Networking doesn't have to be a vomit of business cards and cold hand shakes.
Networking is essential, whether you are actively job hunting or passively poking around. However, networking doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn't have to look the same for everyone.
Trying to develop your networking mindset? Read this.
Consider these resources to up your networking game and make networking easy:
Volunteering can connect you with other professionals in your area and
builds out your resume. Catchafire finds opportunities to volunteer in a professional capacity using YOUR skillset. Dig around to find opportunities to connect with professionals in your local community.
Volunteermatch is another website that finds one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities, both inside and outside your field. Again, using volunteering as a network strategy will build relationships while allowing you to invest in your community.
3. Visit your local library
When was the last time you visited your local library? Most libraries have ongoing events that might be of interest to you and your personal life. Regardless, libraries provide the opportunity to attend a one-time event to learn more about what is going on in your community.
In terms of creative networking strategies, this provides a great combination of community interaction and personal development. Whether it’s a cooking class, a language class or a free class to sharpen your résumé, the library can be a great way to meet other people and develop your own skills.
4. Go to a dog park
Do you own a dog? Your dog park may be a great marketplace for creative and fun networking. Especially with the rise of remote and hybrid work, visiting the dog park will likely put you in contact with other professionals in your community. Plus, dogs make great conversation starters. What better way to strike up a conversation in a very casual, informal way than while having fun with your dog?
BringFido is a great online resource for locating a dog park near you.
5. Join an Exercise Club
Maybe it's the gym, maybe it's CrossFit, maybe it's a running club; exercise clubs and interest groups are great ways to get to know other professionals in a creative and fun way. People who workout love talking to other people who workout. If exercise is a hobby of yours, get involved in your community to build your network while getting those gains!
Facebook is a great place to start to find interest groups near you.
6. Host Your Own
If you're really looking to get creative in your networking strategy, then maybe planning your own networking event is for you!
Dig into your network and see who would be willing to meet up for a networking event. Remember - you're making your own event because traditional networking is boring - make it fun!
Pro Tip: Go into networking events with a purpose. You should have an idea of your idea job when you get there so you know what to aim for. Read our blog on "The Fit Factor" to learn how to assess your career opportunities.
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