Building your personal network is an important piece of the puzzle to becoming a successful professional. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether a networking event will be productive. Will you gain beneficial new contacts, or will it be an epic waste of an evening? Here are a few tips that will help you find ones that pay off.
Word of Mouth
As when looking for a recommendation on products or services, getting the direct opinion of a trusted source is the best way to know whether something is a fit for you. Ask around the office or find out where industry colleagues are making great connections. Their experiences and assessment of an event they’ve attended can help you to determine whether it is worth your time. Be sure to reciprocate and share your thoughts on events you have attended, as well.
Search the Web
The internet contains an abundance of information, and finding networking events online is as simple as a few keystrokes. First, look for events in your city. By performing that search, you will also be able to find lists of events in surrounding areas. Additionally, websites like Meetup and Eventbrite have whole categories dedicated to business and career interests.
Use Social Media Platforms
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are essential tools for anyone who is building a career or business. As such, they can be easily leveraged to locate local events and learn more about them. If an event you are researching has a hashtag or Facebook/LinkedIn page, take a look at the updates from past events. This will give you a feel for the attendance and activities taking place. Comments between attendees or photos shared can help to determine the tone of the event. In general, joining groups on LinkedIn is a great way to check out networking opportunities. You can usually find one for your industry, alumni group and/or city.
Reach Out to Local Businesses
Most localities have a Chamber of Commerce or similar organization that typically has its finger on the pulse of professionals in the area. These entities will likely host networking events of their own and be able to share information about other opportunities in the area.
Organize Your Own Event
If you’ve exhausted all avenues and still are unable to find a productive networking event, consider organizing your own. Reach out to others in your area who work in your industry to find out what they think would fill the gap. You may also consider this if you make great contacts at other events and think you’d all benefit from getting together.
With a bit of effort, you can find networking opportunities that will work for you and your goals. Making the time to locate and attend networking events can open doors and create relationships in order to take your career to the next level. If you’re looking to make a move, check out our infographic to see the top 10 high-level accounting and finance jobs for 2018.