Whenever I go to networking events, I always feel like there is an expectation that I should be going there to find another job - especially since a lot of recruiters go to networking events. How do I make a connection with people that is more than just to find another job?
I don't think it should change your networking much. As long as your transparent with people and let them know that you're not looking for a new role, it shouldn't be much of an issue. If someone's not interested in talking to you because you're not looking to get hired by them, then you probably don't want to talk to that person anyways haha. More specifically, I'd say try to seek out events that don't seem to be oriented around hiring and more so focused on professional development or whatever you're seeking out to learn. I'm sure you'll get it!
I would recommend engaging with people about their hobbies, interests, or work style. Try to have a genuine conversation with them beyond their job title and company. Once people notice that you are not trying to get something from them, they will start to open up and that's when you are able to truly connect. I approach networking as helping other people out so they can help me out when the time comes. I always try to find ways to follow up with something from our conversation so that might be sending them an article or resource that might relate to our conversation or following them on social media. Following up with people after the event will also leave a good impression.