal one.
Going to networking events is suitable for any professional as it helps you interact with other people in the same industry as you, seek advice, and form long-term relationships. Networking events can also help boost your confidence professionally and personally.