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The first piece of advice most job seekers get about how to effectively network is to join trade groups or industry organizations in their area. While this is a great way to make connections in your field it may not be the most efficient way to meet people who can actually help you find a job. Accountants don’t always hire other accountants. The same applies to engineers, IT, or any other professional industry you can think of.

5 Tips for Networking with
People Outside of Your Industry

  1. Determine where your skills fit. Administrative skills, for instance, can fit in a variety of office environments. However, graphic designers may need to consider a narrower field of employment. Determining what kinds of industries best fit your skills will give you an idea of what you should target as a networking opportunity.
  2. Attend local small business groups. If your skills can fit into a number of different business models start meeting with the job creators in your area. Small and medium sized business owners often attend community meetings designed to share ideas and advertise their services. As a job seeker you can do the same.
  3. Talk with everyone you meet. You never know when your next opportunity will come from so be sure to let everyone know that you’re in the market. Talk to the people in line at the grocery store or the bank. Have a conversation with someone at the bar or coffee shop. The may not have a job available but they may know someone who does.
  4. Connect on LinkedIn. Once you begin to build your online connections you’ll start to notice patterns evolving. 2nd and 3rd level connections may begin to appear who can help you with your career path. Start to connect with individuals in your local area or those who own companies you’re interested in learning more about.
  5. Invite contacts for casual meet ups. When you do connect with someone in public, online, or at a networking event be sure to get their card or contact information. Don’t forget to follow up and arrange a one on one meeting to discuss their needs. Always position yourself as a problem solver or a connector. If you can’t help them introduce them to someone else in your network.

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