Networking is a very popular buzz word these days and is a concept that continues to expand nationwide. Is networking an effective tool? I would have to say yes to that and I have my own experience to prove it!
I was living and working in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and decided to relocate to Baltimore, Maryland. I searched online for companies I wanted to work for and sent several cover letters and resumes. I followed up by calling and emailing, but could not get an interview with anyone.
It became apparent that my geographic location was a roadblock that potential employers might be struggling with. Perhaps I would have better luck if I was able to meet some people and explain my plans and desire to move to Baltimore in person? I went online and searched for networking events in the Baltimore area and was pleasantly surprised by the number of opportunities I found.
Over the next few weeks, I attended numerous events. Within two weeks, I was offered a part-time job at a marketing company in downtown Baltimore because I met the company’s owner at a Baltimore Business Journal expo.
I continued to search for a full-time job and one magical night, I met my future boss (Chris), a realtor who found me the house I’m presently living in and two friends I’m still in contact with. It was a life changing evening that I owe to the power of networking!
You may have heard me say before that Teltek is a communications company above all else and we utilize networking to forge relationships and stay connected to local people and businesses. We are all about attending (and occasionally hosting) events that allow professionals to socialize and learn more about the exciting companies in the area. Back in August, we threw our annual margarita party for over 300 guests. While we were excited to show off our new office in the Emerging Technology Center, the primary purpose of the soiree was to introduce our clients, friends and strategic partners to each other.
If you’re not hip to the networking scene, I’m happy to introduce you to it with a few simple tools. My friend Anne created a web site called http://www.networkingnecessity.com/, which is an indispensable resource for knowing what’s going on in Baltimore and the surrounding area. Each month, she lists networking events by date and location and includes details such as parking and registration fees.
A few reoccurring events I would personally recommend are Lorraine and Sharon’s networking event, the Baltimore Business Journal’s Biz Mix and Baltimore Business Networking Group, all of which occur monthly. Business Networking International (BNI) Groups are another great resource; they allow one member from each industry to attend their meetings, so there’s no competition between group members.
The upcoming holiday season is an excellent time of year for networking with all the celebratory open houses, customer appreciation parties and other events that allow you to meet other business people while sharing some holiday cheer. Ask your co-workers if they know of any good groups. If you can’t find one near you, start your own!
Do you know of any networking groups that you rely on for business connections? Share them with the rest of us!