Do you ever find yourself wondering how or when to effectively network? Well, here are five ways you can approach networking on a regular basis without having to take too much time away from your busy schedule; and at the same time make it fun!
1. Attend a Yoga Class or Fitness Center
Whether you are looking to get a jump start on a New Year’s resolution or looking to strengthen your Warrior or Crescent Moon poses, exercising can help unite your spirit, mind and body, and create an atmosphere for great networking and conversation. These comforting and relaxing environments create happiness…and when people are happy, they want to share with everyone. So take the opportunity to share your story…and maybe, just maybe, one of your classmates might just know the right person or opportunity you’ve been looking for.
2. Ride the Bus
If you have ever taken a ride on the #16 Bus on-campus or any metro bus for that matter, you know how crowded it can sometimes be. We all know of folks who are avid bus-goers, but did you know that their bus-mates are in some ways considered acquaintances? It is true, the more you ride the bus the greater the likelihood that you will strike up a conversation with some random stranger who just might have insight to a potential career opportunity. So, instead of hoping your car will start or being able to afford gas this week, take the bus and an opportunity may be waiting onboard.
3. Dress up, grab your laptop and head to the nearest Starbucks
Okay…you may be asking yourself…why should I break out my professional attire and head to the nearest coffee shop? Well…believe it or not, looking the part of a business professional that is taking the time to enjoy a grande, non-fat, no-whip, white chocolate mocha while perusing the Internet for your next job may just blend itself into a random conversation with a Starbucks frequent-club member who would be willing to offer some direction regarding your next career move. Don’t be shy…strike up a conversation and you never know where it might lead.
4. Attend a Social Gathering (i.e. Holiday Party)
The holidays are a great time to get together with friends and family; a time that is filled with holiday cheer, good food, and an opportunity for you to spread the joy of your career wishes. When striking up a conversation with Uncle Fred or your friend Betsy, ask them who they know related to your area of interest. If they happen to not know anyone in that area, my guess is that they will send you Cousin “the one who knows everybody” Vinny. So put on your best holiday sweater, grab a glass of some potent eggnog and share your goals and aspirations with those close to you. Happy Holidays!
5. Call Mom and Grandma
What is the one thing that Mom and Grandma have in common (besides the obvious)? The answer is they thoroughly enjoy talking and telling stories about their kids and grandkids. So give your Mom and/or Grandma a call, maybe even pay them a visit and tell them your story. You will be amazed how far they would be willing to go in order to help out their precious son or daughter. Whether it is at the fore mentioned yoga class, grocery store, book club or at the shopping mall…they both have this innate ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone; and believe it or not…it works. Oh, and don’t forget to send them flowers after they help you land an interview…just make sure you go to the interview alone!