Virtual networking events are not a new concept, but never before has it been so important for job seekers to make valuable connections online.
Virtual networking events, job fairs, and conferences are the new norm of the COVID-era medical sales job search. Not only are they necessary to keep everyone safe and healthy, but they’re also more economical — and businesses are catching on.
Since these events are here to stay, job seekers need to make the most of them for a successful job search. Here are five tips for winning at virtual networking events:
1. Define your goals in advance
Before you even register for an event, take some time to write down your goals for the experience. Why would this even benefit your job search? What do you hope to gain out of attending?
Use these goals as a guide when reviewing the list of topics offered at a virtual event. If the topics align with your goals, purchase a ticket. Then, add the talks that interested you to your calendar to ensure you meet your goals.
In addition to what you want to learn, you should also identify what type and how many people you want to meet. Do you want to meet people in a specific company? Folks who have a particular job title? Whatever your networking goals, you can also use them to make a social plan in advance.
There are several ways to participate in virtual networking events. To start, the day will likely be filled with keynote speakers and panel discussions. If there are opportunities for audience members to ask questions or contribute, speak up. Grow your personal brand by allowing other attendees to learn your name in this context.
Give each discussion your full attention; mute all of your notifications and make your conference window fullscreen. This can minimize the distractions that come with being virtual and help you can solely focus on the event.
Another way to participate is during networking hours. These can take many shapes during a virtual networking event, but they’re all designed to facilitate conversations with fellow attendees. With your previously defined goals in mind, be an active participant during meet and greet opportunities to really expand your network.
3. Engage on social media
In addition to the conference-led discussions, you can also engage with fellow attendees on social media. Almost all virtual networking events have designated hashtags to facilitate social conversations. Before, during, and after the conference, use those hashtags to follow along with your fellow attendees.
Before the event, you can share your plan to participate, which speakers you’re excited to hear, and who you’re looking forward to meeting. Tag relevant people and companies in your posts, and follow attendees with whom you want to engage.
During the conference, use social media to share what you’re learning, including quotes from speakers. You can also re-share posts from other participants and comment on posts that resonate with your experience.
After it’s over, make plans to connect with the people you’ve met. Follow the folks you spoke with during networking time and continue to share relevant posts with your new colleagues.
4. Follow up when it’s over
In addition to connecting on social media with the people you met, you should also make more concrete plans to follow up with virtual chats. Write a list of the people you want to continue to build relationships with and then invite each of them to join you for a video chat or virtual coffee.
By pursuing these relationships after the event, you can transform acquaintances into allies within the medical sales industry.
5. Watch the replays
One last way to maximize the value from a virtual event is to tap into the conference’s bonus content when it’s over. This might include replays of all of the guest speakers, PDF versions of presentations, and even a list of attendees.
Watch speakers you didn’t get to see on the day of the event. Reach out to attendees you didn’t meet but would like to get to know in the future.
You’ll usually have access to these resources for at least a month after an event ends. Add some time to your calendar over the next few weeks to get the most out of this content.