As a social media recruiter for PT and OT students, I spend most of my time sitting at a desk and looking at a computer screen. So when I got the opportunity to go to Portland, Oregon for the APTA National Student Conclave (NSC) in October, I jumped at the chance. When I returned from the conference, I had two main takeaways: I’m impressed with how long people will stand in line for a free t-shirt, and I once again realized how important it is to network at events like NSC. Here are three reasons why I believe networking at national events is not only a good idea, but an essential part of one’s professional development:
- Polish Professional Social Skills – Millennials are sick of hearing the same scolding from generations before us: “Kids these days are so wrapped up in their phones and have no idea how to have a normal conversation with their fellow man!” Darn it. It’s so annoying when those people are right. Social media has not and likely will not take over all forms of communication so it is paramount to be able to navigate a conversation with another professional in a confident and dignified manner.
- Someone is going to that conference, why not you? – National conferences and conclaves happen in different cities every year, which means that people from all areas of the country are likely to find a conference close to them. What was fascinating is that even though we were in Portland, there were still a very good representation of schools from the East and Gulf Coasts. The journey may be long and difficult, but if you are able to travel to these national gatherings, it speaks volumes about your commitment to learning as much as you possibly can. Which rolls into the last point…
- Potential employers go to these events and they remember who shows up – This is a culmination of the two previous points. Yes, today’s technology allows us to reach a greater number of people but as social beings, we still put great value on face-to-face interactions. If you meet a potential employer in person, the likelihood of them remembering your name and qualifications is much higher than if they were to only meet you online. In a world where a great majority of business transactions are done over the phone, that type of exposure is invaluable.
Do you have more pieces of advice on how to navigate national conventions and conclaves? Please share your wisdom in the comment section below!
Joseph Bastian is a Recruiter for the Aureus Medical Social Media Recruitment Team.