Connecting. Networking. Building Relationships.
Call it whatever you like, just make sure you're networking. It's difficult to get the job/internship/letter of recommendation/favor you need if you don't know anyone in your field. It's difficult to learn about your field if you don't know others in it. It's all around difficult to go through life without any friends - even if they're friends in low places... If you don't believe me, check out my Galentine's Day post here.
We're in Nashville right now, so this song is perfectly appropriate, right?
Here's the secret: everyone else is nervous too.
If they're not, they're the weird ones, not you.
Here are my top 3 tools for finding people you have stuff in common with:
- www.meetup.com - there's also an app, and it's amazing. Pick any city, and there will be at least a hundred different clubs or "meetups" you could potentially join. Interested in Design? Join a group of designers for lunch. Interested in entrepreneurship? They've got meetups for you too. It's a really fantastic app - perfect for networking or building relationships of any kind.
- www.linkedin.com - if you're not on it already, you should be. It's the ultimate place to network professionally. It's strictly professional, so... keep it classy. Try to reach out to some other people in your field - even if you think they might be a little above your pay grade.
- www.eventbrite.com - this is a menagerie of fun local events, conferences, races, and all kinds of other fun stuff. It's a great way to dip a toe into "networking" while really kind of doing some cool learning or activities with other people who are dipping their toes in the water.