We’ve heard that networking is one way to circumvent the traditional approaching to becoming employed.  But unbeknownst to many, networking is more than the new way to get a job.  In fact, once you’ve been hired, networking can help you get placed on the right projects and with people who will help you grow professionally and succeed. Similarly, when you’re ready for your next move, networking can help you pivot.

With days ran by long to-do lists, conference calls, and meetings, you’re probably wondering where you’ll find time and opportunities to network. But just as you would create a plan for important tasks, you can do the same for your networking goals by setting aside times and places to make it happen. Here are a few places:

Conferences – National or regional conferences provide great opportunities to network with others.  If you’re attending a conference that’s specific to your industry, it is a great way to meet others with similar expertise and who may be a resource if you have a technical question. Or if you’re attending a conference for a common interest such as blogging, you can build a network and can help each other grow your blogging community.

Alumni events – It warms my heart when I come across Wharton and Penn alumni.  It happens so frequently and most recently while I was traveling in Canada!  With that common bond and having “grown up” in the same place and having shared similar experiences that have since shaped our lives, I’m especially willing to help and support my fellow alums.

Boards – Non-profit or advisory boards provide a great opportunity for you to meet people who are accomplished in their respective fields and are passionate enough about a cause to lend their skills and expertise.  Working with them for a common cause, they learn about your work ethics and will be able to speak first-hand about your credentials.

Clubs and community organizations – Coming together to play a game of volleyball or soccer with individuals who are nostalgic about their athletic youth is a great way to stay active. At the same time, you’ll be actively expanding your networking and meeting people who you may not run into with your normal routine.

Training events – Training events bring together people who are interested in improving themselves whether it is rooted in professional development, technological skills or general self-improvement.  These individuals are usually very interested in sharing ideas and strategies and having an accountability partner to help them follow through after the training.  Therefore, this presents a great opportunity to continue the conversation and expand your network over time.

What places and events help you the most when you’re looking to expand your network?  Are they places and events that are part of your normal routine? Or do you go out of your way to network? Share your experiences below!

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