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7 Tips for How to Network This Summer

Can you enjoy summer and still keep your professional momentum going? We break down summer job networking. [TWEET]

No matter where you live, summer is a time to look forward to fun in the sun. Ball games, outdoor concerts, and friendly happy hours are just the tip of the sunny season iceberg. Maybe it’s the precedent set by our days in school, but summer just feels like a time to let loose and relax a bit, even if you still have to go to work.

However, when it comes to networking, you don’t want to take the summer off. It’s always a good idea to keep building new relationships that can help you and your career grow. The good news? Just like everything else during the summer, networking can be a little more fun, too.

Here are seven ideas on how to network while making the most of the summer and enjoying the sunny weather as well.

1. Set a few goals

Okay, goal setting may not be a lot of fun, but it will help you lay the groundwork for your summer so you can relax and just follow the plan. Only set job networking goals that you can control. For example, the number of events or personal lunches you’ll attend. However, if you bank on landing X-number of interviews or something you don’t fully control, you could be setting yourself up for failure despite your best efforts. How about attending one new networking event in a fun location each month? Your goals don’t have to be life changing, but the results just could be.

Sunny job networking tip: Look over your resume. Then look at the Linkedin page of someone you admire or someone who’s in a position you’d like to reach. What’s missing from your resume that they have? How can you use networking to fill those gaps? It may be as simple as setting a goal of learning three new software programs.

2. Utilize websites like Meetup.com

Don’t know where to start? Head to Meetup.com and search for groups in your area. It’s an easy way to meet like-minded people. You can try to find people that have interests in the same industry as you or discover a group that focuses on something you would like to learn more about. Localized networking sites like Meetup.com make it easy to find groups of people who live close to you and share common interests.

Sunny job networking tip: Think outside the box. The group you find doesn’t have to be professionally based. It could be people with similar hobbies or backgrounds. Meeting new people is the key.

3. Check out charity events

Summertime is a prime time for outdoor charity events. If you think charity events are strictly black jacket and shameless plugs for money, you need to get out to more of them, and soon. Today’s charity event organizers know that if they want people to come out to their events, they need to make them fun and interesting. That can mean ballgames, bands, and other fun things. Instead of begging from you, a lot of events have silent auctions where you can get fun things like trips, gift certificates, and more for a bid that’s significantly less than the value. Many charity events aren’t afraid to have a bar present, either.

Sunny job networking tip: Get a group of friends together and attend an event that sponsors a charity that means something to you. You’ll have a good time, help a great cause, and have the opportunity to meet others who are like-minded.

4. Join a committee

Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound like fun, does it? If you do it right, being a part of a committee for a summertime event can be rewarding and maybe even a little bit fun. Is your employer having a family picnic? Does your company do any charity events like a 5K Run/Walk? Maybe it’s outside of work and you help out with your kids’ summer sports or a church group event.

There are endless opportunities to help out different groups during the summer and a lot of them are doing something kind of cool. It’s a simple way to meet other people and work with them closely. You could make some great contacts this way. Sign yourself up for something that looks good professionally. Even if you don’t make new business contacts, you’ve added a little more fodder for your resume.

Sunny job networking tip: If you think you’ll hate it, don’t do it. It’s better to avoid helping out than to commit to helping and then bailing out. Find an event that you’ll enjoy being a part of and you should be fine.

5. Treat a new contact

Let’s say you’ve made some great contacts over the past few months. You’ve stayed in touch on Linkedin and such, but now it’s time to boost that relationship. Does your contact like sports? Grab a couple of tickets to a baseball or hockey game (baseball is great because the pace of the game allows for easy conversation). Or, do the same thing with a concert. If you know that your contact is a big Jimmy Buffett fan and he’s coming to town, why not give it a shot? They’ll appreciate the gesture and you may just get to see your new friend with their professional guard down in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Sunny job networking tip: Be thoughtful about your attire. If you like to rock out at a concert in a swanky little dress or hit the ballgame in face paint and a jersey, think differently for this one. Enjoy the event, but put your focus on the contact and be casually professional.

6. Check out a new spot

There’s a new place in town serving amazing lunches with a spectacular view and you’d like to go. But, no one has asked and you usually don’t spend that much on lunch. No problem. Reach out to a networking contact and see if they’d want to try it with you. Chances are you’ll be one neutral turf, since they probably haven’t tried it either, and you’ll have just the excuse you were looking for to try out that new spot. Food is always a good icebreaker. Who doesn’t love talking about their favorite dishes?

Sunny job networking tip: Since you issued the invite, be prepared to pick up the check. It’s a small price to pay for a good contact.

7. Happy Hour

Happy hours exist all year round, but there’s something a little different about that post-work cocktail during the summer months. If you find the right place with fun drinks, a little music, and an outdoor setting, the summer happy hour is just a little happier than other happy hours. It’s okay to take advantage of this and invite a contact out for happy hour. This is especially true if they work at the same company as you or you met them at a happy hour networking event. Keep it friendly and casual and with a group.

It goes without saying that if you want to impress, you shouldn’t have more than one or two drinks.

Sunny job networking tip: Don’t jump in on business talk right away. It’s time to relax and chit chat about whatever you want. If your contact leads the conversation that direction, then go with it.

Networking to keep your career headed in the right direction shouldn’t take summers off. Figuring out how to network in the summer doesn’t mean you have to book your summer full of tedious networking mixers that make your inner introvert scream. Let your hair down, relax and find some fun ways to keep meeting people and boosting your career. Take this time to meet a few new people or grow the relationships you’ve already started. Best of all, you can still be outdoors doing the things you love.

Let TopResume help you write the next chapter of your career. Here’s how.

Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!