It's been a while (I think) since I've updated what I've been doing in terms of networking, perhaps due to being somewhat abashed at my networking vs. what's being recommended in the various books I've covered here. I guess if I was one of those guys with a defined career path from which I could triangulate a solid list of target companies, I'd be off trying to find the right person in the right position to make the right introductions to get me in front of the right decision makers who would immediately see the "pain points" that I'd be fixing if they hired me ... but I'm not, so I go out to a LOT of events, and meet a lot of people, and slowly build relationships. I guess I'm a loser like that. If you're in the same boat, there are a bunch of resources out there, like MeetUp, EventBrite, and various event calendars.
So far this week I've been out to two. On Monday, I headed over to the amazing Kenmore Live Studios for an event featuring Andrea Metcalf and some recipes from her upcoming book Naked Fitness. The space over there is amazing, and I'm shocked that I'd not been aware of it coming in (the last I recalled, that was a glass sculpture gallery) over in River North. The Kenmore/Sears folks must be flinging a ton of money there, as they do live web shows 3-5 times a week. Frankly, going there served more to "get me out of the house" (as I've been pretty wound up waiting on word on this possible new job!), but I did get to have a chat with a half a dozen folks I know from the Social Media Club, and meet Andrea (actually, we'd sort of had some history, as my previous employer was in discussions about 3 years ago about doing a web site for her).
Speaking of the Social Media Club, I was off at their monthly event tonight. As I've noted, if one gets into networking within one's specific interest area, with as much that goes on in Chicago, you're likely to find situations where you're having to pick and choose what you go to. Tonight was one of those cases, as I had two events I'd signed up for, the SMC meeting, and an event called Ignite Chicago which features 5-minute presentations by a wide variety of speakers (including one by my previous boss, which I regretted not being there for). I had, however, been telling Scott Stratten (@UnMarketing on Twitter) for months that I was looking forward to his book tour stop in Chicago, and the SMC was hosting this for the meeting tonight. I'm still up in the air for next Tuesday, as I have three events all on at the same time that I'd like to get to!
The picture illustrating this post is Scott speaking from the DJ booth at the upstairs room of Rockit down on Hubbard. There was quite a crowd out, well over 200 (they ran out of copies of the UnMarketing book, which the sponsor Radian6 had kindly provided, about 2/3rds into the attendees' arrival), which included dozens of folks I knew (including Ms. Metcalf). Stratten's presentation was super, with a bunch of great quotes, such as "to be awesome at customer service you just have to be average, because everybody else sucks", "every time you ask what the ROI of Twitter is, a kitten dies ... and a unicorn", plus the concepts of becoming "Google proof" (being so good at what you do that people will know where to find you and not have to search) and how "social media = talking". He also promised to re-tweet any blog posts that used the word "superific" in their title (ahem).
Again, via the MeetUp listings alone there were over 800 events in the Chicago area this week, throw in the EventBrite listings, the assorted "TweetUps", and industry/interest specific groups, there are very likely thousands of things to choose from to attend. Do some research on what's applicable to your job search and get out there. You don't have to be as obsessive about it as I am (I try to get out to at least 2 events a week, and try to cap it at 4), but it's always helpful (as long as you don't focus on those "room full of unemployed folks" things, those are just depressing).