In the past, networking just seemed like a gateway for really awkward encounters. But I recently found some great professional events via Twitter, blogging, and word of mouth.
Thanks to the Internet and people’s desires to have some actual fun, we’ve apparently entered a new era of networking. And the good news is, it doesn’t involve forced conversations or events that cost an arm and a leg.
Below, you’ll find a guide to some of the best networking tools for the post-grad millennial.
I’ve personally used these tools and events to make business connections, meet new friends, and have some fun—and they’ve all been FREE!
Online networking is probably the biggest change to occur in networking in a couple of generations. Making connections no longer requires post-work happy hours; you can do it right from your living room with a laptop. It’s convenient, fun, and free most of the time!
Below, you’ll find some of my favorite online networking tools, many of which have also led to live, in-person networking.
- Brazen Careerist Online Events: Brazen Careerist periodically hosts online career fairs with some of the top companies around. They are also known for their online Network Roulette, which CNN dubbed “speed dating for jobs.”
- Twitter: Believe it or not, Twitter is a great place to make some career connections. By using hashtags, Twitter lists, and other features, you can really make some moves in the networking department.
- Ning Networks: Whether you love knitting or blogging, Ning networks are a great way to find people who have similar interests or work in the same field as you. I recently joined the HerFuture.com network to connect with women who follow one of my favorite authors/motivational speakers. What resulted was an in-person meet-up in my city!
LIVE EVENT NETWORKING
- Local Levo: Local Levo is a live networking initiative from The Levo League—a recently launched company dedicated to helping Gen Y professional women find mentors, make connections, and elevate their careers. They provide workshops, online office hours, and events like their signature #netWORKOUTS to help women connect within their own communities. I recently went to their Miami Launch and had a blast! Visit their website or shoot them an email to find a Local Levo near you.
- The Daily Muse: The Daily Muse is another great resource for both men and women embarking on their careers. Whether it’s entrepreneurship or the corner office, The Daily Muse has got you covered with articles, tips, and endless resources to help you rock your career. They recently launched their nationwide #MuseMeetUps, and I was fortunate enough to attend the Miami event.
While I mentioned events already in place, it’s important to note that networking can be as easy as handing someone your business card or going out for coffee. Or, you and your co-workers can round up all your friends and create your own local event.
Whatever your cup of tea, fun and cost-effective networking events are now easier to find than ever before. Simply go out there, make some new friends, and above all, have fun!
Have you found a great free networking resource? Share it in the comments.
(Note: SALT does not endorse the sites referenced in this post and encourages you to do your own research before using them.)
(Photo: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Paso Robles/Flickr)