3 Tips For Building Your Network In A New City
Relocating to a new city can present a number of challenges to job seekers and career changers –including how to build a new professional network. Whether you’re in the process of planning to relocate or have already done so, there are a few things you can do to prepare in advance, start building lucrative relationships, and make your transition a successful one.
1) START WITH BUILDING YOUR ONLINE/DIGITAL NETWORK FIRST.
Even before you’ve physically relocated, utilize LinkedIn and other channels to network with like-minded professionals and research organizations in your new market. Change your location on your profile, utilize LinkedIn’s Groups function to join online circles that cater to local industry professionals or professional organizations, and stay abreast of targeted job opportunities through the daily and weekly group digests.
Research companies in your new area that may be hiring. Have they hired a lot of new people recently? Have a lot of people left? Is there anyone you can approach and start a dialogue to get their advice on breaking into the market? While they may not have solid leads off the bat, tapping into their knowledge can provide you with valuable insight on the local market.
2) NETWORK IN-PERSON – BUT DON’T LIMIT YOUR OUTREACH TO JUST PROFESSIONAL EVENTS.
While you’re likely to meet other professionals and recruiters in your new market at professional networking events, they may not be the connections that can help you. Consider other venues where you can meet people with commonalities – particularly if they’re not work related.
Attending Meetups or other social groups can introduce you to people you wouldn’t otherwise meet, and open up hidden opportunities. If you are self-employed or freelance, check out the Freelancers Union monthly SPARK networking events to connect with other solopreneurs.
Make sure you come prepared with your own branded business card that you can provide to new connections.
3) ONCE YOU’VE MADE CONNECTIONS, CONTINUE THE DIALOG.
A mistake people often make is collecting business cards never to follow up again with that person, thus missing out on a possible connection. Follow up with a thank you email or a quick note, and ask for a suggestion on a great local coffee/beer/pizza spot.
Connections and relationships don’t happen overnight – they need to be cultivated over time, and even then, keeping semi-regular contact (to a respectful degree) helps you to stay on people’s radars.