How to Network in a Brand-New City
You’re fresh out of college and you’ve been plopped down in the real world (some might say against your will) in a completely new city. Many of us have been there before.
It’s both exciting and intimidating at the same time, but you are very aware of the importance of building your network. At least, you’re told it’s important. But where should you start, you ask?
Consider the following five foolproof tricks to build your professional network, fast:
Attending company events is the easiest way to start meeting new people. Some companies host happy hours, dinners, and other celebrations for new employees. Make sure that you use that opportunity to learn more about your colleagues as well as the various areas of your company. You never know when you’ll need to coordinate with someone in marketing to complete a task for your manager! It makes it much easier to get the work done when you've already started forming a bond.
Young Professional Networks
There are so many local resources for young professionals that you should take advantage of; a quick Google search will get you started. Here are some examples:
- Are you working in the nonprofit sector in New York? Consider joining Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of NY (YNPN-NYC).
- Working as aconsultant in DC? Consider joining Young Consultants of DC (YCDC).
- Working in the energy sector in Houston? Consider joining Young Professionals in Energy (YPE Houston) – of course, the list goes on for many cities and professions, just search!
Or, for something completely different, check out this article about young entrepreneurs networking nationally through the GenJuice website.
Keep in mind that these are just a few and most of them have groups set up in multiple cities. See what’s available in your area so you can start attending events, which often include professional development workshops, networking socials and panels on topics like grad school. It's a great way to meet others who share a common professional experience and similar interests as you. And if you’re not comfortable meeting dozens of people in a night, take heart and read the advice in this iGrad article about how to become a Gen Y networking pro. Or check out these networking tips for entrepreneurial types in a new city, too.
Local professional associations provide another excellent way to build your network and develop yourself professionally. Associations such as the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) host many professional development workshops, national conferences as well as social events to encourage professionals to come out and engage with one another. The best part of some of these associations is that you do not have to be in that profession; they only require a strong interest. You will be welcomed with open arms and encouraged to jump right in with the rest of the members. This provides you with an excellent way to build your network within a new field and learn more about it.
Community Service Events
Getting involved in your community is an amazing way to meet new people. Depending on the level of commitment you are willing and able to make, you can find events in your area on national sites like Idealist.org or through your local nonprofits' websites. Attending by yourself is great, but consider asking some of your new colleagues if they'd be interested in coming with you for an additional networking opportunity. Either way, it will be a great experience!
This is a great resource to find people with similar interests and professions as you. Whether you want a group to keep up with your German language skills or you want a group to share your passion for cuisine, Julia Childs-style, then this is the perfect way for you to connect with new people in your area with specific interests or hobbies. (This is great for continuing education AND networking!) Also, if you haven't been able to find a young professionals group of interest to you, consider starting one on Meetup. You can also start up a group around any other interests that you have if you can't find a group to meet your needs. Just don’t forget to promote it!
- Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of NY
- Young Consultants of DC
- Young Professionals in Energy
- National Association of Black Accountants
These are just a few places to jump-start your search. For even more ideas, check out iGrad’s library of articles on how to become an ace job-hunting, network-building young professional!
What other ways have you used or considered using to build up your network in a new city?
Proud alumna of Howard University, Nikita works for a large professional services firm in Washington DC. She’s an avid reader, an advocate for young women and girls, and a Twitter addict. Most importantly, she’s your typical twenty-something trying to leave her footprint in this world.top
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