From new safety guidelines and regulations to the latest news and trends around the industry, there is much to be gained by attending construction conferences and networking events. Construction professionals who are seeking new opportunities, or even just want to advance in their current positions, should consider being actively involved in conferences and other industry events. Establishing roots in the industry can help boost your career advancement and improve your chances of connecting with new opportunities. Here are some tips to make the most of networking.

Go Out There and Become Part of Your Industry

Attend events like the Associated General Contractors (AGC) Convention. It’s where construction contractors from around the country meet up to share and receive practical knowledge. Candidates can benefit from an array of informative breakout sessions and keynote presentations. Another renowned function is the Construction Super Conference that is held annually, typically during the month of December, and is recommended for mid- to senior-level professionals who work in any of the legal and commercial construction markets. Events like these not only provide candidates with valuable industry information and resources, but also enable valuable networking opportunities.

Plan Ahead Prior to Conferences

Instead of planning random visits, candidates should target booths that they know by reviewing a vendor map in advance and making an effort to make connections with those experts. Prepare a list of questions and figure out what you want to say to them More importantly, get the list of attendees and connect with them by email in advance. LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding shared interests with people. Don’t underestimate the importance of dressing appropriately for occasions like this. Although you may be overdressed wearing a suit and tie, you don’t want to go looking like a slob either. Opt for business-casual consisting of a jacket without a tie.

Give a Presentation at an Industry Event or Trade Show

One of the best ways to gain respect and establish authority in the trade is to author a report or give a presentation that helps people understand a specific construction issue or solves a problem that the industry might be suffering from. First, gather a list of the attendees and send a personalized email to the them about your presentation, or about networking meetings. Then, get to know your audience and speak their language. Pick a topic you’re familiar with and research it thoroughly. Create an appealing introduction and proceed to tell your audience about emerging trends, cutting-edge products, etc. Allow yourself to be accessible for any questions or concerns that they might have following the presentation.

College students can even jumpstart their construction careers with real-world work experience that can be received through internship programs. Entry-level candidates are encouraged to partner with an experienced recruiter to receive valuable advice about professional advancement opportunities. There are a variety of different certifications, sponsorships, and career development programs that can help to optimize career development.

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