Linkedin and the Job Recruiter

Although under-used by average LinkedIn members, LinkedIn Groups can be critical to a successful job search because they enable you to communicate directly with recruiters. And vice versa. You can leverage Groups for both visibility and credibility, demonstrating your knowledge and communications skills — when you use Groups with care.

LinkedIn members can join up to fifty Groups, although LinkedIn members belong to an average of only seven. My strong recommendation is that anyone in a job search join all fifty, at least while in job search mode.

It is easy to join most LinkedIn Groups — just click on the “Join” button. For some Groups, you may need to wait for approval (e.g. a Group for veterans will check to be sure you have military service in your Profile).

And, it’s very easy to leave a Group that is not useful for you. When you belong to a Group, run your mouse over the “Member” button at the top of the Group pages, and it will change to “Leave.” Click it, and you’re out.

Engage Using LinkedIn Groups

Over 2,000,000 Groups exist for jobs and job search (like our own Job-Hunt Help Group, of course!), industries, professions, businesses and types of businesses, locations, employers (and employer alumni), technologies, hobbies, publications, and more. You won’t have trouble finding fifty groups to join.

Communicating

One of the major benefits of Group membership is the ability to communicate directly and privately with other Group members, regardless of your connection status, in addition to communicating publicly in the Discussions.

Group members (like recruiters!) can send “private messages” in Group Discussions and also messages via LinkedIn’s InMail with the Group serving as the approved connection. So, you can contact recruiters — and they can contact you — because you belong to the same Group.

NOTE: Closing in on 2,000,000 members, the largest LinkedIn Group is for job search: Job Openings, Job Leads and Job Connections. Belonging to this Group will make you visible to thousands of recruiters, and it will also make them visible to you (using the Member search function, described next).

Meeting

Groups are a great way to “meet” people virtually. Comment appropriately on other members’ comments and discussions. Your Profile photo will make you recognizable, like a personal logo across all discussions (and social networks), and you will soon begin to look for the contributions of other LinkedIn “friends” by scanning for their Profile photos, too.

Use a Group’s Members Search function (the “Members” tab at the top of each Group page) to find people to reach out to – like recruiters at your target employers, employees of your target employers, people with specific job titles, people in specific locations, etc. This search is very simple (currently), but it can be extremely useful.

Once you have identified someone, you can click on the “send message” link from the Group’s members search results pages to contact them directly. You can also click on “Reply Privately” to contact someone from a discussion or comment they have posted in the Group.

Sharing

Demonstrate what you know by sharing good information you have written or found online. Comment carefully, respectfully, and knowledgeably because what you share in a LinkedIn Group is a live demonstration of who you are, how (and how well) you communicate, and how you work with others.

Researching

You’ll find amazing information available in LinkedIn Groups, from job postings to scientific discoveries and everything in between. In particular, LinkedIn Groups are excellent sources of information about many employers, directly from current and former employees.

Learning

Whatever your field, people are sharing the latest information about that field with other members of relevant Groups. Life-long learning is a fact of life (and career survival) for most of us, and Groups will help you stay up-to-date.

Beware the Hazards of LinkedIn Groups

Groups are excellent, but hazards do exist, and most of the hazards I’ve observed are self-inflicted wounds:

Comments and posts you make in Groups are usually visible in your LinkedIn Update stream. So, a “private” announcement in a small LinkedIn Group can easily become visible to way too many people. You can manage this in the Group settings.
I have seen several people act in Groups as though they were having a private conversation with someone they didn’t like. Not smart (or professional or polite), and very unlikely to impress a potential employer or recruiter. Or anyone else…
I have also seen people post comments full of misspellings and bad grammar. Since these postings are the only examples of your work that most LinkedIn members will see, better to take the time to carefully craft your contributions.
Linkedin allows you to manage the visibility of various Groups on your LinkedIn Profile through each Group’s settings. A Group is visible when the Group’s logo appears on your Profile.

You can also edit your Profile to select the Group logos to make them easily visible (or not) when someone — like your boss or a recruiter — is scanning your Profile.

If you are currently employed, don’t make your membership in any Groups for job search visible on your Profile.

Being SWAM’ed

In addition, most LinkedIn Groups have rules about what behavior is acceptable within the Group and what behavior is not acceptable. You can do what you want, of course, but ignoring a Group’s rules can seriously impact your visibility inside of LinkedIn.

