Sometimes this answer depends on your Subject Matter Expertise, but there are some things that work for most job seekers.
Five best places to network effectively:
Industry events: If you are a Java Developer, a sure fire place to find great networking connections is at Java conference or user group. If you are a CFO, finance or accounting events are good – for instance Robert Half hold CFO round tables in most major markets once or twice a year. These are great events for CFO, Controllers, Accountants, Auditors, Tax, Cost, Inventory, and Procurement specialists.
Go where your potential new boss will go: Go to events that attract hiring managers that you want to work for. Industry events (#1 above), trade shows, Conferences, group meetings.
Networking events: There are all sorts of general networking events, from small job seeker groups, lead exchange groups, all the way through large events. For Job seekers, the best events are the larger ones, that are held periodically in every city of any size. For instance, this Thursday (4/24) in Chicago, Spring-n-Counter, hosted by BNC-Chicago is the premier networking event of the season. Last fall’s event had a turnout of over 400 people. Somewhere in that crowd, there’s someone with a lead to your next job.
Chamber of Commerce events: If the Chamber events are large, they can be valuable. Look for regional chambers over city/suburban chambers, as they tend to get a greater draw. Chamber events are especially valuable for professional service providers (Accountants and Lawyers) and financial sales people.
Non-profit events: If you are targeting a company, learn which non-profits the C-Level managers support. There’s a good chance that manager will support the events of his or her favorite charity. Be careful, non-profit events aren’t an interview. Just a card exchange, with a common interest. Leverage that interest into a coffee meeting, and you’re on the right track.
Back to Spring-n-Counter (Check their site for details & RSVP at Spring-n-Counter) - It’s like a Mega-networking event, sponsored by all these networking groups. How could you not find a lead to your next career move at an event like this?
- American Business Women’s Association (ABWA)
- Business Marketing Association
- Chicago Area Meetups
- Chicago Jaycees
- IIT Stuart Center for Sustainable Enterprise
- LinkedIn Chicago
- Networking for a Cause
- Organization of Women in International Trade - Chicago (OWIT)
- Teaming for Technology
- Technical Recruiters Network (TRN)
- Trade Show Exhibitors Association
- The Transition Network
Which networking events to you attend? Do you make that a regular staple of your professional life, so you have a ready network to help when you are on the hunt for a new career move?
If you’d like more information about how networking can help your career search, a free 30 minute resume consultation, or some advice about your career transition, just email your resume to reCareered at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll schedule a time to talk.