Industry events offer excellent opportunities to network, discover new job opportunities, and learn more about the trends and research that are shaping the future of engineering. To get the most out of an engineering event, add these essential tasks to your to-do list:
Prepare your “sound bite.”
Before the day of the event, prepare to talk a bit about yourself and your professional interests. Practice creating a 30- to 60-second “sound bite” to help you express your goals and value more quickly. Start with your name, then talk about what you do. This will help others put you in context, which makes you easier to remember.
Find out who you already know.
If you’re new to a conference or other industry event, ask people you know whether they’re going. If they are, make it a point to meet up with them, if only briefly, so they can introduce you to a few people.
If you don’t know anyone else who is planning to attend the event, you can also email the organizers of the event. Introduce yourself, let them know you’re new and express your interest in seeing them at the event. Chances are good they’ll be willing to introduce you to a few people if your paths cross during the event.
Show up early.
Showing up early to industry events is a great way to get a few moments of “one-on-one” time with other attendees, organizers and speakers. It gives you a chance to introduce yourself individually to other people and strike up a conversation before things get too busy.
When you go to a session, sit in the middle of a row. As people filter in, introduce yourself to them. Not only does this give you another chance for a one-on-one conversation, it also gives you a built-in topic to discuss both before and after the presentation.
Don’t skip the recruiters’ tables.
Many staffing firms not only participate in engineering industry events, they even sponsor them. Don’t leave an event without talking to the staffing partners who are attending – particularly if they specialize in placing engineering professionals in the jobs and companies that interest you. Even if you don’t find an immediate job lead, you’ll build a connection that could pay off in the future.
Follow up with your new connections.
Use the business cards or directory you’ve collected at the event to follow up with people you met and spoke to during the event. Send an email summarizing a memorable point or two, and ask for the follow-up you’re hoping for, whether it’s a chat over coffee or simply a “let’s keep in touch.” Connect with the person on LinkedIn, or use notes in Outlook to help you remember who’s who.
- Create a “sound bite” that will help others remember you and what you do.
- Connect with people you know (or organizers) to help gain introductions to those you don’t.
- Arrive early to connect with people individually.
- Choose your seat wisely at presentations to develop more connections.
- Always talk to the recruiters.
- Follow up with grace.
At SoloPoint Staffing, our experienced recruiters can help you find your next position in the engineering industry. Contact us today to learn more.