A Group’s owner or manager can block your posts to their Group if you ignore the Group’s rules. The result can be putting you into “moderation” for all of your Groups. This is called “SWAM” (site-wide automated moderation), and it’s best to avoid it when possible because it can limit your LinkedIn visibility for a while.

Each Group’s rules are available by clicking on the “i” at the top of each Group page, and clicking on the “Rules” link, if one is there.

Bottom Line

You know the basics, of course: your Profile must be 100 percent complete, including a nice head shot photo (just you — no babies, pets, family, or friends). Groups will help you expand your LinkedIn Connections which is necessary for visibility inside LinkedIn. You will only be visible in the search results of people who are connected to you, so the more connections, the better.

Source: Susan P. Joyce

5 pieces of advice to ignore while searching for jobs in Seattle

Ask for a promotion. 
It’s common to hear that you won’t get a raise or a promotion if you don’t ask for one. But you shouldn’t ask; “not even at your annual review.” Instead, use your actions to show you’re a better leader.
Learn the business inside and out, generate team results that your boss can’t ignore and create the most positive, supportive, entrepreneurial spirit in the company.  Then, when there is a need for a new leader, you will be asked. If you want to be promoted into a leadership role this is the best route.
Keep your resume brief. 

You’ve probably been told to keep your resume to one page.  Your resume reflects why you are best qualified for and deserving of the proposed position. If you’ve had extensive work experience, don’t sacrifice highlighting your skills, talents, and expertise just to cram everything onto one sheet of paper. Your resume should be tailored for the specific job you are applying for, and each job description should emphasize the talents that you have developed and will bring to the proposed role.

A great resume will get you hired. 

It’s vital to focus on using your resume to get an interview. “Your resume doesn’t need to be in chronological order or even include every job you’ve had. Your resume is a marketing tool, use it — along with your phone — to get an interview. A great attitude and interview gets you the job, not the resume. Recognizing the different stages of the hiring process is critical to creating a tool that works well for its intended purpose.”

Send a post-interview thank-you note. 

Instead, send a strategic follow-up letter indicating why you are an excellent candidate,  it should be a response to the asked or un-asked question: why should we hire you?

Follow your passion.

This tip is the most erroneous, many people have multiple passions or might not discover their true passions until later in life, and sometimes these passions are just not viable as a source of income.  The right question would be ‘What kind of life do I want to set up for myself?’”

Ultimate Guide to picking good job references in Redmond

You know you’re nearing the final stretch of an interview process (and that it’s looking good for you) when a potential employer asks these three questions:

  1. When would you be available to start? (Or, how much notice do you need to give your current employer?)
  2. Can we get you set up for your physical and drug screen?
  3. Will you please provide us with a list of professional references we may contact?

Question number three can rattle even the strongest of candidates if you’re not prepared to respond swiftly with names, titles, the nature of the relationship, and current contact information for however many people with whom they’d like to speak.

Don’t get caught in scramble mode at this stage of the game. Your prompt response and the quality of your references can take you the distance if you play this right.

Let’s begin.

Who Should I List (or Not List) as a Reference?

Generally speaking, your future employer wants to talk with the following people, in order of importance (depending on your role):

  1. Your current manager or supervisor
  2. Your prior managers or supervisors
  3. Your current peers or clients (if you’re interviewing for a client-facing role)
  4. Your prior peers or clients
  5. Your personal references or friends who will vouch for you

Number five, by the way, is a remote fifth place. Reserve this one for only those times you have few other options, and make sure to ask if it’s OK to include personal references before you do so. Also, if you’re a graduating college student (or recent grad), you can absolutely include professors who may be able to speak to your performance and work ethic.

Never (ever) include relatives, unless you happen to work directly for or with one. Oh, and absolutely don’t ever give a fake name and then commission your buddy to “pretend” to be your employer or peer. Recruiters are not stupid. Treat them so at your own peril.

Keep in mind that the primary reason why potential employers want to check your references is because they want a third party to vouch for your on-the-job performance and character. You can tout your greatness all day long in the interview, but it truly gels for decision makers when others tout it for you.

Should They Be on My Resume?

Nooooooo. Heavens, no. Not only do you not need to list out your references, you shouldn’t. It takes up unnecessary resume space, and there’s a remote chance that a recruiter may be more interested in, say, your manager (who you’ve listed) than he or she is in you. No need to hand over all of this information before you captivate him or her.

Likewise, no need to write out “References available upon request.” This is a given. When the hiring manager want them, he or she will ask for them. 100% of the time.

