Welcome to Part Three of the AALL 2017 Conference Edition of Ask PEGA, an advice column for all PEGA-SIS members. Just a reminder all questions can be submitted here and will be answered on a rolling basis by our anonymous pool of upper and middle managers from law libraries of all types and sizes.
- Use Existing Connections to Make New Ones: The big parties are fun but the best networking is at smaller events, like chapter or SIS events. Ask your mentors to introduce you to movers and shakers. Give them your card and follow up with an email after the conference. Periodically keep up with them. Friends and admirers are important for your career!
- Dress to Impress: Dress professionally, but unless you’re a speaker, don’t be too formal ― it will seem a tad odd and stilted. Aim for business casual for the conference and something more fun for the evening events. Leave the cat socks, stretchy pants and t-shirts at home (real examples from past conferences). You don’t know who you’ll sit next to at a conference session this year, and next year you’re sitting across from that person in an interview.
- Put Yourself Out There: Don’t be afraid to just walk up and join a group and say “Hi, I’m new.” It may sound forward and most people aren’t comfortable doing something like that. Just introduce yourself to as many people as possible!
- Make Friends First: Don’t think of it as professional networking ― that can be intimidating. Just make friends! The professional networking part will naturally follow.
- Focus on You: Go to the events and receptions for the chapters, SISs, and caucuses that reflect your geographic location and your interests.
- Take Advantage of Roundtables: Make sure to check out roundtables offered by different SISs. Roundtables provide an opportunity for attendees to share ideas on a topic and is a great way to meet someone that you might collaborate with on an article or program.
- Keep Notes: Write notes to yourself (paper and pen, email, app) about colleagues you meet, including who they are, how you met, what you talked about, and any shared interests and ideas. When you are meeting a lot of new people, it can be helpful to have those reminders.
- Business Cards: Business cards are a renewable resource; bring them, give them out, and collect others. And remember to write down where you met someone on the back ― it’ll help you reconnect with them later.