No one likes being a fish out of water, and when you move to a new city, it’s hard to feel like anything but. You don’t know how to get anywhere or where you should go for the best pizza, and more importantly, you don’t know a lot of people. That means rebooting your professional network, that super important list of contacts that people often dub your “net worth.” What should you do? In a terrific Black Enterprise article titled “Relocating? How to Build a New Professional Network,” branding and marketing expert Daron Pressley offers some tips for putting yourself out there and making meaningful connections.
1. Take Risks — Moving to a new place can be scary, but if you don’t step out of that comfort zone and get a sense of the local flavor, you’re missing an opportunity to overcome your fears and gain some valuable new experiences. Pressley recommends joining a sports team and using websites like Meetup.com to find interesting clubs filled with people who share your interests. Professional organizations are also worth checking out.
2. Ditch the Shyness — You’ve networked before, so don’t act timid around new contacts. Let them know that you’ve just arrived in town, and that you’re looking to rebuilt your network and meet people who share your interests and might be good business associates or clients. “The same things that helped you to build your existing network will be the same things you use to establish a new one,” Pressley writes.
3. Seize Opportunities — You never know when you’re going to meet someone in a position to help you with your career, so when you encounter such a person in line at the coffee shop or at the gym, be sure to take advantage of the situation. Get the person’s LinkedIn info and reach out after your initial meeting.
4. Build From Your Old Network — The beauty of our digital world is that everyone is connected by no more than a few degrees of separation. When you move, reach out to your personal and professional contacts and get suggestions on who you should talk to in your new city. As Pressley writes, you don’t have to speak with all these people, but it’s a great way to get started.