What If I’m a Covert Job Seeker?

This can be a tricky one. If you’re currently employed—and job searching on the sly—who can you trust in these final, important legs of a job transition? I can’t answer this one definitively because every situation is different, and the stakes can be quite high. Trust your gut.

Chances are, you aren’t going to be able to use your current manager as a reference. Certainly, consider enlisting former managers. But you should also think about asking one to two colleagues with whom you have a close personal bond (and established level of trust). If and when you ask them for this support, spell it out very clearly how important it is for you to keep your search under wraps—and the potential consequences for you if they blab.

Also, if you’re providing your potential employer with a relatively weak list of references, be sure and alert them that you’re aware of that, and explain why.

How Should I Ask?

I always encourage clients to approach potential references with specificity, instead of the old, “Hey, would you be willing to be my reference?” Do that, and you’re going to have to let the chips fall where they may in terms of what this person offers up. And along those lines, do this over the phone if possible. You’ll get a much better idea of how excited (or unexcited) this person is to help you.

Make sure to frame your request in a way that spells out the details of the role you’re pursuing, what you anticipate the caller is likely going to want to talk about, and how he or she can be the most helpful.

Example: “Because they’re going through so much change and restructuring right now, I’m guessing they’re going to want to make sure I have strong leadership skills and the ability to turn around struggling teams and programs. If you’re willing, I’d love for you to share some detail on the program we revitalized in 2014.”

Be specific, and also ask this direct question at the end of the call, “May I count on you to give me a favorable reference should the company contact you?”

Don’t assume your past co-worker or boss is going to sing your praises. You never know—she may be jealous of your opportunity here or feel like you dropped the ball on something last year. If you ask this question, you’ll either get a “Yes, of course you can count on me” or an awkward pause or waffle. Don’t list anyone who responds with the awkward pause or waffle. Lukewarm references can sink you in the home stretch.

Is There Anything I Should Provide My References With?

Ideally, provide them with a copy of the job description or an overview of the role and main responsibilities. If you can, also give them some background on the person you anticipate will be calling them, so that they can feel up-to-date and prepared for the conversation.

Also, if it’s someone you’ve used as a reference before (and you suspect would be fine being listed again), provide him or her with a heads-up. Don’t list people without giving them any indication that you’ve used them as a reference for this next opportunity. That’s rude, and it may annoy them to the point of not giving you a glowing review.

What Do I Do After They Are Contacted?

Honestly, you don’t always know when a reference has been contacted, but often times your people will follow up to let you know the conversation just took place.

What do you do? This one is easy—thank him or her, and offer to return the favor if it’s ever needed. And, when you land that job? Most definitely let each of your references know, and consider a small thank you gift, like a coffee gift card or lunch.

Get it right, take it the distance, and enjoy that amazing new gig in 2016.

Job Loss Happens…

Be More Than Prepared

Always have an up-to-date resume ready to send. You never know when an opportunity that is too good to pass up might come along. If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, create a LinkedIn Profile and start making connections who can help your job search.

Don’t Wait

If you are laid-off, file for unemployment benefits right away. You will most likely be able to file online or by phone. Waiting could delay your benefits check.

Get Help

Utilize free or inexpensive services that provide career counseling and job search assistance such as college career offices, state Department of Labor offices or your local public library. Many libraries provide workshops, programs, classes, computers and printers you can use, and other resources to help you with your job search.

 Work with CareerPathsNW

We are the Pacific Northwest’s leading recruiting agency, its a no cost service to the candidates and if you are in the market for a job, we can help connect you with the right jobs with companies that are looking for individuals like you. Come see us for a free consultation.

New Grads, Follow 7 Steps to Score Glowing Job References

Spring is nearly in the air and millions of college students are looking ahead to graduation day. If they are getting prepared for life after they walk off campus for the final time, this group of millennials is also engaged in serious thinking about what they want to do next.

Here’s something else that students and early-career professionals should start thinking about: Building a portfolio of job references and taking the time to cultivate them.

For most employers, hiring an entry-level employee is a leap of faith. Without much of a workplace track record to judge by, employers are forced to depend on what fits on a piece of paper (a resume) and whatever can be gleaned from brief first impressions (interviews).

Is it any wonder that many entry-level job applicants from comparable schools and backgrounds are indistinguishable?

