Networking events are a fantastic way of meeting new contacts, building relationships and spotting work opportunities. If you create a professional CV and cover letter and visit a well attended networking event then your chances of finding a job will certainly increase. But what if there are no local networking events to attend? Or what if you have a select amount of people you want to target? Then hosting your own networking event could be useful and will definitely increase your profile in your chosen sector.
How to Host Your Own Event
Create a Shortlist
If you are thinking about hosting your own networking event it is likely you will already have a list of contacts you want to invite. They could be old colleagues, they could be contacts from your social network or they could be on your ‘wish list’ of industry bods you would like to meet. Either way it is important to sit down and consider exactly who you want to invite – after all, the networking event is supposed to increase your chances of employment and to raise your career profile.
Depending on what type of event you want to hold you need to think about numbers. If this is your first networking event then keeping numbers to a minimum is a must (until you get more practice).
Choosing the right venue is essential. If you choose somewhere too big people will feel uncomfortable. Similarly you don’t want your contacts to be crammed into a small venue and be invading personal space. Also think about budget here – don’t go overboard.
Spread the Word
Ensure people know about your event at least a month before it happens. You need to maximise your chances of people attending.
Meet and Greet
When your event finally comes together it’s crucial you network. Don’t just sit back and let other people do the talking. Take a few copies of your professional CV, create a cover letter for the event and ensure you hand this out to prospective employers.