These days, it’s not what you know-it’s who you know. For the many professionals traveling to new cities in the era of remote work, cultivating connections and developing new professional and personal relationships is critical to thrive in a new milieu. For many, simply getting to their new destination is the goal, but once the boxes are unpacked it is soon realized that they have very few connections, making their network nearly nonexistent. While seemingly daunting, building an extensive and solid network can be developed with consistent and strategic work.
4 years ago, I too was in the boat of South Florida transplants, with not a friend, family member or familiar face in the Sunshine State. Through calculated measures and effort, I have been able to build a diverse network that has provided everything from friendship and companionship to interview opportunities for jobs. In following the below tips in a way that works for you, your Networking Queen or King status will be well on it’s way.
1.) Identify your brand/Outline your Interests
Define your brand by gauging your career goals, hobbies, and interests and how they can consolidate to ultimately define your brand. For example, my brand is “the business of luxury”, consisting of fashion, journalism, art, entertainment, wealth management and philanthropy. I am tapped in to organizations and events that fall under these categories. Similar to a Ven Diagram, all of my affiliations, regardless of how diverse, ultimately compliment each other and my larger goals.
2.) Strategy & Research
Now that you have thought about your brand and your interests, do your research to see what professional organizations and events are out there that fall in line. Sites like social miami list young professional groups available in the city. Whether you are into the city ballet or symphonies, museums, hospitals or non profits related to any cause, there is most likely a professionals group attached. Most professional groups exist to network, raise money for causes, and put together events for awareness. Your job may even sponsor your membership if you ask and present it’s value. If you are looking for an easy start, connect with your college alumni chapter to easily meet people you already know you have at least 1 thing in common with.
Once you have an idea of the organizations that would fit with you, get involved with 1 or 2 on a leadership/team level, contributing to your area of expertise. This will give you higher exposure and amplify your skills and brand. In doing so, it automatically gives you an opportunity to engage with others in the group on a routine basis.
4.) Introduction Swaps & Small Favors
Once you have garnered a few connections, do an introduction swap: In exchange for connecting a friend to one of your contacts, your friend will do the same with one of his or hers. Building on the idea of the introduction swap, never underestimate the power of doing smaller favors for other people. It’s a quick way to build a reputation and (ultimately) a network. Being a connector will also help your long-term networking — connecting two people you know who will benefit from knowing each other strengthens your network. The key takeaway: don’t be selfish and think of how you can help everyone you come in contact with.
5.) Social Media
Connect on Instagram or LinkedIn depending on the individual after meeting. Be sure that your page reflects your brand accurately. This will help lock in a face to a name. How many of us have been to events, made a lot of contacts, but can’t remember the person’s face? Exchanging socials in addition to number/email will help lock in their memory, give you an idea of them as a person, and tip them off to who you are as well. Be sure to follow up with a message or an invitation to meet again. It never hurts to ask!