If you’re looking to advance your technology career then be sure to start attending networking events in your area. Navigating tech events can be intimidating and not all events are alike. But today more and more industry professionals are attending networking events and meetups more frequently to help with their job search and career.
Here are a few tips for successfully searching and attending technology networking events:
What To Consider...
Choose an event:
- that benefits your objectives.
- where you know the right people are attending i.e. employer events versus industry forums.
- based on what you want to learn.
- that fits your personality i.e. a platform that allows you to be the best you!
Types of Events Worth Going To:
- Speaking Engagements: take advantage of networking events that have an industry-related speaker. Not only will you learn from experts in the field but you’ll be able to ask questions that you may not be able to ask in other forums. Plus, you’ll be surrounded attendees from other industries giving you an opportunity to interact and learn more about their successes/failures in the field.
- Happy Hour Meet-Ups: Especially if you’re anxious about meeting new people, happy hour or cocktail hour events are a traditional approach to networking. Since it provides you with a more relaxed atmosphere, approaching guests is simpler giving you more opportunity to successfully network!
- LinkedIn Groups: time and time again TechSpec emphasizes the importance of LinkedIn and networking is one of the platforms perks! Log in and explore many industry related networking groups/forums that give you the opportunity to build relationships and communicate on a more regular basis.
- Roundtable Events: these events are great for those of you looking to gain more knowledge by enabling you to communicate more effectively with other attendees. Roundtable events allow for a more open discussion which can lead to new, creative ideas that are especially helpful if you feel stuck. Plus, you’ll make new relationships while doing so!
How To Master The Event:
- Start to network before the event: Most tech events will be active online, like Twitter, to discuss the event and any updates. Joining the hashtag (#) conversation gives you exposure to everyone following along!
- Upgrade your nametag: this is the first thing people will see when networking. Take advantage of the real estate and add a personal call-to-action to make for an easier introduction and conversation starter.
- Research the event: most tech events will provide you with a list of companies, sponsors, or speakers ahead of time. Browse the list and research what interests you. Having an idea of who will be attending will help you navigate the event more efficiently and allow you to prepare questions. Asking about work culture is a great conversation starter but don't hesitate to ask if they’re hiring. Plus, a good conversation may lead to a referral!
- Don’t steal the spotlight: everyone you meet will have a project or service that they'll want to discuss. Don’t make the mistake of making the conversation all about you. Networking is supposed to allow everyone the opportunity to exchange information, so be sure to include all parties in the conversation.
- Bring a digital resume: hard-copy resumes are clumsy. Be prepared with a digital copy of your resume either on a USB, QR code, or business card with profile and contact information. In return, always ask for their business card in return to follow up after the event!
Especially in technology, where it is believed that you wouldn't have to interact with many people, networking events can be an unfamiliar territory and intimidating. The good news is that not everyone is a pro! Networking events have been growing alongside the expanding tech industry so jumping in is essential to your career. Use the advice above and you’ll be a regular attendee in no time. Plus, there will always be an event that matches your personality. Good luck!
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