Everyone says networking is the best way to land your next job or better yet, your dream job. I don't think networking is the only way, but it is a great way to get a foot in the door somewhere. So what does that mean to you? It means you have to get out there! But where is "there"?
I want to submit that it is not just your industry organizations that you need to consider as "networking" opportunities. Think of networking as anyone you meet, anywhere! People fall into the trap that networking only happens when they go to a cocktail hour with the Young Lawyers Association, Petroleum Engineers Society, or Association of CPAs.
But networking happens all the time and it can happen in places that you really want to be! For example, think about your charitable activities. If you are involved in charities, they are a great place to network. So why do I think it is such a great place to network? First, the hurdle of 'do you have anything in common' is overcome. You both are at a charity together; you have a common purpose. Second, charities often need people with various skills like accounting, lawyering, advertising, etc. Charities are a great place to show off your skills to a diverse group of people (and potential employers!!).
So when you get involved, get really involved and get to know some folks. They could be a key to your next job. Also, think about your church, soccer mom group, or other neighborhood/civic involvement. You get involved in these anyway so make them a place where you can "network" by planning an event, shaking some hands, and really getting to know others in the group. Expanding your friend pool is a great way to expand your networking pool as well. These tips I hope make it easier for your to think about networking. The task itself can be daunting if you let it be. But networking in environments where you are comfortable can make it really productive. Go shake some hands!
An easy sheath dress is one of my go to looks for networking events. It is easy to wear and universally flattering. Just click on pictures below to be taken to these looks.
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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