Networking: A word to truly send chills down your spine. A tired piece of advice that every job seeker receives, but an equally critical part of professional development. While networking is an ever-present buzzword, it can often feel easier said than done. People hear, “go out and network!” but never actually receive actionable tips for doing so. Thankfully, our great state of Delaware offers a number of opportunities for growing your professional network, and here at Placers, we’re experts on the topic. Here’s your beginner’s list for networking in Delaware:
Google search: Networking events near me…
Okay, before you roll your eyes and think, “I really clicked on this blog for this sage advice?” hear me out. When it comes to identifying new networking opportunities in Delaware, Google really is your best friend. New events pop up every week that could present you with that one professional connection and opportunity you’ve been waiting for. That’s not to mention the many job fairs you can attend in your own city – we guarantee you’ll see a recruiting specialist from Placers if you stop by one (more on this later).
If after conducting a quick search and skim you still can’t find an event that you feel excited about, we highly recommend looking into the events thrown by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. If you’re between the ages of 21-40, you could be eligible to join the Delaware Young Professionals Network which aims to connect people with professional and personal growth opportunities around the state. The chamber of commerce also hosts the Delaware Networking Station, which, while heavily geared towards businesses, has representatives from more than a hundred area organizations in attendance, presenting a great opportunity to network with Delaware’s change makers. If politics is an area of interest, The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce frequently hosts Policy Makers Breakfast events providing plenty of opportunity to network over breakfast while learning vital city, county, and state government updates.
Volunteer in the community, make connections for life
Here’s a pretty cool number for you: 76% of career advisors say that regularly volunteering can help you land your preferred job. Not only does adding volunteer experience to your resume and being actively engaged in a cause you’re passionate about help you stand out as an applicant, but volunteering presents stellar networking opportunities.
Think of it this way. You’re out there doing your small part to make a difference surrounded by other like-minded people. In between all of the rewarding work you build strong bonds with this group. You laugh, you sweat, you might cry, and you genuinely learn about each other as people. Often times, these connections can last for years. And when you’re in the market for a new job, you’ll have a community of people jumping at the opportunity to help you out.
If you’re new to the Delaware volunteer scene, you won’t find any shortage of causes to get involved with. Volunteer Delaware has a helpful tool that enables you to search for volunteer opportunities based on keywords, location, and date. I also recommend you mark your calendar for next spring’s Crush Your Run 5K, presented by the Placers team. All proceeds from this event benefit Preston’s March for Energy, a nonprofit that gifts differently-abled children their very own adaptive bike!
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
We won’t sugar coat it: Going out into the community and introducing yourself to people can be outright intimidating. But it’s important to remember that everybody feels the exact same way that you do. If you really want to make meaningful connections through networking, you need to be open to the opportunities that present themselves! You need to be fearless. Say “yes” when an exciting opportunity comes your way and push your nerves to the side.
For example, if you meet someone who has the same interests as you, ask if they’d like to set up a group on MeetUp! Find other like-minded people and build a network around that. Or, perhaps you know of someone in your extended network who is in your dream position – ask to pick their brain! It’s common practice to meet for coffee or lunch with someone just to hear about their professional journey and what they enjoy about their career. Put on a brave face, you got this!
Work with a recruiter, your networking sidekick
Even with the tips above, it’s important to have someone in your corner. Our recruiters here at Placers take our relationship with each and every one of our job seekers seriously. As a Coach to the Workforce, we give them the resources and support they need to thrive during and well beyond their job search – including connecting you with leading area businesses. It’s our passion and our commitment.