You need to network your face off. If you’re scared to meet new people, you need to get over that. Today.
- Use social media to find people you’d like to work with. The most important thing you can do for your career is find people to connect with (via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever your medium of choice is) and meet with them offline. Twitter gives you access to people you might not otherwise be able to connect with on your average Monday. Hop on LinkedIn, find a company you’d like to work with, and then see who else is listed under that company. There’s a list to work off of. Or do a Twitter search for the name of the company. However you find these people is up to you and what you’re comfortable with. But get to know them, add value, and meet them offline for coffee or something.
- Meet up offline. As much as I love social media and I love everything that is coming of this wave of information, meeting people face to face is still the best thing. For example, my first social gathering in Chicago was organized for me before I moved here. A Tweet Up with Tim Jahn, John Morrison and Scott Bishop. It was awesome. I grilled them about anything and everything Chicago and they were my initial circle of friends that quickly expanded.
- Go to SXSW (or a similar conference for your trade). If you’re interested in social media and how it is affecting PR, marketing, and everything inbetween, you should definitely plan on going to SXSW (read: South by Southwest). Attending SXSW is one of the key factors in how I got to where I am today. I walked into SXSW with the intent of meeting some awesome people. My mentor said it would be like my career fair. I walked out of there with two solid contacts re: jobs/internships and a handful more that I could call on if I had questions about the industry. Mission accomplished.
- Go to local networking events. Social Media Club is also a great way to meet people and connect with them offline. If your city doesn’t have a chapter started, get on board and start one. Chances are you know some top tweeters in your city – rally up the troops and shoot Chris an email.
- Talk to people that have been there, done that. For more on how to network in a new city, check out Matt Cheuvront’s latest here. He just moved from Nashville to Chicago and his advice is solid (and timely, since I was just writing the same post). And the podcast at the end shows a little love for yours truly around the three minute mark :). If you don’t know Matt and I’s history – we pretty much took identical paths to get to where we are today (only real difference was Matt didn’t have a job/internship lined up and he moved to the burbs).
Some related posts that might help you through the process of networking, getting job leads, etc: