Just because you don't have a job, or don't have a job in your field of interest, doesn't mean you can't network with people who do. We've talked about how trade shows can get you in with people, but if you want something smaller, consider starting a networking group on Meetup.com for professionals in your area.
Picture: Michael Coghlan/Flickr
Meetup groups can just be coffee conversations. Check the site first to see if there's a group you may already want to be a part of, and don't hesitate to start one if there isn't. Idealist Careers explains:
A lot of the smaller, more local events planned by members in these communities are free or low-cost, and can introduce you to tons of new people who share your interests. Ditto for the activities hosted by professional associations for people in your line of work.
Another way to find networking events is to create them. One fun way to do this is to first make a list of people you know. (If you get stuck after listing friends, family, and classmates, check out this great blog post by Liz Ryan that gives examples of places you might have met cool people that you haven't had occasion to contact in a while.) Then email a handful of them every week and invite them to have coffee with you, or just chat on the phone, to catch up. When chatting, try asking them if they can recommend someone you reach out to, to keep the conversation going.
Rekindling these old acquaintances -- and getting connected with new ones -- is a very efficient way of stay on top of what's happening in the outside world, and hearing about job openings before they hit the Internet.
Whether you choose to start a group with your friends and colleagues, or you opt to open the group up to everyone, starting your own networking group is a great way to do a little professional networking on your own terms, share information and get a group of people together. Hit the link below for more networking tips.
Networking When You Don't Have a Job [Idealist Careers]