Going the extra mile at conferences.
Setting yourself apart at conferences.
I remember going to a conference in 2019. I had mentally prepped myself for that conference. I was ready for the opportunities that might present themselves when the conference started the next day.
Fortunately for me, and I say fortunately because this situation was a mindset change for me. I got placed with a roommate that was equally mentally prepped for the conference, ready to take on the opportunities that came the next day. The only difference was he had gone the extra mile (which separated us as candidates)
He executed some strategies that left his opportunity to interview/get an offer at the conference to more than just fate. Below is a list of some of those strategies and others I have used post that conference:
1. Hashtags: If the conference you are going to, for example, is the 47th National society of black engineers conference (NSBE), #NSBE47, search for the hashtag. Go on LinkedIn and search #NSBE47 (filter people & posts). Chances are you will see recruiters from the companies you are interested in with that hashtag in their profile or maybe in their “about” section. It’s prime time to connect with them and jump ahead of the line of people that will try to connect with them on that day and beyond.
On the flip side, having the hashtag in your profile is a passive strategy that could pay off if a hiring manager or recruiter searches. Worst-case scenarios: Other candidates going to the conference, search the hastag, find you and you start your networking before the conference begins.
2. Resume database: If the conference you are going to has a resume database, which most of them usually do, please submit your resume into the database. It is a passive strategy that works (my story is the example you need). I submitted my resume into the Tapia conference database in 2019, and Microsoft reached out, ended up interning there, started full time, and as they say, the rest is history.
3. Company events: There will be exclusive company events going on, if you know how crowded conferences can be (in person or virtual), being among those select few is prime. Usually, companies reach out to students to invite them, so this can be tricky, but if you want something, go out there, shoot your shot and try! Talk to recruiters before and during the event, ask if it is possible to get an invite because you have heard about a private event and you did not get one (the worst thing you can get is a no which you already have nothing, so you’re not losing :)) Find out if the friends/connections you have made at the conference can put you on.
LIFE HACK: Even if you get told no, handle it gracefully, avoid making the conversation awkward, keep the relationship going, and the return on investment (ROI) can be huge.
I also wanted to mention these company events when conferences were in person were the absolute best. I mean, Google had us on a Yacht with great food. That’s a well-rounded conference if you ask me.
4. The long game: Companies usually offer many things at conferences, and for someone that might be looking for a job, it is easy to push all of these away because it is not your goal. For example, companies offer mock interviews, resume reviews, LinkedIn Profile reviews, and many more career advancement opportunities — 100% recommend taking advantage of all these. Regardless of how great I think my resume is or how good I think I am interviewing; I always hop on this opportunity because the opportunity to get feedback from people in the spaces you want to be (role/company) is priceless.
Like I always say — In the job search process and life, there are so many things out of your control, but at the same time, there are things we can control. Focus on the things you control, put in your 100% and let the chips fall where they may.
May the force be with you
See you next week…
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