Boston is a great place for young professionals. With lots of local employment opportunities in a variety of industries, a bustling social scene and a number of great neighborhoods to call home, it’s no wonder why so many recent college graduates, blossoming entrepreneurs and young business people flock to the city.
Whether you’re in Boston working on launching a start-up, you’re currently employed or you’re looking to get hired, networking is key to taking the next step in your career.
But if you’re like most people, you’ve probably realized that sometimes networking isn’t as easy as it seems. Awkward encounters, uncomfortable conversations and branching out of your comfort zone can make networking feel like more of a chore than a valuable experience.
Want to network like a pro? Here, we’ll share some helpful tips for young professionals looking to network successfully in Boston and the surrounding areas.
5 Networking Tips for Boston Professionals
1. Attend Networking Events Solo
You may be tempted to bring a friend or colleague along with you to networking events. While this is fine to do sometimes, if you’re hoping to make some serious networking progress, attending networking solo is typically a better decision. Going it alone will force you to engage in conversations with new people and venture out of your comfort zone. This will help you to make new connections and to truly make the most of each networking event you attend.
2. Network Even When You Don’t Need To
Most people wait until they are actively searching for a job or new opportunities before starting the networking process. This isn’t the end of the world, but if you’re hoping to truly expand your network it’s a good idea to network consistently – even if you’re not actively looking to make a career move. Networking even when you don’t need to can be a helpful way to gain new contacts and form relationships that may ultimately benefit you when you are ready to make a career move. Additionally, networking when you aren’t actively seeking opportunities for yourself can provide you with the chance to focus on how you might be able to help others further their careers, which is a great way to make valuable connections.
Looking to start networking in the Boston area? Check out these great business networking groups in Wakefield, MA.
3. Equip Yourself with Conversation Starters
Networking events can be a bit painful sometimes, especially when it comes to getting conversations started. Make your next networking experience a bit easier by heading to your next event well prepared with conversation starters. Keep in mind that though networking events are typically business related, people would often rather discuss things OTHER than business. Try to think of creative ideas to start conversations or stimulate group discussions. You’ll have more fun networking – and the other professionals you interact with will appreciate it and likely remember you!
4. Listen Carefully
You may be attending networking events in an effort to benefit yourself and your career, but in reality your interactions at these gatherings are not just about you! Instead of dominating the conversation, talking about yourself or nervously making small talk, make a conscious effort to be a good listener. Ask questions of others and then REALLY listen to the answers. Avoid interrupting. Join the outskirts of a group conversation and simply listen in. You will learn a lot, and you may find networking isn’t as much work as you once thought if you let others do the talking!
5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
This tip may be the key to successful networking. Networking is all about making connections with new people and other professionals you don’t know (or know well). For some people, simply attending networking events can take them outside of their comfort zone. For others, going out on a limb to ask about possible employment or partnership opportunities can be a bit daunting. Do your best to embrace whatever it might be about networking that makes you a bit uncomfortable. When you do, you’ll find networking is much easier, more enjoyable and, in the end, much more successful.
Make The Most of Networking Opportunities Near Boston
There are so many networking events and opportunities to take advantage of in and around Boston. Whether you’re an established professional, an ambitious young employee or a recent graduate entering the job market, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be a networking pro in no time!
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Learn more about The Lakeside Park by requesting more information or scheduling your free tour of the Lakeside Park campus today!