As some of you may have noticed if you saw last week’s post, I took a litttle trip to Manchester last weekend. The following Monday I wrote a post about it which covered the gender-related conclusions, this week I want to talk more about why it’s important to go to these things whenever you can.
When I went to this conference, I didn’t really know what to expect or even how formal or informal it’s going to be. I went there with the expectation to learn something about the state of the music and media industries from the women that are actually in the thick of it, and at the same time see what they’re like and if I ever enter any of these arenas, what are the people I would likely be working for like. And I went to see if I could gather any information that would be useful for my dissertation on live music and heavy metal.
Turns out the conference was so relaxed you could easily approach the speakers after each panel, a golden opportunity for anyone who, like me, was looking to build contacts. It took some courage and the best opening lines I could muster to do it, but I went up to them. I introduced myself, I commented on the points made in the panel, I took and interest in their work. And I walked away with not one, but two interview arrangements for my dissertation research. We are now also connected through various social media, therefore I am on their radar for future opportunities and have a huge edge against most of the competition if I do apply for a job with any of them, simply because they’ve met me before.
Competitions are good, you get prizes and pretty CV material. But conferences give you the chance to make your presence known among the industry community, which WILL give you an edge and might even bring the job to you.
It’s time to put that natural charm to good use!
P.S.: Next weekend I’ll be attending another conference in London which lasts until Tuesday so the post should be out later the following week, but the delay should be well worth it.