When Attending A Career-Related Conference…
As emerging professionals climbing the ladder in a niche industry, it’s more likely than not that you’ll find yourself attending a career-related conference at least once a year. Industry conferences are typically held in metropolitan areas and cater to specific realms of your area of work, as well as offer new learning experiences. Not only are informational sessions held at conferences, but industry-related vendors, networking events and keynote speakers are often highlights of the events.
If you’re prepping to attend your first industry conference you may not know what to expect – but don’t be intimidated! Leave it to the conference veterans to prep you on all that you need to know prior to arriving at the grand event.
DO come prepared
One of the worst situations to be in is meeting a key industry exec and being without business cards. Be proactive and put the finishing touches on your resume and business cards a week prior to attending a major conference. Having a friend look over your professional materials always helps!
We know, it’s a girl thing – bringing that extra sassy little black dress “just in case.” But resist the urge to overpack and bring your business casual necessities to the conference. Versatile pieces can be paired with statement-making accessories to easily transition from a daytime to nighttime look.
DO take advantage of networking opportunities
Although the notion of networking may seem daunting, practice makes perfect. If approaching an industry insider scares you, start small by approaching a fellow conference-goer and learning about what they do. Making connections with people that share the same passion as you is one of the keys to industry success.
DON’T overdo the nightlife scene
One of the perks that comes along with industry conferences being held in big cities is the thriving nightlife. Although going out with your peers is a wonderful idea, be mindful that industry execs may be out on the town, too. A drink or two to loosen up is expected, but keep yourself in check – you’ll want to feel great for the next day of learning!
DO follow up
You’re going to meet important people at conferences – make sure you stay fresh in their mind! If you have the chance to meet a magazine editor or PR practitioner that you admire, take the initiative to find their email or Twitter handle and follow up with a sweet and concise thank-you message. The thoughtful gesture will automatically place you higher in their mind than the conference-goers that neglect to follow up.
Above all else, remember that industry-related conferences are valuable learning tools – put in a full day at the conference and ask questions! You’ll return to the workplace as a more knowledgeable employee and will be ready to advance your career in no time.