Networking. There are mixed feelings on how people feel about it, and as a new professional starting your career, it can come very naturally to some people and not so much for others. Most commonly, networking is used in professional settings – looking for a job, meeting others at events, or looking for an introduction to people in your industry. But how does one network? Most new professionals feel like they don’t know how to network, or even where to begin. Below is a list of networks that are both easily accessible and available to new professionals looking for networking opportunities.
There are many social platforms that can help you connect with people and start to create that conversation. Following people from your industry, looking through Twitter lists, following hash tags, or participating in Twitter chats, these are all ways to find people within your industry. And don’t forget the obvious platforms such as LinkedIn that were specifically designed for you to create a professional profile and allow engagement through a social platform.
Joining industry organizations can be extremely valuable in terms of networking. By becoming a member of industry organizations, they often offer events specifically for member networking and professional development. For example, networks like Ten Thousand Coffees are a great resource dedicated to making connections. Ten Thousand Coffees even lets you create your own profile, contact people, and search for others within any industry you are interested in.
Professional Development Events:
Events are a great place to meet people and include a social aspect that gives the opportunity for networking. There are many free events for new professionals; it is finding them that is the trick. There are plenty of organizations that host specific events geared towards new professionals. The Hip Haus is a perfect example of a free networking event specific to new professionals hosted each month.
I’ve written before about the benefits of volunteering, as it is always good to be giving your time to an organization or specific project you are interested in. Volunteering is also a great way to meet people with similar interests and develop relationships that can further into resources for the future. This could be a reference or a different kind of opportunity that can help develop more skills.
What are some of your networking hacks for new professionals? Let me know in the comment section below.