9 ways to start networking

Networking is a must no matter where you are in your career.

Use social networking sites.
Reconnect with old peers/colleagues and make new connections with people in your industry—they might post helpful content, share job openings or be a mutual connection for future opportunities.

Request informational interviews.
Use the template below to contact people who work at companies you’re targeting (and check out our cheat sheet on informational interviews). It’s ok if you don’t know them—just try to find a shared interest like your alma mater or a mutual friend/colleague. Note: you’re only asking for info, not a referral, at this point.

Avoid reaching out to recruiters (they get bombarded with requests and might not have many details on a specific department).

Join professional pages or groups online.
Plug into relevant professional groups online. Members will post about events, industry news and companies that are hiring.

Attend relevant Meetups or events.
Target educational Meetup events (e.g., Python Tech & Coding Night) which attract a mix of professionals to network with. Meetups specific to job searching or networking will attract a lot of job seekers, so it’s not as easy for you to be seen.

Tip: When you attend a meetup, ask if they have a dedicated Slack channel you can join. Members and recruiters will post job opportunities in meetup group channels.

Attend career fairs.
Get guaranteed face-time with company recruiters. Before the fair, choose companies to target, research them and prep your talking points. Always bring copies of your resume.

Join professional associations.
These groups usually send regular newsletters/emails with industry updates, upcoming conferences/events and networking opportunities. Plus, professional networks look great on your resume. Search Google for professional associations in your field (e.g., AIPMM: The Association of International Product Marketing & Management).

Create business cards.
Be prepared for unexpected networking opportunities. Create business cards that have your name, title, personal phone and email address on them.

Attend relevant conferences/conventions.
It can be expensive to attend conferences without company sponsorship, but it’s a great way to meet employed professionals (with employer connections). Strike up conversations at sessions, while exploring the exhibit hall, or attending the daily events like happy hours and welcome/closing ceremonies.

Volunteer in a role that showcases your expertise—if you’re a developer, for example, volunteer for an org that teaches youth to code. This is a good place to meet professionals who share your interests and it’s perfect for building your resume.

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