Does the mere mention of the word “network” make you break out in a cold sweat? It can be hard to navigate the small talk and flurry of business cards once you’re at an event, but how do you even get there? Networking is a vital component in almost every professional field, so it’s important to get in on the scene. If you’re not sure where to begin, try one of the starters for networking in LA.
Update Your Collateral
The first step in networking is making sure that your LinkedIn profile, resume, and business cards are all up-to-date. Be sure to read your resume out loud to check for oddly written sentences or typos and have a second pair of eyes look over anything you’re giving to a potential connection.
Join a Networking Group
Instead of hunting down one-off networking events, consider a membership to a networking a group. You can pick and choose events to attend and add regularly scheduled meet-ups to your Google cal. Often times employers will cover any membership fees as your connections may bring in new business, so be sure to ask your boss what options are available to you. A quick Google search should point you in the right direction depending on your career goals, but if you’re unsure which is best for you, Network After Work is an insanely popular group.
Download an App
Avoid small-talking with a stranger who turns out to be in a completely unrelated field by downloading a networking app! We recommend Shapr or Bumble (it’s not just for dates!) to book your next coffee meeting. Could you be swiping right on your next boss?
Head to a Co-Working Space
LA is chock-full of co-working spaces where entrepenuers and work-from-homers can socialize and network. Pack up your laptop and get some work done among like-minded individuals. We love WeWork and Cross Campus for productive days with new connections.
Ask Your Boss
During your next one-on-one, ask your boss if he or she knows any networking groups in your field. Not only will you grow your professional circle, but you will also be showing your boss that you are serious about your career. They may be able to recommend a conference or networking group to take your career to the next level.
Connect on Facebook
Who’s on Facebook anymore? Professionals, that’s who! Join a networking group like The Femme Authority or Lean in Los Angeles and receive notifications about job opportunities, meet-ups, and even ask for advice. Before you hit that “Request to Join” button, make sure your profile pic is clean and high-res. As for those old college party photos? Either save to your computer and delete or make your albums private.
Stalk, Stalk, Stalk
I am writing this article that you are reading right now because I researched what I was interested in (lifestyle writing) and reached out to Gwen, creator of the LA Girl. Making new connections doesn’t necessarily have to happen over happy hours, so work on an authentic (and grammatically correct!) message to someone you’d like to connect with. Don’t ask for a job straight out – offer coffee in exchange for advice or a chance to pick their brain. You’ll be making new connections in no time.
Networking is a great way to advance your career. Take the next steps to success by using these six tips to map your own career path!