Career Development in Brussels: networking event for EU professionals

Extraordinary participation at the event organised in Brussels by the Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce.

More than 180 EU professionals joined the networking event “Career Development in Brussels” organised by the Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce. EU Project Managers, Consultancy Managers, Lobbyists, MEPs are only some of the profiles who took part in the event. There were many young people too, most of whom registered in the Alumni Association of the International Master in European Studies. 

“A recent study showed that only in Brussels the ‘EU Affair Business’ creates something like 121.000 jobs. New professional figures are researched, such as EU Policy Advisor, EU Project Manager and Business Developer, which require specific competences as well as the right professional attitude”, with these words Ms. Marta Bronzo, Deputy Secretary General at Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, opened the evening. “But how can we start and grow our career in that field?”

“When we arrive in Brussels we are like Alice in Wonderland, – said Mr. Lars Peter Svane, Chief Executive of EuroBrussels, the most important platform to search for a job in the European framework – “Alice asks to the Cheshire Cat: ‘Which way should I go’; ‘It depends on where you want to end up’, answers the Cheshire Cat”. It is indeed true that Brussels opens many job opportunities, but on the other hand the number of appliers is even more elevated. Competition is very high, explained Svane, for this reason “it is necessary to know where you want to go and, according to that, not to apply for all open job positions: present your applications only for jobs that are the right ones for you”.

“To establish yourself and create your own network in such a dynamic and competitive reality, social media play a central role. “Online profiles can represent advantages or disadvantages, it depends on how you use them – explained Ms Federica Morra, coordinator of the Master at the Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, – and they influence recruiters at the moment of our application.” Moreover: “Social networks are also changing professional relations: until recently, only the applicants used to contact the employers; nowadays the contrary can happen and employers search for their collaborators by using socials profiles”.

In Brussels every piece of the puzzle is meant to do networking” – insisted Mr. Filippo Giuffrida, the president of ESL & Network Europe, “and ‘networking’ in Brussels means sharing information”. Giuffrida clarified that the value of info is based on the question ‘did you know it?’; when the answer is negative, it’s enough to make it valuable. But we have to be very attentive, he recommended to the public, because in Brussels networking is based on trust: “In order to survive in Brussels you have to learn the rules of the play: if you don’t learn to do networking quickly, the Brussels’ jungle will exclude you soon”.

In conclusion, Mr. Daniele Springhetti, Head of Sector at the European Research Council Executive Agency of the European Commission, gave some valuable tips on how to succeed when applying for an EU Agency: “you have to demonstrate that you know well the EU Institution you’re applying for and that you want to work exactly there; you have to convince your recruiter that you are the right person for that job.”

After the conference, the evening ended with a cocktail: it was a moment of great enthusiasm and participation, where people had the opportunity to activate new professional contacts and collect valuable suggestions. Now we are waiting for the next networking event organised by the Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce on April. Set in Brussels, of course.

 

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