How to Make Great Connections and Build Your Network this Summer
Make the most of your summer fun by meeting the people who can help you grow in your career!
Maybe it’s a residual from being kids going on summer vacation, but most of us, as adults, tend to take it a bit easier during the summertime. Yes, you are still working away, but the longer days just seem to spell ‘vacation.’ You can’t not want to head to the beach, take some time off, and enjoy the long, sunny days.
Thankfully, this is a great time to take advantage of your summer mindset by reaching out to connect with new contacts while you’re also taking it easy! Here are a few ideas how to use the long days of this summer so you’re ready to make the career moves you want post-Labor Day.
Connect at Summer Events
One of the best things about summer is all of the relaxed, outdoor events. Maybe your company is offering a BBQ or another outdoor, casual event. This makes for an excellent chance to get to know your co-workers better, strengthen connections and relationships. These events can help you become more visible to the people you want to know you in your organization, planting seeds for opportunities of advancement down the line.
No matter what kind of summer gathering you are attending, be prepared by always keeping your business cards on you. Taking your child to a birthday party? Getting on a plane for work or vacation? Make sure that you have a few cards stored in your pocket. Being ready by knowing how you want to talk about yourself and what your professional interests are – aka, doing some networking preparation – can lead to remarkable opportunities in the unlikeliest of places.
Find a Great Summer Class
Summer yoga in the park, masters swim groups, tennis clinics, or summer extension school classes offer opportunities to go beyond your existing networks and meet like-minded people you’ve never interacted with before. You might become friends with people in industries that are in no way related to your own, or you could meet others who work in related sectors (especially if you take a summer class that relates to a work function). Either way, every contact and relationships you develop could lead to new opportunities down the road. Plus, you’ll be learning new skills and developing new or deeper abilities that can boost your bandwidth and reflect well on your resume.
Take Advantage of Technology
If you’re out of work during the summer, as stressful as this might be, you can also get outside and work anywhere on your job search. Connect with others online from a place that makes you feel great – outdoors anywhere. With so many people working remotely these days, you may meet others who aren’t constrained to an indoor office, and learn about remote jobs from others nearby.
This kind of kismet really happens!
Look for opportunities for happy accidents to occur. And, of course, always be leveraging LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with others and learn about possible opportunities. Check out where your current contacts are working and cross-reference with other online sites like Indeed, Idealist.org, and Remote.co. When you see a position at a company you’re interested in, be sure to research who you know who works there so you can reach out to learn more about the position and perhaps get a direct introduction to the hiring manager.
Make the Most of Summer Fundraisers
Charity organization events often lead to fantastic opportunities to connect with people in both your industry and others. Whether you attend as a donor or as a volunteer, this is the time of year when people are feeling relaxed and happy to be out at celebratory events. Your involvement in a non-profit is, of course, great to list on your resume, while it also enables you to give back to your community. You can also develop new skills that you can contribute to any organization. Over the years, I’ve created enduring friendships with many people I’ve met while volunteering my time on boards or non-profit committees.
Networking during the summer is just like networking the rest of the year, but can be a lot more fun and casual. Summer events, the weather, and a generally more relaxed mindset mean that people may be more open to sharing, perhaps more willing to meet for an informational interview. If you embrace the spirit of summer by getting out there with the intention to make new friends, strengthen already existing relationships, and build new connections, then the summer can bring a lot of career-building benefit. Just relax and go for it!