What is Personal Networking?

Personal Networking is the development of relationships with groups or people with whom we have similar interests. The development of relationships  is usually conducted within three levels described below:

Professional networks offer easy, effective, and efficient networking opportunities. Members of these networks or organizations are, by definition, in contact with others and often know upcoming job opportunities and trends.  For those relocating or somewhat socially introverted, the conferences, events, and regular meetings offer opportunities for social connections. To maximize these networks as networking opportunities, you need to be visible. Become an active member, coordinate the next meeting, become an officer, try some committee work. This will allow people to see what you can do.

To locate professional networks in your area of interest, utilize search engines, your Netbank, alumni associations, or people in your current place of work. Make an effort to connect with the Director or Membership Chair to ask about times, venues, and types of services offered.

Civic Organizations

Volunteer Organizations

These groups have a purpose that is usually focused on the community and its business partners. These are great networking opportunities, especially if you are interested in starting a small business, have political aspirations, participate in their social causes, such as food banks or children’s activities. To maximize networking opportunities and develop relationships, you must attend the regular meetings.

There are many good reasons to donate your time to a cause, but the side benefit is often developing relationships. Volunteer work gives you the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills while doing something you love and something that is greatly needed! Volunteer work is especially beneficial for those with limited paid work experience. Your learn a lot, donate to a good cause, and apply transferable skills.

Individual Networks are the venues that we may frequent on a regular basis, but not formal networking organizations. For example: health clubs, golf courses, airplanes, weddings, book clubs, cocktail parties, and children's sports. Why not strike up a conversation with the person next to you?

You may remember the old expression: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This suggests that no matter how smart and talented you are, you will not have the same competitive edge as someone who is well connected. There’s a lot of truth in that expression. Networking is the process through which you get connected and develop relationships that will help you advance your professional (and maybe social) life.

Just remember: networking is sharing—it’s a give and take that benefits all parties.

Toolkit

Use the documents below to help find organizations you may want to join.

Prof. Networking Organizations

Prof. Women's Organizations

Prof. Minority Organizations

Volunteer Organizations in O.C.