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Creative Networking Opportunities

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux 

Photo from John Schnobrich on Unsplash

There are a few creative ideas I had for networking. I worked with somebody who was just very busy with their family, so they did not see a lot of opportunities to talk. Part of where the impetus for this came from was the fact that as an introvert. I like to have a purpose for all my movements. I do not want to leave the house unless I have an exact plan of where I need to go because I am very purpose-driven.

If you are looking to do networking -I know we are in a pandemic- try to find some opportunity that is not virtual,  and try to also have a lot of different other commitments. Maybe there are a lot of errands for the family that may allow you to make the most out of networking.

The key part is being able to talk about the services that you offer, the skills that you have for different companies, and being able to pitch yourself to different people so that they can connect you to the right companies or teams for what you want to do. You can do that by either networking or by running errands and going into different neighborhoods. For example, I was working with somebody who was in the San Francisco area, especially pre-pandemic. You could see a lot of different offices because they would have big signs like ‘Twitter is here’ and you would be able to go see where the offices were. So, go do your errands in those neighborhoods where the tech community is. I work with a lot of tech people and I know that in some parts of Seattle, however,  it is not as easy because not everybody has those big signs out here. But they do have them in Bellevue: you could see different companies like Expedia, Concur and many others. You could just walk that strip, run your errands in that area, and maybe even talk to people who might know somebody.

I have heard of recommendations for attending PTA meetings. As you are in a tech community, you would be able to talk to somebody who might know of a team to which they could connect you. That is an opportunity, but not the only one. I find that any networking that you do can be turned into career-related networking. For example, when I first started hiking, it felt as if people were going to the different hiking groups as a way to meet new people and start dating. That’s not what I signed up for; I just wanted to hike. You can do that with other opportunities. For instance, go out with like-minded people, do photography, or go on a hike. It just so happens that you begin talking to different people who might work at tech companies too.

Photo from Austin Distel on Unsplash

There is another opportunity where you could, essentially, use the social side of networking to go out and meet new people. Running errands could be going to get your groceries -if you are not having them delivered because, again, we are still in the pandemic. Maybe you can go shopping in areas where all the companies that you might be interested in working at are located.

When you are in the office, you might see different people and start to get familiar with the teams and people that you could talk to. Another place for creative networking is holiday parties.

Now, at the end of the year, if you’re in the US, on Thanksgiving friends get together and after that, there come all the religious holidays. 

Also, at certain times of the year, you may get around to enjoying sporting events, as well as mid-summer outings or barbecues. Even though they might be very casual and social, those are opportunities where you could make new friends. You never know who might be acquainted with the people that you want to get to know, and that is all a part of networking.

In conclusion, it does not have to be very single-focused like doing something specifically related to the role. It does not even have to be the traditional name-tag-plated food, staring at each other down with masks. Those kinds of things do not have to happen anymore. You can get a little more creative and have a little more fun so that you are connecting with the person and building relationships and not just trying to get that job: you are trying to get that next conversation. All that might lead to the target job.
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