24 Apr 4 Unexpected Places to Build Your Network
No matter if you hope to change jobs in the future, have a desire to move up in a company, or are looking for resources to help you quickly reach your career goals, networking is essential. When you build your network, it helps you build connections that will set you up for success. It also gives you the opportunity to:
- Meet new mentors
- Have eyes and ears to notify you of potential growth opportunities
- Learn more about your current industry
- Have resources to assist you with certain skills, technology, industry changes, etc.
Networking is not something that must be done in the workplace. In fact, some of your best networking opportunities can take place outside of work-related events. Let’s talk about four unexpected places you can build your network.
1. Attend events you are passionate about
Is there a local charity or organization that you care deeply about? This organization may have no ties to your current employment or industry but it is a place where you feel comfortable, where you feel most passionate, and where you want to make a difference. Within these groups and organizations, you will find people who also feel the same way and are motivated to get to know one another.
2. Volunteer opportunities
While volunteering, you will have many opportunities to get to know the people you are working with. You will have opportunities to talk and socialize with each other while you are serving. When volunteering, whether at a school event, church function, a charity fundraiser, etc., talk to those who are also in attendance. You may find that these volunteer opportunities can lead to career changes and finding a job that you truly love, and care about.
3. Extracurricular Activities
Do you participate in a book club or are you on a local baseball team? These are all excellent places to meet new people, strengthen relationships, and build your network. During these activities, you can ask other individuals about their careers and show genuine interest. This also helps you ask questions in a natural, non-threatening environment. Just make sure, as you attend these events, that you are sociable, approachable, and friendly. You also don’t want to appear too arrogant or overconfident as this can create a barrier to letting people in and getting to know you.
4. Shared workspaces
If you are a remote employee, you understand the challenges of networking and getting to know other people because you primarily work alone. Shared workspaces are excellent options to help you get to know others, enjoy flexible work environments, and build connections. This is also becoming a popular option as more than 3.8 million people will utilize these spaces by 2020. Shared workspaces are both physical and virtual areas where individuals can go to complete their day-to-day work tasks. Examples of physical shared workspaces may be short-term office rentals, or even coffee houses with dedicated areas for working.
For some individuals, networking can make you feel uncomfortable and scared. You may not necessarily want to reach out and are afraid of making a mistake. However, by looking outside of the box and building relationships in unexpected places, you can organically build your network in places that you feel more comfortable in. This will help you be one step closer to success.