In a post from last week on networking mistakes, I addressed several of the stumbling blocks that many people encounter when beginning to network. But to make those mistakes, you have to at least get started! This article addresses 12 potential avenues for networking that you may have overlooked.
There’s no better job search or career exploration strategy than networking. Deciding to use networking is a wise decision for your career and your own personal development. But too many people think of networking as a stressful event, attending some boring get togethers with old guys that smell funny and wear a toupee, dressed in uncomfortable clothes, shaking hands until you’re sore, giving out business cards, slapping people on the back, laughing at stupid jokes, and trying to act interested and interesting. No wonder no one thinks it’s a worthwhile activity. In reality, networking is a simple exchange of information among like minded people with whom you have a relationship. It doesn’t even have to be a deep relationship either. So long as you know someone moderately well, and feel comfortable with them (and they with you), you can network.
Everyone has networking contacts.
But where do you begin? Where can I start to develop a network?
1. College Professors
Believe it or not, college professors have off campus lives! Many of them act as consults and conduct research that connects them with movers and shakers in business. They know who is hiring, which companies are strong, and which ones pay well. Start and maintain a good relationship with your professors and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.