Last year was my first time attending the AIHce conference. I was a fresh graduate from the University of Toledo, who was lucky enough to start a job working for a company who sent me to the conference.
The AIHce is an amazing place to go for young professionals. Sure most people go for the continuing education credits, but the real experience is for young professionals and students just starting their career. Besides internships and in-school experience, most students don’t have a way to network and grow. The AIHce is a great place to do this. The first thing I suggest for a student or young professional to do before going to the conference is to make sure you have plenty of business cards, followed by signing up for a PAL. Having a PAL who has previously been to AIHce is a great way to find the ins and outs of the conference. It also gives you a person to talk to if you are on your own.
Often young professionals either are in their first job or have not been able to get a job. The AIHce is a great place to bring a resume and get it looked at. It is also a great place to apply for jobs. There are several table tops that you can partake in at lunchtime such as an CIH prep. There is happy hour and going out to dinners with others in the IH field who can offer great advice on how to develop and start your career. There is also often alumni events that you can go to to see recent classmates, old teachers, or meet those who were previously graduated from your university who can offer you great connections.
Make sure you attended every session you can and be engaged, go to the post session and meet other students and young professionals, take notes, and ask questions during the open discussion. Go to sessions on topics that might be new to you or learn about topics that have always fascinated you. Reach out to speakers prior to and after the session via the AIHceEXP app if you have any additional questions about their presentation.
Finally, my biggest suggestion for making the AIHce an amazing experience is to get involved in a committee. If you are not already involved in the Student’s and Young Professional Committee attend the committee on the evening it is offered and stop by the booth. Getting involved in an active committee can be educational and help make great connections. It helps prepare you for your career and offer contacts for when you might not know the answers. Finally, follow up with people you met after and make sure you sustain those connections.