I’m about to attend the UKSG conference in Glasgow next week, one of many networking events I will attend this year. It’s also one where I feel I would be conspicuous by my absence. The importance and value of networking in your marketplace should not be under-estimated – the more you are seen in action, the more people can gain an impression of you and the more people will start to look for you at events. By making an active contribution to the ‘conversation’ in your marketplace, you can demonstrate interest, knowledge and engagement, all of which will stand you in good stead when you are looking for your next role. This needs to be proactive; going to an event en masse with your colleagues and only talking to them will not get you noticed!
A good way to guarantee involvement is to get onto the organising committee or perhaps a subcommittee of a major group – you will the find you are actively working with other key people in your industry, and you will also have a reason to be actively involved in that organisation’s activities and events, which will give you both kudos and exposure. Committee meetings can also be a very good place to hear the latest news or gossip.
Back up this physical exposure with an active presence on social media – Twitter is a good example of how your virtual profile and reach can expand rapidly. In my experience, people you opt to follow will typically follow you in return, and if you comment on e.g. an event you are attending using the event hashtag, you are immediately a part of that virtual debate and will attract interest.
One word of warning – when you go to an event in a professional capacity, remain professional – you are on show, and you will be judged on your behaviour and appearance. Potential employers will give a wide berth to the loud and the lairy. And be discrete – the best conversations tend to be had out of earshot of the madding crowd, and you won’t be thanked for discussing anything confidential in an environment where you could be overheard. Be visible for the right reasons!