Meet-up Groups: Networking in the Real World

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Networking is the number one way to find a new career opportunity. Thanks to online social media sites, networking online is convenient and at our fingertips 24×7. However, forgoing face-to-face networking in the real world would be a mistake. Online networking with influential industry leaders and peers is great, but you are one in hundreds or thousands of superficial connections. In most cases, people click to connect without thought to creating a genuine relationship of any kind. Network in the real world and you are an actual person standing before the connection, with potential for a genuine relationship.

Networking in Person (Photo: iStockphoto)

 

Real world networking increases your circle of colleagues, and exposes you to new information and opportunities. Do you feel uneasy to take the plunge and attend an industry event? One way is through professional associations. In this forum, you have common ground with the other members. That facilitates interaction and also is a great way to exchange information regarding industry changes and upcoming opportunities. Participation often requires an annual financial commitment. In return, you will access to local and national events and conferences, in addition to ongoing web-based interaction.

If you are looking for an experience to meet fellow New Yorkers on a periodic or frequent basis, meet-ups are worth pursuing.  A meet-up is just that, a meeting of members who are connected in the meet-up group, as well as, others who happen upon a posting for a public meet-up and opt to attend. The beauty of the meet-up is that they are self-run.  This grassroots effort is an effective component in your job search networking effort.   You can search for meet-ups in New York City on sites such as Eventbrite.com, Meetup.com, NYCNetparty.com, LinkedIn.com, and Facebook.com. If you don’t find an active meet-up group or upcoming event in your particular industry, start one. Simply name your group, set it up online, and invite other people to participate.

There are thousands of people meeting up face-to-face at meet-up events. Give it a try. Visit one of the sites above and enter search terms of New York City, career and possibly your industry or occupation. Meet-up, get connected and watch your network grow!

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at debra@careersdonewrite.com