By Marcia Powers
Contributor, Career Services
Even though we know it’s important to our careers, many of us shy away from seeking networking opportunities. I have heard my fair share of job seekers and working professionals let out a groan when someone utters the word “networking.”
Sure, I get it. If you are seeking a new job, some networking events may not be particularly interesting, enjoyable or useful. But there are networking opportunities you can fully enjoy and even be excited to attend, such as events that focus on your hobbies and interests.
Pursuing Your Hobbies Can Lead to New Connections
Attending a local community event or taking a class that supports your hobby is a great way to connect with people who share a common interest with you. Striking up a conversation becomes a breeze, as you already have something in common to talk about!
For example, one of my favorite hobbies is gardening, so I attend local gardening workshops throughout the year. Not only do I learn more about a topic I truly enjoy, but I also get to meet many talented individuals from my community who share my passion for cultivation.
Gardening is not related to my current profession, but these workshops do provide me with a chance to establish new relationships and expand my network of connections. I never know who I’m going to meet or where that new connection will lead me.
Look for Events or Groups That Match Your Interests
While gardening workshops may not be your thing, take a few moments to try and identify at least one type of social event or activity that does sound enjoyable to you. Some options might include joining a rock-climbing group, taking an art class, playing in a summer softball league or volunteering for a cause you care about.
Be creative and remember that you don’t have to limit your networking options to events that strictly relate to your career field. What matters is that you provide yourself with an opportunity to meet people, establish new connections and hopefully have a little fun in the process!
About the Author
Marcia is the Senior Career & Educational Resource Specialist for Career Services, and is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator. She has several years of experience providing students with career and academic guidance through her experience in career services, admissions and the AmeriCorps. Marcia holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a Master of Arts in History from American Public University.