A few glowing job references can set a candidate apart from the crowd. Knowing that, how should a job seeker build out a killer roster of references? Here are seven key tips for putting together a top-notch reference list. These apply to first-time job seekers, but also to anyone who’s getting ready for the next move in their career.

1. Look for ways to cultivate your references. Check in regularly. Keep them up-to-date on your career successes. Talk to them about where you want to take your career. Not only will you build a base of supporters you can rely on for guidance, you will also have a group of people to turn to with confidence when you’re gunning for the job you want.

2. Get a sense of what your references are likely to say about you, especially your areas for improvement. This can be slightly tricky, but it’s doable. Ideally, your references are people you’ve gotten feedback from in the past, so you should have a feel for what they’ll say. To get clarity, it’s important to test your assumptions. It comes down to having a candid conversation with the people you’re planning to use as job references. Try to talk in a more casual, informal setting – at lunch or over a cup of coffee. Explain to them why you’d appreciate their help, and ask them to share their honest perspective on how they would talk about you during a reference check. Most times, references will be flattered by your request.

3. Don’t be afraid to serve as your own strongest advocate. It’s important to make sure that your professors, managers and other potential references know about your capabilities so that they can speak clearly with potential employers about you and your work. While this step is important, don’t be too aggressive when doing it.

4. Don’t hesitate to show off your strengths in the classroom and the workplace. Job references need to see what you can do, so they can tell prospective employers about it. Look for opportunities to demonstrate progress and smart work, so others can observe it. This doesn’t mean you should be a shameless self-promoter. It’s important to share how confident you are but do so while acting with a sense of humility. Still, if no one knows what you can accomplish, no one can tell your future managers why they should hire you.

5. Let your references know that they might be called upon and have their current contact information. If your references are readily available when an employer asks for them, it indicates that you’ve informed and prepared them to take a call or an online request – all good signs that you’re someone who is focused, thorough and motivated.

6. In addition to professors, try to have some former managers as references, even if they’re from internships. Input from people who have seen you perform in the workplace counts for a lot. Professors are great – and you should use them – but employers are thinking about how you’re going to perform once you’re walking through their doors. Feedback from managers at internships, summer jobs, work-study or any other kind of employment is key.

7. Be grateful – and show it. Your references are doing you a favor. They’re going out of their way to help you build your future. And they’re putting their own reputation and credibility on the line when they vouch for you. Be sure to thank them. A hand-written note or a warmly worded email can mean a lot. At the same time, these are folks whom you may want to ask for help again. Use the opportunity of thanking them, to keep cultivating the relationship and to ask what you can do to help them in the future.

So, whether you’re a college senior or someone getting ready to look for that next job, don’t lose track of your references. Good references don’t just happen. Your reference roster has to be cared for, nurtured and maintained. High-quality job references can make the difference between getting that job or wondering why your phone isn’t ringing.

How are your target companies advertising for available jobs?

Where do companies advertise?

  • Listing Jobs on Company Websites: Most larger companies, and many smaller companies, post available jobs on their company website. Job applicants can search for jobs, review job listings and apply for jobs online. Job seekers may be able to set up job search agents to notify them via email of new openings. Some companies schedule interviews online, as well.
  • Posting Jobs Online: Companies that are actively recruiting candidates will not only post jobs on their website but will also post jobs on job boards and other job sites. Jobs may be posted on general job boards like Monster and/or on niche sites like MediaBistro.
  • Using LinkedIn: Companies may post open positions on LinkedIn, the professional networking site. In addition, companies may search LinkedIn to find candidates to recruit. LinkedIn Groups are another venue that employers use to post jobs and find applicants.
  • Social Recruiting: Companies are increasingly using social recruiting to source candidates for employment on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, as well as to investigate applicants they are considering hiring. Companies may use Facebook apps to recruit or have a Facebook page dedicated to careers with the company. On Twitter, companies may tweet job listings and source candidates to recruit.

10 Ways a Job Search has changed

1. Google has replaced the resumé.Recruiters are now using Google and LinkedIn searches to find talent, instead of paying for job-board or talent databases. Many companies are even mandating that every new application go through a Google screening process. So that means the first page of your Google results matter much more during a job search than they ever did before. I’ve written an article showing how to increase your rank in Google a nd attract the attention of hiring managers.

2. A summary of your work history is enough. Because there are so many candidates competing for each job, HR people (or hiring managers, if they are tasked with recruitment) often scan resumés very briefly. The average time spent on a resumé is 30 seconds. LinkedIn gives you a way to create a summary; use it.

