4 Ways to Grow Your Network

If you are changing jobs, careers, or industries, you need to expand your network.  Start with everyone you know: your friends, family, former colleagues, former supervisors (if you didn’t burn any bridges), college alumni, religious group, book club, poker buddies, yoga class, and group members.

But you are thinking, I don’t know anyone in that field, or that industry, or that company.  What do I do now?  Time to expand your network

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION– Join your alumni association and take advantage of activities in your area.  From cocktail parties to game nights, to lectures and boat rides, there are lots of events where you can meet new people.  Membership gives you access to a directory so you can search for people in the field or with the job title you seek.

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION – If you are staying in the same field, and do not already belong to your professional association or society, now is the time to join.  If you are already a member, get on a committee to get to know people better.  If you are changing fields or industries, it is absolutely imperative that you join a professional society or association.  Attend their meetings.  Register for a conference.  Get to know as many people as possible and use each contact as a way to learn more about the industry, the company, the individual’s background and preparation for the job target.

VOLUNTEER- One of the best ways to learn about a new field and get some experience is to volunteer for free.  Dozens of organizations are looking for volunteers who can help out with office work, staffing tables at events, writing strategic plans, creating a brochure or a logo, designing a marketing plan.

SEARCH LINKED IN – Use your current connections to link to 2nd and 3rd degree connections.  Find people by using the advanced search function on Linked In.  Put in a job title or company and find people who are two levels above you.  Then see if you have any connections who might know them.  Or, once you have the name, do a Google search to get their email address and phone number.

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