For postdoc, graduate students and job seekers in the science and technological fields, conferences and conventions can be a prime place to network. Counties across Southern California boast companies in the pharmaceutical, medical, biotech, science and laboratory, technical, engineering and financial sectors which allows this region to provide conferences and conventions throughout the year.
Some ways to effectively and efficiently make the most these science and technological events are to know who is speaking and about what, coming prepared with a plan, and having a mindset to get the most out of the day.
Choosing the right meeting to attend can be based on what scientist or engineer is speaking, who else will be in attendance that you want to meet, and how that topic aligns with your career goals. Arriving prepared with your work (if presenting), business cards, and an impressionable introduction are good tools to making meaningful connections during a busy day. Mingling with speakers is always a good idea, but seeking out other technicians, scientists and even suppliers is great too as they are likely to pass a reference along during their day-to-day work. When the excitement of the day has come to a close, remember to follow up with your new network whether it be through personal emails, sending cover letters and CVs or on social platforms like LinkedIn.
Read up on other ways to work a meeting here, in David Jensen’s article at Science Careers and keep an eye out for local and regional events!