Awkward! Networking mistakes to avoid

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Networking takes work. Sam Charner offers specific advice to help you become a more effective networker, no matter whether you’re a student, a new jobseeker, or a career changer.

Don’t just sign up for a networking group. Get involved.

  • Don’t just sign up and read the occasional newsletter. Participate in virtual and in-person events. Volunteer to help organize the next event.
  • Join small projects and committees to get to know a small group of people on a deeper level.
  • Ask members to recommend job boards, events and additional networking groups and professional associations.
  • Don’t go into every interaction thinking, “How is this person going to help me get a job?” Build relationships.

How do I choose a professional community (or more than one)?

  • Identity-specific communities can be wonderful support systems. Examples include communities for women, veterans, and people who identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ.
  • Joining geographic-specific communities helps you meet other local and regional planet savers, and also people who live where you want to move. There are sustainability-minded groups all over the globe, in neighborhoods, universities, cities and towns, states and provinces.
  • To learn more about your desired field or profession and make connections within it, join industry groups like those for wind energy, agriculture, transit and urban planning, packaging, supply chains and more.

What else should I consider before joining?

  • Make sure the topics important to the organization are also important to you. You can’t join every organization, so pick the ones you’re truly curious about.
  • What does it cost to join? If it’s expensive, this community may be more interested in recruiting experts and seasoned professionals with extensive experience than newbies. If you’re not ready for that commitment, keep looking.
  • Word of mouth counts. Know a member of the community you’re thinking about? Ask them what it's like — and if they think it’s worth it.

Learn more:

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