Grow your network at formal networking events like a local business association meeting.
For many of us, walking into a room full of strangers sounds as pleasant as a root canal. Take comfort in knowing that many people there have the same goals or interests as you and will be happy to meet you.
Where can you find networking events?
Simple Google searches will bring up many avenues to explore.
- Join or visit professional associations like the local Chamber of Commerce or industry-specific clubs. (There is a surprisingly wide range of these clubs; a search might pull up a local Telecommunications Industry Association, a Women’s Army Veterans Association, a Distribution Contractors Association, and even a National Write Your Congressman Club.)
- Take advantage of conferences, symposia, seminars, and workshops offered by your local American Job Center, professional associations, local colleges, or training providers.
- Join a community job club (often hosted by American Job Centers, churches, and libraries) for regular networking and learning events.
- Join a special interest group of like-minded aficionados. Meetup.com provides a searchable directory of many special interest groups in your area. These too are varied, and might range from a hiking group, to tiny house enthusiasts, to veterans in business, to a ukulele club.
- Tap your alumni network. Does your alma mater have a local alumni chapter that hosts talks by visiting professors or meets in a sports bar to watch games? Does the college placement office sponsor career fairs open to students and alumni (or provide other supports, like resume and job search assistance or a job club)? Do you have a high school or college reunion coming up? Attend, or better yet, volunteer for the planning committee, where you’ll really get to know people by working alongside them.
Go to as many networking events as you can, because the more people you meet, the bigger your network, and the more chances of connecting with someone who can help you get a job