|Everyone in this city is linked together in one way or another. Big City. Small town.|
How to network in New York City
I never realized how true the whole “six degrees of separation” concept was until I moved to NYC and began to mix and mingle. Just by talking to people, you start to see that everyone in this city is linked together in one way or another. While some of the benefits of networking can include meeting celebrities or scoring a VIP table at a hot new nightclub, it’s especially important when it comes to finding a job and furthering your career.
When I first came to New York, nobody would hire me. I had a fancy new college degree from London and an impressive fashion background stamped on my resume, but unfortunately, I fell into that “in-between” category where I didn’t have enough experience for a six-figure corporate job, yet I was too experienced to be an H&M sales associate. So I decided to start a freelance social media marketing business and take on a bunch of private clients, all of which I met through networking.</span
In the beginning, reaching out to strangers was completely foreign to me. Although some would beg to disagree, I can be painfully shy. When you’re in such a fast-paced and competitive city, however, you don’t have a choice – and a lot of people miss out on opportunities simply because they were too afraid to talk to someone.
Whether you have a job or not, networking in NYC is a must, as this is a town that’s all about “who you know.” But how do you get into the networking mix?
|In New York, it’s all about who you know.|
Talk to everyone.
All you need to do is talk to people – that’s it. No sales pitch is necessary. Even if the person you’re speaking with isn’t a potential customer, they may know someone who is. (New York is a big city, but a small town.) Chat with others during random moments around the city, and you’ll make some fantastic contacts, both business and personal.
Build your social media presence.
The internet is a good start. Make sure that all of your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) are either set to private or that there’s nothing visible that a potential employer or client would categorize as unprofessional. Join online groups such as those on LinkedIn, and start chatting with others within your industry. For people who are planning on moving to New York, this is especially helpful for learning about job options and making connections ahead of time, so you know what to expect when you arrive in the Big Apple.
Network when you’re socializing.
Even during happy hour when the $4 well drinks are flowing, people ramble off the numbers of their latest sales and make plans to hook up at a later date. I made an awesome friend at a bar who connected me with CESD Talent Agency for voice-over acting. None of that would’ve happened if I hadn’t put myself out there to chat with someone new.
Keep current business cards with you at all times.
If you are unemployed or your job doesn’t provide business cards, get your own. Order a basic version with your name and contact information. I also think business cards are a very classy way of giving a cute guy your phone number, but I digress.
Meetup.com is a great resource for finding and networking with groups of people who share common interests. Most of these groups regularly meet around the city, so it’s a terrific way to connect with new people and check out some NYC hotspots you may have otherwise overlooked. You’ll find smaller, specific groups such as Turkish/German expats in NYC, and larger ones like the NY Entrepreneurs and Startup Network.
There’s a constant influx of newbies coming in every season, and the job market here is tough. No matter what your career goals are, you’ll need to have your network of contacts to get ahead. You never know when someone may call you for a job interview, casting call, or music gig. By getting out there and circulating your name, you’re actively increasing the number of opportunities that may come your way, and you might be lucky enough to land your dream job.