By John Rosenfelder ’88
John is a business intelligence analyst with proven results applying technology to strategy through data investigation, statistical analysis and visual presentation. He received his BA from Stony Brook in English Composition and Art History and an MS from Columbia University in Technology Management. John has been an SBU CAN Mentor for several years.
It is a widely accepted fact that most jobs come from personal referrals, not by using online applications or career sites. If you have no network because you are just starting your career or changing professions, how can you find people in your area to let know about your search?
Meetup.com is a great resource for job-seekers, learners and networkers of all kinds. You can use the site to find groups in your area who are oriented around a specific topic, and if there isn’t anything applicable to your interest, you can easily start your own meetup.
If you’re interested in career or profession-related meetups, you can check out the Career and Business section of Meetup.com, specify the distance that you’re willing to travel for the group and join groups of interest. You can meet with like-minded professionals, join others managing the ups and downs of the job search process, and even join networking groups. For instance, a few Long Island groups (found on March 21 using the search criteria of “All Meetups” within 10 miles of the 11794 zip code) included health, technology, real estate, small business networks and hiking. As mentioned above, you can also start your own group.
To start off, create a Meetup.com profile with accurate information about your background/goals. You can get started by picking a few general types of meetups you’re interested in, then specifying narrower interests within those types. Once you specify narrower interests, you will be presented with groups in your area. You can pick from among these groups and add yourself to them, after which you’ll be presented with a calendar of upcoming events for these specific groups.
Here are a few tips for best results when attending a meetup/talk:
Prepare. If you are new to the topic, do a little reading on the speaker or focus of the event beforehand so you have some context for the new information coming in.
Go early. Bernie Brillstein taught us in his book, Where Did I Go Right?: You’re No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead, how people who show up considerably early have many advantages over those who show up on time or even a few minutes early.
Go old school. Bring business cards and pen/paper to share contact info or write down important ideas. Don’t hesitate to take notes.
Reflect and follow up. Discuss your experiences, what you’ve learned, and what interactions you’ve had with new contacts in a blog post, a comment on Meetup.com or a post on social media. Plan for further learning and make sure to connect on Linkedin or meetup.com with your new contacts.
Repeat. One of the big advantages of these meetups is that it puts you in a room with like-minded people. You can start to feel like you belong to one of these communities as you start to see familiar faces at the events.
Communicate. Let us know how it goes.
Making educated career decisions can be difficult at any stage of career development. The ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Blog is intended for Stony Brook University students and alumni to learn career knowledge and get advice from experienced alumni, working in various career fields, about lessons learned from their career experiences.