How to make the most of a networking event?

Life in Melbourne never has a dull moment and there is always something to do. In January, we saw Novak Djokovic win the big title at the Australian Open at Rod Laver Arena. This month, we cannot wait to catch a glimpse of racing cars at full throttle at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix. Undeniably, we have quite the eventful year ahead with the Food and Wine Festival and the Australian Football League season kicking off this month, the infectious International Comedy Festival launching in April, the long-awaited 2019 pre-FIBA World Cup games with Team USA against Australian Boomers in August and the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November.

At Progressive Recruitment, we personally believe that these events and more represent fantastic opportunities for our candidates and clients to network and connect on common interests in a non-work setting. By expanding your network, you can embrace new opportunities whether it be for career advancement, personal growth or to simply exchange best practice knowledge in your relevant industry. Networking is a crucial component that is valuable to all professionals and the key is to be strategic. This is especially when you are deciding which networking event is best aligned to your personal or career trajectory.

For many of us who are not natural conversationalists, networking can be a nerve-wrecking experience. If you think this is you, rest assured - partaking in networking activities isn’t as daunting as you think and below are some tips to help you. In fact, networking provides the right platform to engage with the community and widen your reach to people with common interests and aspirations. Networking can also open doors to further opportunities for you including free career advice from your conversations with more experienced professionals within your industry.

We further note below 3 points for you to consider ahead of a networking event:

1.    Have a purpose

Before any networking event, we recommend that you go in with a purpose in mind. Are you looking to stay current in the industry and wanting to keep abreast of current market trends? Or are you in a start-up firm looking to learn from other start-ups’ challenges, be inspired by success stories or simply bounce off ideas regarding a new project that you’ve been planning to launch? For whichever reasons you may have, networking can certainly meet one of your needs including a morale boost when you interact with people with similar interests. Having a clear purpose in mind will also enable you to put your best foot forward and allow you to explore new opportunities that are best aligned with your career goals. Make sure to bring along your business card so you can easily pass it on to your new contacts should any opportunity arise.

2.    Do your research

Networking is an ideal way to expand your knowledge and learn from the experience of others. It is also a great opportunity to make connections, develop relationships and raise your profile. Prior to choosing a networking event, we recommend that you review the event agenda and determine whether it will be providing you with valuable information or allow you to connect with the relevant people. For example, if the event is a conference – you can find out who the key speakers are and if there is any opportunity for a meet-and-greet with them to further explore the topic that has been discussed. If it is a recurring event, you can also have a look at past sessions and learn more about the crowd that typically attends. If this event requires digital confirmation, you may even have a browse on social media platforms to take note of people who are also attending. One of the advantages of social media is how we are all an open book – at least to the extent that one is willing to share publicly. This is why it plays to your advantage to have a look at someone’s LinkedIn profile before the networking event so you can have an idea of the person’s experience, expertise and areas of interest.

3.    Have an action plan

If you are looking for a new job and happen to meet a potential employer at the event, it will be highly recommended that you have an action plan so you can readily impress them. You can also let us know so we can facilitate a subsequent meet-up for both of you after the event. However in order for this to take place, you’ll need to make yourself visible during the networking event and make a great first impression when introducing yourself to your prospective employer. You can even go the extra mile and research about the company to identify ways you can contribute to their business and talk about the value-add that you can bring or even demonstrate some of their values to show how good of a fit you’ll be.

Would you like to join our events?

At Progressive Recruitment, we recognise that having a professional network can help your career in more ways than one – you can expand your support group, express your opinions on industry trends and even set the stage for your next career move. However, it is equally as important to maintain your relationships with your new connections after the event so your efforts are not in vain.

Every year, we ensure to organise networking events for our candidates and clients. High on our Australian events agenda for 2019, we have the Big Bash, NRL State of Origin, AFL match days, boat cruises on the Sydney harbour, family fun days at the movies amongst many other exciting events. We are also organising our second Women In STEM event following the success of our first session last year. If you are interested in taking part or simply finding out more about any of our events, do not hesitate to contact Simon Costa on +61 0424 135 452 or visit us on our Linkedin page to learn more about what we do. 

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