3. Social proof is a must. Social proof — the testimonials, endorsements and recommendations of your abilities that appear on social networks — seriously reduce the perceived risk of you as a candidate.
The most costly mistake a hiring manager can make is to give a job to the wrong person. Some say that if a new hire leaves within three months, it costs the organization one and a half times that person’s annual salary. And with the economy as tight as it is, you can understand why hiring managers are so risk averse. If you don’t have many endorsements and recommendations in your LinkedIn profile, get some before looking for a job.

4. Resumés and cover letters aren’t read on paper anymore. Most organizations are not receiving paper resumés — and when they get them via email or their application system, they don’t print them. So expect your resumé and cover letter to be read on a computer screen. This means you have to format your resumé and other job-search documents in a way that makes screen-scanning easy. I’ve written an article that shows you how to format your resumé properly.

5. Relationships come first, resumés second. Resumés are not used as introductory documents much these days. In fact, “send me your resumé” is often an afterthought once an introduction is made.
And if an introduction is made electronically, then your online profile offers much more information than a resumé. So shift your priorities from “I have to get my resumé done!” to “Where can I meet some more people today?”

6. Employers only care about what they want. In years past, a resumé or job application was focused on the job seeker’s needs. This is not true any more. Now an application, resumé or cover letter must speak to what value the prospective employee can bring to the organization. So be sure to demonstrate how you can help the company and how soon it can expect to benefit.

7. Work gaps aren’t big problems. Large gaps in your resumé are not as important as they used to be. Not only do employers today realize that millions of great and wonderful people got laid off, they also appreciate it when those candidates have showed initiative and tried to start their own thing, even if that took time and resulted in a period of unemployment.

8. Nouns are the new currency. Screening software and LinkedIn talent searches have introduced an unexpected element to the way a resumé should be written. Because these tools rely on nouns or keywords to deliver search results to recruiters, the resumés with the right combination of nouns often win. If you want to succeed in today’s job search, make a commitment to learn how to research keywords and use them appropriately.

9. Everyone has a personal brand – yes, everyone. Ten years ago, not many people knew what a personal brand was and having one wasn’t easy to explain. (Your personal brand is what sets you apart as a job candidate.) These days, even if you don’t know what your personal brand is, you still have one – as well as an online reputation revealing it. And because recruiters and hiring managers are looking for red flags, inconsistencies in your image or messaging will prevent you from passing their screening. So you have to decide, will you be in control of your image or will someone else? I think the Brand-Yourself.com video tutorial is the best tool out there to help you establish your brand.

10. Typing isn’t a skill anymore. Being able to type used to be a skill people would highlight on their resumé. No longer. What really matters is how well you’ve prepared yourself for the job that’s available. To really shine, focus on customizing each resumé and cover letter to the position you’re trying to get. It’s better to send off a few very targeted applications then it is to spray and pray.

Want to succeed in your career?

Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses

If you want to be successful, you need to know a lot about yourself and your performance. The better you know your skills and knowledge, but also your weaknesses and gaps, the more targeted you can work on yourself. Do so – and at regular intervals again and again – a strength and weakness analysis of your professional and personal skills. You should also ask other people for their opinion – good friends, family members and acquaintances. Listen carefully and do not feel hurt by criticism – you can only learn.

Continue your education, even across disciplines and in person

After finding out what strengths and weaknesses you have, you can do something specifically to build skills and improve vulnerabilities. Invest in your knowledge and skills. Read books, listen to cassette programs, attend classes and workshops. Educate yourself professionally and personally. Always be curious about other subjects and acquire useful specialized knowledge. To increase your value as an employee.

Organize your work as effectively as possible

To make a successful career, you should be able to organize yourself and your work as effectively and well as possible. This includes systematic time management, well-planned task organization and effective self-management. Define specific work objectives and check whether you achieve them through your measures and work steps. Also, try to simplify as many levels as possible. Avoid unnecessary handling. Delegate messages to others to get more time for the basics. Seek help if you are stuck with something alone. And look for successful people who manage their work.

Searching for a job in Seattle? These tools will help…

1. Email signature. Your email signature is possibly one of the most important branding tools you’re not taking advantage of. It’s your chance to let everyone know what your expertise is, how to contact you and where to learn more about you online. Employees are often required to add the company logo, tag line and contact information to email signatures. As job seekers, an email signature is a subtle way to remind people what you do.

