Networking in Your Industry…and Beyond!

Networking in your industry is not enough.

Once you understand how important networking is to your career, you’ll want to get started right away. Don’t limit your CHAMP network to your own company, or even your own industry! Get out of your own backyard as often as possible by attending formal and informal networking events. Within each industry, there are countless opportunities for formal networking. Try to persuade your manager to sponsor your attendance or participation. Many conference websites even offer templates and sample letters to help you do so!

Author’s note: This article is an excerpt from my book, Network Beyond Bias.

Professional Associations

Interesting side note: There are even associations dedicated to people who run associations. I’ll be speaking at four or more such conferences (ASAE, CalSAE, ISAE, and TSAE) this year!

Many industries also groups dedicated to diversifying the talent pool and advancing specific demographic groups within the industry. In the cybersecurity industry, for example, the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) hosts multiple events annually and has an active online community. Organizations like the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR) and the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) strive to meet the needs of affinity members in their respective fields. If you don’t identify with an organization’s target demographic, find out if allies are welcome as members or guests at their events. Don’t be afraid to show up at the conference that’s not for you. The experience will be invaluable!

Vendor User Groups

Industry Trade Shows

Colleges and Universities

Another way to make the most of your local campus (or an online program) is to take a class. During your studies, you’ll have a chance to collaborate and connect with people of all different backgrounds and ages. At the same time, you’ll build your own knowledge and skills, making you more valuable to your employer and your network!

Toastmasters Clubs

Meetups and Community Events

Social Media

Download a copy of my complimentary eBook, 21 Insights for Inclusive Networking, here.

Founder and CEO of Lead at Any Level LLC and author of Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career.