One of the advantages to attending a business event is that there many people there who work for companies in and around your industry. Regardless of if you are currently employed or seeking work, the chances are good for making a connection that could eventually lead to a new career opportunity while attending a trade show, conference, convention or seminar.
I personally have made many connections at events that lead me to new jobs. This was true when I worked as an employee, and still true now that I work for myself. The jobs did not come right away, but the friendships that grew from meeting at a conference later became the catalyst for a career opportunity.
However, people do not want to be accosted by job seekers while in the buffet line at happy hour. Thus, the best way to conduct a job search while attending an event is to just be yourself. Those who are not openly looking for work are usually the ones who get offered the new opportunities from their participation.
Those who know of available jobs inside their companies are not looking to fill those spots with people who are desperate and pushy to get an interview. Instead they are interested in discovering ambitious people who will contribute to the success of their business and are fun to be around.
Too often people show up at these events with a stack of resumes in their hands. Each person they meet is greeted with the long version of their career needs. Since a trade show style event is not a job fair, this is not what the others in attendance are there to hear.
The best way to maximize your job search needs is to down-play your own career needs while leading with your interest in other people and your passion for the industry. If you are seeking new employment it is fine to let others know this, just do not lead with it in the first five minutes of the conversation. Keep in mind their purpose for being at the conference, not your purpose. If they are there to learn and have fun, getting an ear-ful about your job search is not in line with their priorities.
Put a priority on getting to know people first and build a relationship. If they get to know you, and like you, they are more likely to assist you in getting into their company.
Leave the resumes at home. Follow up later, if appropriate. Be engaged with people.
Have A Great Day.
Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections. http://www.conferencecatalyst.com