The two events in March 2014 that I am looking forward to are:
- Families in Global Transition Annual Conference (March 21-23)
- Devex International Development Career Forum (March 28)
Both events offer some excellent opportunities for professional development, networking and, in the case of the Devex forum, career opportunities.
In addition, there will be a 4-hour writing workshop on March 21 with Jo Parfitt to engage those attendees who are current and developing writers. Given Ms. Parfitt's expertise in authorship and publishing this will likely be a valuable experience that can help people develop their own writing styles FIGT has also put together a short video to describe what the workshop will cover.
Having attended the 2013 forum, I am definitely looking forward to this year's event. The networking opportunities were diverse and it was useful to meet other job seekers along with company representatives. One lesson learned from last year's event was the importance of reviewing current hiring trends prior to the forum and tailoring an "elevator pitch" to intersect with as many of the needs areas as possible. The Devex forum can also be an excellent means to gather more information about the companies who are actively searching for consulting and technical talent to add to their contact databases. Attendance requires approval by Devex so if you are interested in attending, be sure to apply as soon as possible so that your resume details (found in your Devex profile) can be reviewed well in advance of the event.
Preparing for Networking and Connecting with Companies
During the past year, one of the more useful tools I have focused on using when preparing for a conference or networking event is Evernote. The premium version allows for data syncing across multiple devices and is quite helpful when preparing notes on companies or individuals with whom I am looking to connect. The general approach is listed below:
- Create a Notebook for the event
- Write a separate note for each session or company of interest
- For companies -- build a profile highlighting the company's recent and current projects with a particular emphasis on the key skills areas that the projects require. The profile notes can be reviewed just prior to walking up to a company's table so that questions can be proposed that relate to current projects and focus the conversation on upcoming staffing and skills needs.
- For sessions -- compile details on any keynote speakers and review their blogs or published works. Draft questions to be answered during the sessions to be more engaged in the topics to be covered. These can also serve as useful conversation starters should the opportunity arise to speak with the presenter(s).
- Following each contact opportunity additional comments can be added to the notes and action items defined to ensure that any new networking connections or opportunities to submit a resume are followed up.