10 of the Best Places To Network
Updated February 16, 2023
Networking can be a great way to build your reputation and boost your career. Learning about places to network can help you grow your professional contacts and develop relationships with other professionals in your industry. In this article, we define networking, outline why you should network and list 10 of the best places to network.
Read more: The Complete Guide To Networking
What is networking?
Networking is developing professional contacts through interactions with others in an industry. You can not only find job prospects through networking, but you can also receive valuable tips for improving at your job. Networking can also help you build friendships with like-minded professionals that can eventually lead to jobs.
Why should you network?
Networking has several advantages for professionals. Here are some reasons you should network:
Finding a job: The professional connections you make through networking may lead you to a new job opportunity.
Getting advice: Networking with more experienced professionals can allow you to get advice that may help you advance in your career.
Career development: Networking can offer you a chance to grow professionally. For example, if you're in an entry-level position and you're ready to advance in your industry, networking can help you strengthen your skills and find positions that fit your growing experience.
Helping others get jobs: Establishing and nurturing a professional network can also allow you to help others find jobs, which can be a rewarding experience.
Career changes: If you're thinking of pivoting to a new career, you can network with professionals in the new industry to get valuable advice and learn about new job opportunities.
Best places to network
If you're unsure where to begin your professional networking journey, here are 10 of the best places to start and grow your professional network:
1. Professional associations
There are many benefits to joining professional associations. You can listen to guest speakers, learn about innovations in your profession through professional development opportunities and network with other people in the organization. Professional organizations can also have members-only job boards, giving you access to more job opportunities. Most professional associations require you to pay dues that help pay for events.
2. Job fairs
Job fairs can offer you the chance to speak with employers who are looking for qualified candidates. This kind of networking can allow you to show employers that you're a qualified candidate for their open roles. Even if you don't get hired for a job directly from a job fair, the connections you make can still help you grow your professional network. You can bring some business cards with you to the job fair and give them out to employers and other professionals to help you make initial connections.
3. Public speaking events
Public speaking events are another great networking opportunity for professionals. Events with a lineup of public speakers can give you a chance to learn about new topics or issues in your profession. The speakers at these events can be great additions to your professional network. You can also meet other professionals who attend these events.
4. Alumni events
Education can be a powerful connection in networking that can help you get a job or learn about new opportunities. If you went to a college or university in your area, you can attend alumni events to network with other alumni. If you're a new graduate in your industry, you can attend alumni events to network for jobs. If you graduated a while ago, you can use alumni events to grow your network. Networking with alumni can also allow you to help others find jobs in your industry.
5. Networking events
Your city or local Chamber of Commerce may periodically offer networking events where you can meet new people and learn about job opportunities. These networking events may target a specific industry, but they can still give you a chance to develop professional relationships and learn new things if they're not specific to your industry. Diversifying your professional network with people from different industries and backgrounds can help you grow your chances of finding a job.
6. Professional development classes
You can meet other people in similar industries while you improve your career skills through professional development courses. Taking classes can allow you to network with people who are in a similar position in their careers. It's also a great way to help young professionals grow their careers by sharing your connections.
7. Professional conferences
Professional conferences can give you a chance to meet new people in your industry and reconnect with professionals in your network. Conferences can also offer you the opportunity to get to know industry professionals from other areas. Additionally, professional conferences can offer career development opportunities like courses that you can use to improve your career skills.
8. Civic organizations
Staying active in your community through civic organizations can be a fun way to grow your professional connections. Civic organizations can allow you to improve your community as you meet new professionals who work in a variety of industries. These organizations can also give you a chance to grow soft skills that you can use in your career, like communication and leadership skills.
Read more: 21 Soft Skills for Leadership Success
9. Charities and volunteer opportunities
Charities and volunteer opportunities can be beneficial in several ways. You can network while volunteering for a cause you care about. This can allow you to meet like-minded individuals both in and out of your industry. Networking while volunteering or performing charity work can also help you communicate your work ethic and values while serving a worthy cause. For example, volunteering as a server at a soup kitchen can show people you network with that you have strong communication skills.
10. Cultural events
You can also grow your professional network while you enjoy events in your community. You can learn about other cultures at events like symphony performances and art exhibits. Many booth vendors at community events have day jobs in industries that may be related to your own. Also, attending cultural events can allow you to connect with other attendees.
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