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When you’re job hunting, keep your mind open to any and all networking possibilities. Anywhere you visit can become a venue for making new contacts – and anyone you meet can be a potential source of information, insight or professional contacts.

Stay Fit While You Network
Whether it’s the gym, the golf course or the tennis court, your physical workout site can serve a dual purpose. You can burn calories and raise your endorphin levels while at the same time, meeting people with whom you share a personal interest. As relationships develop, conversation spills over into your work life. A chat before yoga class may lead to a business card exchange or an invitation to have a latte afterward and discuss possible opportunities.

Spectator Sports
If you prefer watching sports from the sidelines, you can use this time as a networking opportunity. Think of it as multi-tasking in the best possible way. You get to cheer on your favorite team and during halftime or the seventh inning stretch, strike up a conversation with your “friend for the day” who’s been sitting next to you. Use your common interest in the team as an ice breaker.

Book Clubs and Hobby Groups
Groups of friends, neighbors and local residents who form clubs based on their common free-time interests often wind up discussing myriad topics, including their careers. Think about seguing your reading, knitting, bridge or poker hobby into a chance to advance your career.

  • If you can’t find a group, form your own. A great place to start is Meetup, which helps groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in their own local communities.
  • True story #1: A woman in Denver started a club to read and discuss books on women’s issues. An account executive with a web-based application development company joined and through this new friend, the woman secured two major clients for her own company. They could just as easily have been prospective employers.
  • True story #2: The president of a Houston software company joined a neighborhood Bunco group. He connected with a former Microsoft executive who played one evening as a sub. Subsequently, his company became a recommended Microsoft provider as a result.

Members get to know each other as people first. Though not created for business networking, these groups turn out to be just that. The premise is simple: People do business with people they like.

Church or Synagogue Events
Becoming involved in your church, synagogue or other place of worship is by its very nature based on the value of forming a community. In such a setting, members naturally reach out to help enhance each other’s lives. Your parish may even sponsor networking events, offer a job board, or have an individual assigned to providing related assistance.

People Who Share Your Passions
Sometimes the most unlikely places become the best places to network. Events like a Comic-Con convention are attended by large numbers of people who share a common interest in the comics and animation industries – and related industries and jobs.

Even a small event can lead to great career connections, as long as you’re open to meeting new people and making small talk. And remember, never leave home without a supply of business cards!

Partner with a career coach from Alternative Staffing for additional guidance and resources as you build your professional network. Read our related posts or contact us today.

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