Published 18 October 2017 Category: Compass Tips

Extracurricular Networking Options

Meeting new people, getting to know them, and learning from people you already know is part of what you do every day. In the professional world, this is called networking. And it's not done solely when you're looking for a job, but is something you should always do as an effective way to learn about career options and gather advice for achieving your goals. Here's how to navigate your way to the networking events that best suits you.

If you’re looking for alternative ways to help your career or boost your business exposure – outside of the usual networking events, check out these tips on extracurricular networking options.

Community Volunteering
Offering your services to local community organisations is a great way to meet other civic-minded individuals. Choose organisations that represent issues, events, or activities you’re passionate about, and volunteer for roles that showcase your business/career skills to those who may benefit from them outside the volunteer organisation as well. For example, an accountant who loves to hike may fill the role of Treasurer of a nature conservation organisation.

Local or Regional Networking Groups
Become part of a broader business network by joining a local or regional networking group. Most cities have a local Chamber of Commerce as well as business improvement groups. Meeting other business owners and executives at breakfasts, lunches, and other events gives you the opportunity to network with people you may not meet in your regular work/home routine.

Professional Organisations
Real estate agents, bankers, engineers, lawyers, and medical professionals are some of the professions that may require enrollment in a regional, provincial, or national professional organisation. Instead of dreading those quarterly meetings or continuing education classes, view them as opportunities to give and get referrals, as well as to identify new career advancement opportunities. Take courses, join committees, and offer your services to meet influencers in your field.

Interests and Hobby Groups
Sometimes the best business connections happen when you’re engaged in an activity that has nothing to do with your career whatsoever. Groups such as book clubs, political associations, running groups, surfing, cooking classes (whatever your interests); allow you to pursue a hobby while meeting others. You never know when your next client or job may appear.

Remember, your next client, business partner, or potential boss could be sitting next to you at your child’s piano recital; they may even be helping you hang a banner at a local run for charity.