Networking for Newbies
It’s been a busy fall and after attending several post-work events in the past few weeks, I have come to realize that networking is one of the most valuable ways to spend my time as a young professional. Not only is it a nice break from my desk job, but it provides me with the opportunity to market myself and create strong connections along the way.
In every city, there are networking events to attend. Some are put on by non-profit organizations, others by young professionals, media publications or industry leaders. It’s also easier than you think to participate as many of these events are free and full of like-minded individuals. There have been some great recent events organized by Notable.ca throughout the country as well as a PR Mixer in Montreal that targeted young professionals from a wide variety of industries. So if you choose and attend the right events, you’ll likely meet people that you can work with, or at least learn from in some way.
These events are also not boring. Most of the time, they provide a laid back atmosphere where you can chat with other attendees while having a drink and indulging in some tasty appetizers. Who doesn’t like complimentary drinks and food? I know I do. Now, I’m not telling you to go to networking events for the free stuff, but it’s definitely an added bonus.
Now one of the most important things to remember if you decide to attend one of these events is to bring business cards. It is a networking event, after all. Be generous with the amount you bring, as you don’t want to be the person who runs out, sheepishly apologizes and has to take contact information down by pen. Most of us can agree that unprepared = unprofessional.
After attending your chosen networking event, make sure to stay connected with the people you met to help cement that relationship. Send them an email or add them on LinkedIn, which is a great resource for housing your contacts in one place.
So with all this in mind, it’s time to put your newfound skills into practice. RSVP to your next event now and you’ll be on your way to becoming the next networking expert!