Attending networking functions is always a great way to meet and expand on your existing network. However, have you considered putting together your own networking event? Even if you don’t have any experience creating and hosting events, this will be a great start! Not to mention an excellent opportunity to meet people and show potential employers you are a go-getter.
So where to start?
Think about who you would like to invite to the network event–friends, family, former co-workers, community members? The sky’s the limit! Fashion a quick list and keep it aside for the time being. Research network events online and also try to remember any network event you’ve been to. Learn from these resources and start drawing up some ideas for your event.
Start with a small event
You don’t have to get carried away with making a big fancy event. Find a convenient location (maybe a local pub or coffee shop) and go from there. You want the event to be somewhat professional, however, stress the causal environment.
Choose a Theme
Pick a theme for your network event. Maybe invite a guest speaker in your network that can talk about starting and operating a small business. People love hearing success stories and learning from them.
However, when brainstorming themes think about your local area–what kinds of businesses are popular? Let your imagination fly. Think of other themes that your guests might want to explore at your event especially though guests speakers.
Create Marketing material
You can design great posters free at Canva. It is a free app and it’s loaded with a breathtaking amount of templates to jump start your promotional efforts. Start advetizing on Facebook (you can get the word out very inexpensively.) Call and email people. Use LinkedIn. Don’t be shy to tell people about your event when you meet them for the first time. People love these types of events especially entrepreneurs and small business owners; therefore, let us many local businesses know about your networking event.
At the Event
Remember to have fun and remain loose. The ultimately goal at this networking function is to help you expand on your job search and hopefully land you a job, but you don’t want to come across that you made it for that reason. Causally drop the idea you are looking for new opportunities when networking. Make sure to talk to as many people as possible. Have some business cards ready to give out (even if you don’t have a job you can print out cards showcasing your past work and that you are seeking new opportunities.) Ask for as many contacts as you can. Even if you are shy, this is an event to help you get out of your shell– after all, you took the initiative to put it together!
Always find ways to network
This is only one of many ways to be creative during your job search! It is essential to always network and build new and exciting connections. Even if you are unemployed, putting together a function like this puts a good light on you. Be aware that people around you are always taken notes…it’s hard to come across talented and ambitious individuals; and an event like this may get you the break you need.