While the Big Apple is known for museums, restaurants, shows and nightlife, it’s also a great place to take advantage of the vast opportunities and move forward in your career. Almost every industry is represented here, and you can work at any size company, from a small start up to an established multinational.
Applying online with a smart cover letter and resume can help you get your foot in the door, but in New York City, you also have to put in face time and meet people. In other words, network network network! Don’t believe the stereotype about New Yorkers — they’re actually quite friendly. Just be comfortable answering the question: What do you do? (Everyone seems to ask this of New Yorkers no matter where you are!)
In NYC, you really never know when you’ll meet that person who just might lead you to your next job opportunity. New York is a big city, but because it’s so big, there are a lot more ways to network that are unique to the people who live here. Here are 7 approaches you can take:
1. Your Personal and Professional Networks
It’s not uncommon for someone to reach out to their old coworkers when they’re hiring or know of a job opening at their company. Referrals from your personal connections are also an excellent way to get an introduction that can help you land an interview for your dream job. New Yorkers work to build their networks and make an effort to stay connected to people by attending reunions and gatherings with former coworkers, or sometimes by just sending an email or text to say hello.
2. Alumni Groups
One of the benefits of your bachelor’s and / or master’s degrees is access to the alumni who also attended that school. Most of the time, alumni are very willing to help other alumni, especially in New York. Whether you attend an event in New York City, such as a networking breakfast, holiday party, trivia night, panel discussion or presentation, or if you reach out to those who live and work in the Big Apple, you’ve a good chance of meeting someone who can help you get your foot in the door at a particular company.
3. Dog Parks
New Yorkers are creatures of habit and tend to frequent the same places as part of their daily routine. If you take your dog to the park, you’ll see other neighborhood dog owners at the same time every day. Right now, some of the most popular dog parks include the Madison Square Dog Run, Washington Square Park Dog Runs and the Hillside Dog Park & Run in Brooklyn. You never know who you’ll meet when you’re walking your pooch, so regardless of whether your dog is socializing, make an effort to get to know the other dog owners if they’re open to a conversation — talking about your dog is a great ice breaker.
4. Volunteer Work
New Yorkers love to give back to the community, and they do this by organizing and attending fundraisers or by volunteering. The one thing that volunteering provides is time to get to know people who you can add to both your personal and professional networks. In NYC, a few popular volunteering organizations in which you may really meet others include Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York, The Partnership for the Homeless and City Harvest. Many organizations have volunteer opportunities and events year round. The network you create through volunteering can be very powerful.
5. Happy Hours
New Yorkers are infamous for grabbing drinks after work with friends, coworkers or other social or professional groups. These gatherings are often filled with other professionals. If you want to try this fun and effective route, right now, some popular watering holes where professionals tend to hang out include Mad Dog & Beans, Red Rooster and Del Frisco’s. If you attend a happy hour, no matter who you’re there with, there’s a good chance you’ll meet new people to exchange contact information with and build your network.
6. Sports Leagues, Teams and Social Clubs
New Yorkers don’t spend all their time in the office. They have diverse interests and are very active. Whether you run, cycle, or play basketball, soccer, kickball or darts, for example, there are groups and leagues that you can join for these activities. Some of the more popular leagues are Zog Sports, New York Urban Professionals Athletic League, NYC Social and New York Road Runners. As you get to know people in these groups, along with making new friends, you may also meet people who work in your industry or at a company where you’d like to work.
7. Coffee Shops
Rather than rent an office space or meet in a conference room, New Yorkers conduct business and work at their local coffee shops. Stay there long enough and you may overhear job interviews, venture capital pitches and business strategy sessions. Coffee shops are full of professional freelancers and people working outside of the office for a few hours who may be writers, producers, lawyers, computer programmers — you name it. Neighborhoods like Flatiron and Chelsea are especially popular for this, and specifically, a few coffee shops like Brooklyn Roasting Company, Stumptown Coffee Roasters at the Ace Hotel and Pushcart Coffee are constantly full of professionals working away, collaborating and exchanging ideas. While there’s a certain form of etiquette about working at cafés, such as buying a drink every few hours, people there may be willing to have a conversation. That person could very well open an unexpected door that leads to your next career move.
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