Networking is an important part of career growth and advancement. While we all recognize that we need to do it, our busy schedules often limit our opportunities. If, however, you can take an hour to assist at a check-in table, for example, you can create your next networking opportunity.
When you volunteer to assist another event, either by being a committee member or working a registration table, you have the opportunity to work with people outside of your normal work environment. Use the time to find a new connection into another department where you do not know anyone. You not only get to meet new people, but you also see first-hand how they perform on the job. It also provides an instant opportunity to see other events around campus and gather ideas for your next function.
My networking philosophy has been to accomplish two goals at every event: reinforce my established connections and create quality new connections. I love LinkedIn as a networking tool, but I want to know the faces that go with the names in my address book. By incorporating networking into your volunteerism, you are creating bonds that may be useful in your career.
If you are wondering how to find events at which to volunteer, here are my top suggestions:
- Contact Institute Special Events & Protocol – Not only does our office host events that often require volunteers, but we also consult with other departments who would welcome the extra hands.
- Reach out to an event planner near you – This individual could have an event planner title or be an administrative assistant. Either way, ask the person who plans events for your department or college if you can volunteer at the next event.
- Ask the Event Coordinators’ Network (ECN) – If you are looking to get involved, we encourage people to reach out to the ECN either by email or in person at our next brown bag for volunteering opportunities. Not sure who’s a member of the ECN? Visit our Additional Resources for the most updated list of members.
We hope to see you at our next event!