Networking can be one of the most challenging parts of finding a new job. Even after you have the basics down, finding the right place to network is not always easy. If you wait for a networking event to come around, you may end up limiting your opportunities. Luckily, there are plenty of places where you can reach out to people and build relationships that may help you to achieve your career goals. When putting together your networking plan, consider including the following:
The Internet is packed with places designed for professionals to network. LinkedIn is the current king, but smaller sites like Xing and Ziggs are also effective. Other sites like Netparty and NFP offer access to in-person networking events, and niche sites like BizWhiz, which helps people to get in touch with companies, can be useful, as well.
– Chat with Strangers
Unexpected opportunities often arise from chance encounters with new people. The person you are standing next to at the hospital while your wife gives birth may turn into a friend who eventually becomes your business partner. In addition, climbing a mountain on the other side of the planet might help you to meet entrepreneurs and risk-takers who will have an opportunity for you down the road. And if you’re flying between two business hubs, the person wearing a suit next to you might be the source of your next big deal. Remember to demonstrate a genuine interest in the person you’re talking to first, and trust that any business opportunities will show themselves in time.
– Target Places Where People You Can Help Congregate
A lot of successful networking encounters begin with helping someone who can then help you. If you can identify the kind of person you’d like to help, such as a department head at a company where you’re interested in working, you’re off to a good start. If you can then find out where those people convene, such as at a professional association, you can put yourself in a position to meet them, offer help, and start a relationship.