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One of the most reiterated pieces of job searching advice is the importance of networking. One of the easiest ways to incorporate this is to join a local young professionals group through your company, industry or metropolitan area, such as the Young Professionals Connections of Greater Des Moines (YPC). This organization not only gives me the opportunity to make professional contacts, but also a chance to volunteer, socialize and learn more about what Des Moines has to offer.
This organization has helped me feel at home since I moved here after college graduation and continues to open more opportunities, from athletics to fashion fundraisers. Membership costs for these organizations are often very reasonable, or you may even be able to get your company to pay for it if you can make a convincing case of why this membership benefits your current position. Membership to networking groups can also include perks such discounted rates at local businesses and events.
Through YPC, I’ve heard various speakers on such topics as leadership, perseverance and how to be resourceful. Come prepared to events featuring speakers so you can ask intelligent questions and offer valuable comments. The best part of having these speakers in a small environment is the chance you get to ask questions and connect with these professionals on an individual basis. After all, you don’t want to wait until you need a job to start making connections and asking for references. Building up these relationships now will make any future job searches or graduate school applications that much easier because I’ll already have an established network of professionals.
Another important aspect to consider when joining a young professionals group is the opportunity to take a leadership role. Serving as head of a committee or project will enable you to meet even more key players in your community while also gaining valuable management skills. I look forward to pursuing one of these positions in the future and to all the volunteer opportunities available this summer.
So whether you are currently job hunting or have already begun your career, join a networking group to enrich your professional possibilities and connections!