Even if you believe you have complete job security, you never know where your career could lead you next. To ensure longevity in your work, there’s no better security net than having an extensive professional network of peers with insight on job opportunities, connections to major players in your industry, or who give great referrals. While developing your network may seem like a daunting task, it’s clear that the effort results in success – an astounding 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. So, where should you get started? We’ve compiled a list of the 4 most effective ways that you can begin to build out your professional network in Southern California today.

1.      Join a local organization for your niche.

One of the most valuable, and easiest, ways to enter the SoCal professional networking scene is by joining a local organization that pertains to your industry or skillset. There are countless groups that bring like-minded professionals together, offering opportunities for discussion, knowledge sharing, and career growth. A few notable local organizations include the Southern California Leadership Network, Long Beach Young Professionals, and the SoCal IT Professional Association.

These groups often host events, ranging from social mixers to skill development opportunities. Whether for a niche like the Women Talk Tech Forum or a general meet-up like an Entrepreneurs and Mental Health seminar, the functions put on by these groups are informative and engaging – the perfect setting to develop relationships with peers in your area.

2.      Attend a conference that pertains to your career goals.

For some, joining an organization can seem like a major commitment that they’re not quite ready to make. Instead, consider attending a conference – you’ll still reap educational and professional networking benefits, just in a different environment. These events are a large-scale version of the intimate meet-ups put on by groups. They often take place over the course of multiple days, attracting a larger audience and offering unique, cutting-edge insight from top-players in your industry. Each seminar is a new opportunity to engage with different professionals and develop your knowledge-base.

This summer, there’s a wide assortment of conferences being hosted in SoCal, such as:

  • Southern California Business Development Conference: This one day event gathers some of California’s most influential leaders, giving businesses of all sizes the opportunity to interact with key decision makers in the public and private sectors.
  • Southern California Biomedical Council Conference: For the past 21 years, SoCalBio has been hosting this conference. At least 40 presentations will showcase the latest bioscience innovations and explore efficient pathways to successfully bring them to market in SoCal.
  • Data Con LA 2019: Formerly known as Big Data Day LA, this conference features data and tech enthusiasts from across LA. This year, over 2000 guests are expected to attend workshops covering topics like data science, emerging tech, and cybersecurity.

3.      Volunteer for a charity initiative.

There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as giving back to your community, so why not kill two birds with one stone and capitalize on the professional networking opportunities that volunteer work provides at the same time? There are hundreds of charity initiatives that serve as a great way to connect with peers in your area, which could lead you to interesting new clients or job opportunities. Also, with so many options to choose from, you can easily find a cause or two that you’d like to support. Inside Philanthropy, a news media organization that follows foundations and their major donors, has a section specifically dedicated to covering growing charity organizations in the LA & SoCal region. Each article highlights a different local effort, spanning causes from arts and culture to climate and energy, and allowing you to decide which foundation is the best fit for you.

4.      Become a member of your alma mater’s alumni association.

If you’re a college grad, leveraging your alma mater’s alumni association should be a no-brainer. The sole purpose of alumni associations is to support their graduates, and one such effort is constantly hosting professional networking opportunities. Attendees range widely in terms of age and background, all connected through their educational experience. Sharing this common ground makes forming new connections come naturally and simplifies the process of maintaining those relationships as the crowd is sure to attend more school events in the future. Plus, many alumni associations publish private job boards, providing their graduates with the first look at exclusive opportunities. In addition to boasting your network, you’ll have access to a variety of benefits, perks, and discounts from your school. That being said, alumni associations are a two-way street; members are likely expected to give back to their school through gifts, membership fees, or volunteering.

Developing an expansive network of Southern California professionals can be one of the greatest investments of your career. In an area rife with opportunity, there are endless ways to meet your peers and build valuable relationships with them – you just have to put yourself out there. Use one of these methods to start taking advantage of the thriving SoCal business landscape today.

Professional networking isn’t the only way to find an incredible job opportunity in Southern California – the Irvine-based KORE1 team has placed hundreds of employees in their dream roles. Find out what we can do for your career now.

 

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