I started attending networking events during my junior year at East Carolina University. A few people in my organization, ECU AMA, were about to attend a Triangle Marketing Club networking event, and so I decided to go as well. After this event, I jumped at the chance to attend any other networking opportunities that our members were attending. Ever since January 2016, I have attended a minimum of one networking event per month. So, why is it that I enjoy these events so much?
Being a broke college student, I jump when I hear the word, “free.” At most networking events, there are usually opportunities to be entered into a drawing and to obtain free swag. I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff?
So far, I have won a growler from a Red Hat networking event, a few pairs of concert tickets from Triangle Marketing Club events, and a ticket to the next Internet Summit! Some may say that I am very lucky when it comes to winning things, but I like to think it’s my dedication for attending so many networking events over the past year and a half. Who knows what I might bring home from this month’s networking event!
Similar to the free swag and giveaway items, food is always an exciting incentive. Especially when it is free! Most of the networking events that you attend will have beverages and appetizers to snack on while you are networking your way around the room.
Food is a great way to calm your nerves while you build up the courage to go up to someone new and introduce yourself. Or, in the worst-case scenario, going to get food could be a great way to exit an unwanted conversation with someone. Regardless of your reasons, free food is just another great incentive to attending an event.
Being that I am very extroverted, I really enjoy meeting new people and learning about their career experiences. In addition to my general enjoyment of having great conversations, networking is crucial for finding a job. Through my classes and meetings with my AMA chapter, I have learned the importance of expanding my connection base. With the competitive job market, it is essential to have connections in order to venture out to new career opportunities and find a job.
At networking events, the most valuable thing that you will leave with is connections. Although all of the other things are awesome bonuses, the main focus and reasoning behind these events are to build a strong network. With that being said, try to find a great local event in your area that focuses on the relationship and networking aspect at the event.
Put in the comment section your favorite place to network! I’d love to read about them!