I have had a couple of clients ask me how to network now that they have moved to a resort area. Career change is hard enough, let alone finding new network contacts in an unfamiliar area. First, let me recommend that you have your career goal in mind and, preferably, at least partially achieved.
It surprises me how many people move without having a job or even the prospect of a job – not the independently wealthy, mind you, just regularly folks. Please,plan for your change to keep stress to a minimum and allow yourself the greatest possibility of success. For more information on identifying and planning for a career change see my previous article Dare to dream of career change.
If you have already relocated and are striving to network you should begin an all out campaign to meet and get to know as many people as you can. It doesn’t matter so much what they do or how they might help you at this point. Initially, you just need to get connected and get information on HOW to network in your new locale.
If you used a real estate agent ask their advice about where the local people go. Where might you begin to be able to meet people and relearn how to network? Ask about groups as well, but these are often hit and miss. In the beginning your time is best spent on gathering information from the people you will meet.
Read the local papers, often communities have free papers that provide information on local happenings. Again, these may not be related to the niche you hope to network yourself into, but you will be able to meet people and learn how they network. Additionally, knowing your new community will unavoidably help you feel more connected and give you something to talk to people about.
Attend local events. They are often free and frequently a little colloquial, but that is exactly the point! Soak up as much of this local flavor as you can and let it envelope you until it becomes part of you. Enjoy getting to know the goings on, even if it sometimes seems silly at first.
Continue whatever social networking you have been doing. If you haven’t been using social networking sites, shame on you! They are an invaluable communication tool. It is surprising how one update about a move or potential move to a given area can generate connections to friends or cousins or brothers of friends who are more than happy to help you. Why not use the technology we have developed so rapidly over the past few years?
Identify groups similar to those to which you belonged in your prior location – you will be familiar with what to expect, process, requirements, etc. Explore other groups about which you learn from those you meet in your new area. Attend meetings more than once before committing to dues over a specific amount, say $100 per year. Most will allow at least one free meeting. If you are still uncertain about a group’s benefits to you there is usually a way to get you to visit the meeting once or twice more before committing.
Attend meetings and visit local hang outs as often as possible and make an effort to meet people, get to know them, and, perhaps more importantly, for them to get to know you. A word of caution: If you approach this step with a fear of failure you will fail. Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “If you think you can… or think you can’t…, you’re right.”
If you follow these steps, you will quickly find yourself part of not only a new network, but an entire community and happy about the changes you have made in your career and your life.