Whether you love or hate the Calgary Stampede, you will inevitably be forced into attending one or more social functions over the ten day event. If you’re thinking about making a career change, attending a company event may be the last thing you feel like doing—but think again! Stampede events are prime networking opportunities! Here are five ways to make the Stampede work for you this year:

  1. There are plenty of community events happening in celebration of the Stampede. Find out when your local church or community breakfast is and see if they need some help. Volunteering is not only a great way to meet other volunteers but you will also gain exposure to a number of attendees you might not otherwise talk to. Be sure to make the most of every conversation by connecting on common interests and finding out what that person does for a living. You never know if there’s common ground that warrants exchanging contact information so you can connect with this person down the road.
  2. Take your business cards to the rodeo. There’s nothing worse than having a fabulous conversation with someone who shows interest in your situation only to not have a business card to gracefully pull out and close the conversation with. Business cards are smooth, non-clunky ways of legitimizing ourselves and establishing a professional relationship with another individual. Even if you are unemployed, consider making a card with your name, job title/profession and contact information.
  3. Mind if I join you? It’s hard to branch out if you aren’t willing to go out of your comfort zone. Whatever the event, challenge yourself to take a seat at a table where you don’t know anyone, or approach a group in conversation. If you are on the introverted side, you might find it easier approaching one person rather than a group.
  4. Don’t be THAT cowboy or cowgirl. Keep your drinking under control. Even though drink lines can be great places to strike up conversations and seize a networking opportunity, you don’t want to be remembered as the person at the event who {fill in the blank}. You never know who is watching and how your antics might catch up with you down the road.
  5. Get to know the “plus ones.” If you find yourself at a company event filled with co-workers, get curious about who they’ve brought to the party. This is a chance to capitalize on a natural connection with someone who might have professional inroads that are calling your name. It never hurts to know who does what and where.

Remember, the less people you talk to and the fewer events you attend, the less exposure you have and the smaller your network will be. Use Stampede as an opportunity to branch out and build your network.

Bryanne Manveiler
Registered Provisional Psychologist
Calgary Career Counselling