You know that saying, it’s not what you know, but who you know? While I don’t believe this is 100% accurate, it does hold some merit of truth. I’d like to talk about the power of networking.
Networking is a great way to find those hidden opportunities – whether you are a sole contractor, or a member of a agency business development team. Just by putting yourself out there, chatting with a variety of different people, and simply being in the right place in the right time – you may come across that dream job or contract.
Not sure where to start? First, get yourself some business cards with your contact information. Despite us being in a digital age, a lot of people still like having that small, physical reminder of who they spoke with. You don’t even need to have the best creative design skills out there – Vistaprint is a great source with pre-existing templates!
Then, if you are like me, and are in the IT/Software field, check out Meetup. Often, there are monthly meetups in your specialization – these are both great learning opportunities, and networking. Two in one – bonus! If you attend regularly, it will make it easier to make the connections.
Another suggestion – Google. Search for events, organizations, etc. While this might not hold true for EVERY profession, a lot of them out there have either monthly, or quarterly events – often even low cost.
Finally, if you are involved in other communities, such as a dance or martial arts like I am, don’t be afraid to casually chat with others there. True story – I got a casual position in the government back in 2008, simply because of my training partners at karate knew I was looking for a job, and had someone who was looking for a developer. You never know who others know.
This may be hard for those introverted people (like myself), but believe me, it’s totally worth it. At the very least, you get to meet some interesting people, and engage in meaningful conversation.
So get out there…you may be surprised!
(DISCLAIMER: This is solely my opinion and experience. I am not a professional in this sense, but I’ve had excellent results – so I thought I would share)