Networking Beyond Meetups

The word “networking” stresses me out. It brings to mind strangers wearing self-adhesive nametags while milling around a room with cheap appetizers and forced small talk.

The good news is that that’s only a small part of networking.

Here are six ways to network beyond meetups:

1. Say “Yes” More Often

Many of the connections that you have are the result of another friend’s introduction. The next time that someone asks you to hang out or attend an event, say “Yes,” especially when there are going to be new people around.

2. Say “Hi” More Often

Next time you’re at yoga, working in a coffee shop, or doing anything in public, start a conversation with the people around you who you don’t know yet. Mention that you recently graduated a coding bootcamp and/or are on the hunt for work.

3. Check out Conferences, Conventions, and Classes

Attend an industry-related event or class that you’re interested in. Introduce yourself to the people who you sit next to. Stick around afterwards to chat.

4. Schedule Informational Interviews

Reach out to a stranger or weak connection who you’d like to gain insight from. Invite them to coffee or ask if they’re willing to chat with you on the phone for a few minutes. If they agree, make a list of questions beforehand that you want to ask them. This also eliminates awkward silences.

5. Project-Oriented Meetups

Not all meetups are unstructured happy hours. Some are project- and task-oriented, which takes the attention off of you, grows your network, and gives you something to add to your resume and portfolio.

6. Volunteer

Volunteer at a tech event or offer your skills, free of charge, for a day, week, or month to an organization or company that interests you.

7. Change Your Routine

You won’t meet someone new unless you do something new.

Networking doesn’t need to be out of your comfort zone, but it does require effort.

Stay tuned for Part 5!

Part 1: Shy Guy’s Guide to Meetups

Part 2: Five Ways to Write a Better Cover Letter

Part 3: Build Your Online Brand

Career development is a large part of our 10-week Code 401 curriculum. This article is part four of a five-part series and a glimpse into the training that students receive to polish their online presence and be successful in their job search. Learn More »

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