There are literally dozens and dozens of networking and job transition groups in the Twin Cities. The list can be overwhelming and changeable. How do you know which to attend?
The key question is which will render the greatest return on investment of time. There is only so much time whether you are in a job or in between jobs. The last thing you want to do is spend 2-3 hours and walk away with nothing or saying to yourself, “that was a waste!”
So how do you choose? First is understanding that networking groups vary by target audience, cost and format. Some are specific to level; executive, manager, young professional. Some are specific by profession; project management, finance, accounting, human resources etc. Some are specific by industry; med device, manufacturing, consumer goods, etc.
The format also varies. Some have speakers, some are for general networking, some have instruction in terms of how to job search, how to network, how to build a LinkedIn profile. Some are very focused on making connections. Some are spiritual and supportive by nature. Some require you to stand up and say your “elevator speech”.
Cost also varies ranging from a $3 contribution to over $20. They range in time from 1 hour to over 4 hours.
The key is to choose a networking event based on who the attendees are, your style, and value of connections. Also mix it up. Choose one that is industry focused, 1 that is profession focused and 1 that has a mix of working and non working attendees. Over the course of time mix it up again as your networking objective changes.
Lastly make sure that it is a good use of your time and you walk away saying, ‘I’m glad I went, I made some valuable connections and I’ve expanded my professional network”.