Quick tips: The most important information to include is your name, phone number, email address, desired occupation and link to your LinkedIn profile. An easy solution is to use an app like WiseStamp to create and insert your signature.

2. Active and robust LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn has become a go-to source for companies of all sizes to seek out talent. While your profile will be similar to your résumé, it is not exactly the same. LinkedIn is a social network where people share information. Besides having a profile rich in content and media, you should also share newsworthy articles to help build your online reputation and stay connected with your network.

Quick tips: You must have a headshot, a headline that describes what you do and a summary where you tell your story. But don’t stop there. Embed a presentation that summarizes your experience or includes testimonials. Have you downloaded the SlideShare app for LinkedIn? What about the LinkedIn Connected or Pulse apps? ​These tools give you a better mobile LinkedIn experience.

3. An easily accessible, on-the-go résuméThere will be occasions when someone wants you to send your résumé ASAP or when you arrive at an interview and your résumé is MIA. Save your résumés so you can easily access them and share them from your mobile device.

Quick tip: Being able to access important documents from anywhere is critical not only in your job search, but at work, too. Learn how to save and share documents using Dropbox or Google Drive, which provide free storage and are easily accessible from any device.

4. Business cards. This may seem old-fashioned, but business cards make life easier. When you meet someone new or reconnect with an old friend, just hand him or her your card at the end of the conversation.

Quick tip: Your business card need only include the information you want to share: your name, occupation (or desired occupation), phone number, email address and links to any social media profiles, like your LinkedIn URL. If you want to use something more high-tech, try one of the apps that allows you to share your card from your phone, like CardDrop. Or pick up a business card with FullContact’s Card Reader.

5. Your perfected pitch. You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Don’t blow it. You’ll need it when you meet people and they ask what you do. You’ll also need one customized for every interview you take. Your pitch conveys what problem you can solve for an employer. Use words and language to ensure your unique style and personality come through. And avoid résumé-speak or jargon that isn’t universally understood.

Quick tip: Keep your pitch under a minute, and practice so it sounds natural. If you need some guidance, check out the myPitch app created by Karalyn Brown of InterviewIQ.

6. Target list of potential employers. Rather than searching job boards all day, looking for the perfect job and getting lost in the black hole of applications, why not approach people inside companies you would like to work for? This route is more work up front, but it will help you stand out and rise to the top of the referral pile if you make the cut.

Quick tip: There are tons of apps for finding posted jobs, but what you really need is additional help networking. Don’t miss Alison Doyle’s new app called Career Tool Belt. It’s loaded with job hunting tips, including the 30 Days to your Dream Job series to guide you day by day.

7. A dose of motivation. Job searching tends to lead to frustration. Rejection is an unfortunate part of the process. Invest time doing things that rejuvenate your energy and keep you feeling hopeful, such as exercising, volunteering or learning a new skill. Keep moving forward and create to-do lists and follow-up actions every day.

Quick tip: Whether you use a calendar system or an organizational app like Any.do, mapping out your weekly activities helps maintain momentum and puts you in the driver’s seat.

Networking for 2019

1. Stop Saying Networking

Reconfigure what you think when you hear the word “networking.” In fact, scratch that word altogether, and think of your next networking event as an “open exchange”—one with no pressure and plenty of opportunity. At an “open exchange,” you’re free to share ideas, contacts, information, and resources with tons of interesting people. The prospects that inspires are boundless, and it doesn’t cost much more than a conversation. Already sounds better, right?

2. Choose Non-Lame Events

Don’t just go to any old event—choose events where you know you’ll have something in common with people, like conferences that relate specifically to your industry or happy hours put on by your alumni association. It’s much easier to make conversation in these groups than it is at more general events.

3. Or, Host Your Own!

Email 10 of your friends, suggest a place and date, and ask each person to bring someone new. To keep the event more professional, you could plan a structured conversation about everyone’s career goals, status of their job satisfaction, or even current industry trends.

4. Volunteer

Instead of just attending an event, “volunteer to help with raffles or name tags. It’ll give you an excuse to talk to people, and that makes it much easier to follow through and be social. Plus you never know whom you’ll meet.” 

5. Think Outside the Networking Event

Remember, not all networking has to happen at cocktail hour types of events. In fact, some of the most interesting relationship-building can happen elsewhere. See if there’s a conference you can attend, a hackathon you can participate in, or even a project you can help with. These sorts of events will put you in a much more collaborative environment that will allow you to get to know people in a different way than by simply drilling them with questions.