How to Network in a New City

Networking In a New City

So you’re thinking about moving to a new city, or maybe you already have. You’re fresh out of college and looking to get your foot in the door of the career world. You’re trying to get a leg up on all the other marketing, advertising, and PR professionals out there – but you have no idea where to begin. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there, in fact, I just went through all of this myself.

A few weeks ago – before I had a job, before I knew what the heck I was going to do with my life – I sat down and recorded an episode of After the Boom (more details at the end of this post) with my good friend and fellow blogger/entrepreneur Monica O’ Brien. If you ‘re in search for some networking insight from a couple people who have been there and who are living it as we speak, read on and take 15 minutes out of your day to listen to our fine podcast.

Here are a few networking words of wisdom. Things you need to do (or should already be doing) to get a leg-up:

Start a blog

Seriously, just do it. Don’t worry about defining yourself, don’t worry about establishing a niche from the get-go. Just write. The defining and focus will come in time – but most importantly, through it all, you’ll have a lot to put on your ‘online resume': Community building, networking expertise, product knowledge – You’ll develop talking points that will help you stand out from the rest during an interview, and you’ll undoubtedly meet some amazing people (and might even make a few friends) along the way.

Use Social Media

Why? Because everyone is – Odds are, your interviewers are on Twitter; HR reps are on LinkedIn – Get on board the Social Media bandwagon and use it to your advantage. Not only is it a great networking tool, it’s a great way to research and discover new opportunities and influential people who can help you gain an advantage over the competition.

Ask for Help

Probably my biggest piece of personal advice. Never be afraid to ask questions: Asking questions shows your desire to learn and grow. When I was planning my move up here to Chicago, I asked everyone everything I could, to the point that some people probably were turned off by it. But for every one person who gets annoyed, there are ten who are more than happy to lend a helping hand. So often we maintain that ‘do-it-yourself’ mindset that says asking for help is a sign of weakness. I’m a believer of the contrary, that asking for help actually shows a great desire to learn and grow, which is ultimately how you get ahead.

Get online to get off…line

Online networking is great – but it will never replace face-to-face networking and communication. Use the Internet to establish connections and start conversations, but go the next step. Attend social media events in your city, ask people out for lunch or a cup of coffee, do everything you can to make offline connections. Talking to someone for months online usually doesn’t replace an hour long lunch meeting.

Try harder than everyone else

The bottom line, to be the best, you have to work harder than the rest. Network like crazy, blog like a maniac, follow influential people on Twitter, ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. Don’t be bashful about marketing and promoting yourself. Talk about what you’re good at – share your passions with the world, and never stop asking questions. If you keep an open mind to learning new things, the sky’s the limit for where you’ll end up.

Moving to a new city may seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. A good place to start for a few words of wisdom is the following podcast. The rest? Well, I’ll leave that up to you.

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Subscribe to After the Boom!

I also want to encourage people to subscribe to our podcast here. We are getting huge positive response to After the Boom on iTunes and Twitter (20+ subscriptions per day), as each segment is packed with information and perfect to throw on an iPod, for a quick jog or a short commute to work. Also, our upcoming episodes will have a ton of really interesting guests you won’t want to miss! Not a tease – the honest-to-goodness truth people!

Visit the After the Boom website


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15 Responses
  • Grace Boyle Reply

    I found one of my greatest resources were the people I already knew and asking them who THEY knew. I compiled a list of anyone in Boulder. I didn’t care what they did, where they worked or their age because each person can help acclimate you, may know someone else who is hiring, they can offer insight, etc. This list that I compiled led to my current job.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great advice Grace – use your current network connections to establish new ones. You are another prime example of someone who networked like crazy and to say it paid off would be an understatement!

  • Grace Boyle Reply

    I found one of my greatest resources were the people I already knew and asking them who THEY knew. I compiled a list of anyone in Boulder. I didn’t care what they did, where they worked or their age because each person can help acclimate you, may know someone else who is hiring, they can offer insight, etc. This list that I compiled led to my current job.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great advice Grace – use your current network connections to establish new ones. You are another prime example of someone who networked like crazy and to say it paid off would be an understatement!

  • Chris Hall Reply

    Matt,

    I don’t think that going to lunch or coffee with people can be overstated. It wasn’t intuitive to me, but I have learned the value in putting myself out there. When you’re in that type of environment with somebody new, it’s also a lot easier to find common interests and truly make a connection.

    Another way to use social media is to start your own local community. I started a Ning for Project Managers in Louisville, called LouisvillePM, a year after I moved here. It’s easy to do, and can differentiate you as a local expert in your niche if you start organizing and throwing events with the community you create.

    -chris

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great advice on both accounts Chris – all of the online connecting in the world will never replace a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting. And to your second point, if you live in a city that isn’t saturated in social media (or even if it is) – there is always room for you to go out and create something of your own. Everything has to start somewhere – why not be the driving factor to get the ball moving yourself?

      Thanks for coming by and sharing some advice!

  • Chris Hall Reply

    Matt,

    I don’t think that going to lunch or coffee with people can be overstated. It wasn’t intuitive to me, but I have learned the value in putting myself out there. When you’re in that type of environment with somebody new, it’s also a lot easier to find common interests and truly make a connection.

    Another way to use social media is to start your own local community. I started a Ning for Project Managers in Louisville, called LouisvillePM, a year after I moved here. It’s easy to do, and can differentiate you as a local expert in your niche if you start organizing and throwing events with the community you create.

    -chris

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Great advice on both accounts Chris – all of the online connecting in the world will never replace a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting. And to your second point, if you live in a city that isn’t saturated in social media (or even if it is) – there is always room for you to go out and create something of your own. Everything has to start somewhere – why not be the driving factor to get the ball moving yourself?

      Thanks for coming by and sharing some advice!

  • Office Humorist Reply

    Volunteering can also be a great way to network with people–both the organizations you are volunteering for, and the people you are volunteering with.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Another great bit of advice. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially the “right” people – those who are clearly about making a positive impact on their surrounding community.

  • Office Humorist Reply

    Volunteering can also be a great way to network with people–both the organizations you are volunteering for, and the people you are volunteering with.

    • Matt Cheuvront Reply

      Another great bit of advice. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially the “right” people – those who are clearly about making a positive impact on their surrounding community.

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  • Sarah Lawson Reply

    Hey Matt!

    Great post! I really enjoyed reading this.

    I agree with you when you said “Use the Internet to establish connections and start conversations, but go the next step.” These days, a lot of people tend to think that having an online connection is enough to land a job, when it reality, it takes a little more than that. We still need good old fashioned interaction even in this day and age of social media.

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