Whether you’re a freelancer, an employee or an entrepreneur, networking is an important part of building connections. Today, social media has made it relatively easy to search and apply for jobs online.
The internet has made it possible for potential recruits to research a company, job description, wages, hours and read reviews on websites like Glassdoor, without ever having to attend an interview or waste time in unsuitable positions.
Recruiters are also enjoying the benefits of new technologies, with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce — or even remove — time-consuming activities like manually screening resumes.
The only problem is that everyone looking for employment is doing the same thing. People can describe themselves perfectly on paper or on a LinkedIn profile and not live up to the depiction.
A lot of freelancers and recruits online use the same techniques while applying for jobs or new opportunities. So how do you stand out from the crowd?
The quote, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” is a statement on the power of personal connections.
It has long been known that in terms of employment and success in business, one’s knowledge and skills are less useful and less important than one’s network of personal contacts.
Attending networking events isn’t a thing of the past. There are still big functions that a lot of companies invest in attending. If you’re in the market for a job or are recruiting for one, you should consider attending a networking event.
What are Networking Events?
A networking event is a mass assembly of businesses that meet at a selected venue to attract new business partnerships and new employees to work with.
It’s the ideal way to advertise a company’s brand and ethos, anyone can attend to learn about careers and make future contacts or relationships.
Who Are You Likely to Meet?
Your main focus will be to speak to potential employers or business partners.
Almost every type of business can attend networking events, however, the event itself tends to narrow itself down into subcategories to help attract the right people.
The automobile industry, for example, will likely have manufacturing of tyres, cars engines, glass and much more, so it best to double-check the networking event is going to consist of businesses you want to be employed by.
You will also meet people like yourself, someone fresh into the industry wanting a change in their career.
It’s best to converse with different people to see their thoughts on the industry and seek guidance as it might not be their first networking event.
6 Benefits Of Networking Events For Freelancers, Employees Or Entrepreneurs
Here are 6 benefits of attending networking events, whether you’re a freelancer, an employee, or an entrepreneur.
1. Peer Socialisation
Networking events are ideal for finding employment and learning about career opportunities, but peer socialization also has benefits towards your career.
At first, you might think you’re here to compete with people to impress employers, rather than competing, you can help each other with ideas, techniques and the interview process. This will likely increase both your chances of being offered a job.
Offering peers your insights will encourage them to do that same and usually, employers attending these functions are looking to hire multiple candidates so it’s worth swapping contact information and helping each other out in future.
2. Face-to-Face Contact
Speaking to someone directly will always have a bigger impact rather than reading an online application. Employers are likely to want to offer you an interview after learning about your character, against what someone’s C.V. describes them as.
Employers have the same problem with looking for staff, anyone can state on an application that they are energetic and confident, but if they attend an interview in a quiet and shy manner it doesn’t bode well.
Meeting someone in person teaches you a lot more than reading about them. Personal contact naturally makes you more likeable and a better investment.
The more people you engage with, the more self-improvement you will see for the next conversation. If you struggle with confidence, it’s important to continue to engage and the repetition will likely bring confidence to your conversations.
3. Learn About Employers
With researching careers online, your computer will mostly show you what you ask to see. But at networking events, you have the potential to learn about job roles you had never even considered.
Networking opens more avenues to explore and businesses are also trying to advertise themselves positively to people in attendance.
Meeting in person can quickly help identify work perks, holidays and responsibilities which will help you decide if you want to consider the company further.
4. Keep Up-to-Date
Networking events also include companies advertising their current practices in the field you’re pursuing. Having current knowledge in the field you’re interested in shows future employers your dedication and desire.
Businesses advertise their development, products and service at the events, so taking notes of pertinent points will help you in interviews and conversions whilst networking.
Attending networking events can also benefit your current career. Being able to provide feedback on any new updates by competitors or other companies will demonstrate your passion.
5. Find Your Dream Job
In some career paths, it can be hard to break into the sector, you might have the talent or attributes to be employable, but the sector is too crowded and others are picked up on first.
Networking has the potential to help you find your dream job, as they expand your worldview. Finding out about new roles you’ve never even considered happens a lot at these functions.
Networking functions help highlight roles in current demand, and for those who are unsure about the sector they want to join, this is a great way to be inspired.
You might even meet an employer who could advise you to apply for a different role and thinks your personality or previous endeavours will help you succeed in another role.
6. Business Opportunities
The benefits of networking don’t just end with people finding employment. Businesses use networking events to advertise their own services to other businesses.
They give businesses the opportunity to meet other companies in a more informal setting and helps you find out more about the people and personalities behind the business.
Other businesses like lawyers, recruiters and stationery or office supply companies can also attend to help attract new business.
For businesses, a networking event is almost like a group interview stage, as they can meet dozens of candidates without making any commitments and speaking to individuals to see if they see the potential for an interview and employment in the future.
They can also look at taking on new partners or service providers such as property providers, car dealerships and catering services.
Networking can only improve your chances of employment, and even if you are a quiet person speaking to employers on a more informal level with boost your confidence for future interviews.
Networking should inspire new roles or help you pursue current goals. Here’s the #1 tip to help you make the most of your networking opportunities.
PRO TIP: Follow Up
If you haven’t heard from any of the potential employers you spoke to during the networking event, you can always try and reach out to them directly.
With the number of people they spoke to on the day, it might be that you’ve slipped their mind.
It’s always worth sending out a quick email or giving them a call to see what their thoughts are on potentially working together.
Every employer at a networking event knows that all the attendees are either there to seek employment or a business partner, so just remember it’s not just you looking for a collaboration.
Businesses are there to make deals and recruit people too.
Amelia Morgan is a writer that works on topics in relation to employment, business operations and property management in Manchester. She is always interested in new subjects and articles to read about and enjoys writing about the researched subjects.
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