LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other professionals in your industry, but most people don’t ever look beyond that platform in terms of networking. Because of the large number of users on the platform, LinkedIn may not always feel personal and the content you see might not be relevant to your professional needs. There are several other platforms to consider for expanding your network, and even ways outside of social media to meet people with similar interests and goals.
Meetup is an online platform that allows users to create and host events for those with common interests. Professional groups typically have informative seminars, workshops and networking events across most, if not all, industries. This is a great way to make face-to-face connections with those with similar professional (and hobby-based) interests.
AngelList is another popular LinkedIn alternative where you can see what startups are growing and trending, and even invest in these companies. You can also find and list employment opportunities here.
Slack is a virtual workspace team collaboration tool that also has a networking element to it. There are many public interest groups available for people to join, meet and chat with people with aligning professional interests. If you have a specific industry or category you’re looking to network in, Slack is a great way to find those related groups.
Although Facebook doesn’t advertise itself as a professional networking site, the realm of Facebook Groups is practically endless and you’re likely to find multiple different groups matching you or your company’s interests on the site. Whether you’re looking for a broad industry group or a more specific, niche one, Facebook Groups can create personal environments for you to meet a wide variety of people.
College alumni associations provide another venue for networking. Consider reaching out to your alma mater’s alumni center to see if there’s an association or even just a list of alumni local to your area that you could connect with. Attending the same college or university can be a great way to form a connection with someone and can provide an automatic bond between a group of people. Many alumni groups plan events throughout the year, and attending these is a great way to network and meet new people.
In reality, connections can come from anywhere, even from places you might not expect such as social events, restaurants and elevators. When you put yourself out there and talk to people or attend events that you might not otherwise, you might be surprised who you’ll meet and the connections you’ll form. Knowing your skills and what you’re looking for from potential connections can also make it easier to find groups that cater to your interests.
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