I’ve been thinking a lot about networking lately and wondering what other people think it means to “network.” There are so many different ways to network that I thought it might be a good idea to spend a little time considering some of the different options. Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about networking skills in more detail, but for today I’ll give an overview of what I see as some of the basic ways to network, starting with a couple of the most obvious:
- Attend events specifically designed to create or foster networking opportunities. These include career fairs, meet ups, and meetings of professional organizations.
- Build your connections on LinkedIn by adding new contacts and asking for introductions.
- Connect through your family—parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins can all be sources for new contacts in your career field.
- Connect through your friends, and through their families!
- Connect through your neighbors, and through their families!
- Do volunteer work, and make friends with other volunteers.
- Join your alumni association.
- Go to public talks given by local business people hosted by organizations such as the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce.
- Join a service organization such as Rotary Club (or Rotoract, for younger professionals) or Lions Club.
- Join a group of like-minded hobbyists (e.g., model railroaders, poets, bridge players, gardeners, cooks) or athletes (e.g., cyclists, tennis players, runners).
- Stay in touch with college professors.
- Join a support group for your local museum, orchestra, ballet, or theater company.
- Take classes—and I’m not necessarily talking about college classes. I mean take a class to learn a new skill such as cooking, origami, home brewing, quilting, drawing, or carpentry.
- Affiliate with a religious organization, and be an active member.
I’m sure that as soon as I post this, I’ll think of more possibilities! If you want to share additional ideas, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll include them in a future blog.