November 2, 2014

6 Budget Friendly Networking Tips

As you develop as a professional, you’ll quickly realize that life is all about who you know. The more you network, the better off you will be.

It’s up to you to constantly make professional contacts, stay in touch with them, and develop  relationships. You never know when you’ll need a reference or a referral. Or you might be called upon to return the favor. Your professional contacts influence your life more than you may realize.

Networking is an ongoing process. It’s always happening. You never know who you’ll meet or where, so always be sure to keep your networking radar on. That also means that you need to be a professional  at all times – from the bar to the office to social media.

Networking is harder for some people than others. It’s especially hard when you’re on a budget. Paying membership dues, traveling to events, and printing business cards gets expensive quickly. Luckily we have a few budget friendly networking tips that can help you make contacts without costing you lots of money.

Have you tried these budget friendly networking tips?

  1. Volunteer – Volunteering with a company, at an event, or for a charity is a great way to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds. Not only is it free, but if you do enough of it, you can add it to a resume.
  2. Alumni Resources – After high school and college, friends scatter to all corners of the earth to do a wide variety of things. Those friends are your network, tap into that resource.
  3. Develop Your Social Media Presence – Social media and blogs are free to develop and maintain. Create yours and interact with companies and professionals. It’s a good conversation starter when you meet in person. There are very few professional networking relationships that begin completely online, but social media is a good way to develop and maintain those relationships.
  4. Attend Free Events – You can network anywhere. You don’t have to specifically seek out things called “networking events.” Go to free workshops at REI, public fundraisers, public speaking events, art gallery openings, or other things related to your niche. You’ll meet lots of like-minded folks.
  5. Keep The Conversation Going – Get to know people. Ask questions about what they do. Talk to strangers. Have a few conversation starters ready to go. Everyone knows someone else. Maybe that guy on the subway is only one degree of separation from your dream job.
  6. Create A Budget – Set aside a bit of money each week for networking. Maybe it’s enough to cover the entry fee to a job fair or to take a co-worker out for coffee. Create your budget and stick to it.

There are plenty of other ways to network on a budget. Think outside of the box and you’ll be able to brainstorm lots of budget friendly networking tips. Just remember that it’s up to you to create and maintain your network. Do what needs to be done and you’ll be thrilled with the results.

Networking is about forming relationships. It’s a two way street and professionals want to help each other out. Spend time networking. Try to develop new contacts on a daily basis. It’s hard work, but who you know will ultimately pay off more than what you know.

Find additional networking tips on JobMonkey.

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