Networking opportunities are plentiful and varied in today’s professional environment.
Networking remains one of the best ways to get hired for the right position. Making connections through networking opportunities can make all the difference in any job search, potentially leading to more pertinent insights about companies of interest, previously unforeseen job opportunities and introductions to key people. Fortunately for today’s jobseekers, there are more ways to network than ever before, thanks to virtual as well as in-person options. Here are five effective ways to network your way to that coveted new position.
Business & Professional Organizations
Networking through business and professional organizations is an excellent option for finding new employment opportunities. Many of these groups focus on particular job sectors or occupations, so try to locate professional organizations based on your experience or area of expertise. Depending on where your job search takes you, there may be plenty of such organizations, but even if there are few, the ones that exist are good places to look for potential job leads. They may be able to put you in touch with many potential contacts, and possibly even to direct leads about open jobs.
Industry organizations and councils are also excellent sources of information regarding their industries and the areas that hold the most potential for growth. These typically have corporate rather than individual membership, but they can often tell you about key companies and organizations in your field. Chambers of commerce, for example, are among the most valuable resources for learning about local markets and business opportunities, and for making important contacts.
Social & Service Organizations
Participating in networking through social and service organizations presents a great option because of the importance placed on personal relationships in many societies. Networking in social groups can provide new contacts or information regarding job positions that may not be published. Examples of groups that have many branches around the world include Rotary Club, Toastmasters and Lions Club International.
Job Fairs & Career Events
Job fairs and career events present valuable opportunities to network with those who are hiring. Virtual job fairs have become more popular since the onset of COVID-19. They can be hosted by the same groups that sponsor non-virtual job fairs, as well as by job websites or companies that specialize in internet-based recruitment. Attending a job fair can be an effective way to connect with career specialists, hiring managers and recruiters. Virtual job fairs do these things via chat rooms, jobvideo, streams and/or email, and all from the convenience of your home country and living space.
Internship programs provide opportunities to gain important work experience and build professional networks. Traditional internships are still common, but virtual internships have been experiencing growing popularity since before the onset of COVID-19. They provide cost-effective opportunities from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. And while interning remotely requires self-discipline, the experience also fosters valuable time management and digital communication skills, making you more competitive in today’s job market.
Online communities are becoming popular ways to find jobs. Some can help newcomers settle into a new city by connecting them with people who have similar interests or who are fellow foreign visitors. Some communities, such as Eventbrite, InterNation and Meetup, even provide IRL (‘in real life’) connections and events that allow you to meet face to face. Many meetings and events are organized around professions and work interests, as well as social connections that can be used to make professional contacts. Social network sites such as Instagram, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and Facebook can provide you with professional connections and local support. Many jobs and career events are advertised on these platforms, and often there are job groups you can join, too.
There are many networking opportunities, available both in-person and virtually, that will help you bridge the gap between your dreams of the perfect job and the reality of one. Making connections can make all the difference. The good news is it’s easier than ever to network from wherever you are.
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