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4 Ways To Build Your Professional Network This Fall

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Whether you’re young and just getting started with your career, or well established and putting out some feelers, networking can be the difference between your dream job and misery. While it might seem that finding job openings is easier than ever, who you know will open up doors you might not even know exist. The trouble is making those important connections. Where do you interact with others, especially when industries exist increasingly in the ether of the internet?

1. Social Media

Unsurprisingly, one of the best place to network is online. LinkedIn isn’t just great for reconnecting with those overachievers you knew in college. It’s a platform for you to explore your current industry or others that you might be curious about. It has the benefit of being a career-oriented social networking site, so the uncomfortable introductions and small talk are a thing of the past. Even traditional sites like Facebook or Twitter can be great for introducing you to others in your area or learning new skills. It’s definitely worth your while to polish up your online presence.

2. College Job Boards / Job Fairs

If you’re a recent graduate, or even if you’re not, you can check out your alma mater’s website for events and venues. The University of Montana has a great guide and programs built just for networking, where you can meet dozens of people from your field and others. It’s a great venue, like a live LinkedIn, where everyone is there for the same reason. Think of it as speed dating for your career.

3. Get Local

If you prefer an old-fashioned, face to face meeting (and who doesn’t?) it can be helpful to check out your town’s chamber of commerce. You can find events with others in your industry who are just like you. Networking groups for men, women, young professionals, and certain niches all exist in Montana if you know where to look. If you prefer an old-fashioned, face to face meeting (and who doesn’t?) it can be helpful to check out your town’s chamber of commerce. This is a great place to start to stay up to date with local events in the community.

Bozeman Chamber of Commerce

Butte Chamber of Commerce

Helena Chamber of Commerce

4. Professional Conferences and Lectures

You can always go to conferences and lectures in your area to meet other likeminded individuals. The Montana Business Professionals of America, for example, hosts local conferences every year and has chapters all over the state. These are great forums to share concerns and ideas about your industry with others in your same situation. You can find information through your job or professional guilds and organizations in the area.

Whatever your reason for networking, or whatever the ultimate goal, there’s a way to get your name out there. One thing to keep in mind is that networking takes practice. No one is a natural, so get yourself out of the office and make some connections.

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