Getting your foot in the door at a company or in a new career means knowing who to talk to and when to talk to them. Networking in Dallas gives you an opportunity to meet others in your field and to learn more about open positions or new developments. If you join a professional organization or attend networking events on a regular basis, you not only get to beef up your Rolodex, you also get to establish long lasting connections with people in your area. Here are some tips.
Getting the Hang of Networking
If you’re a networking newbie, it can be an awkward experience. It's difficult to strike the right balance between connecting with another person and seeming as if you're only interested in what he or she can do for you. One rule of thumb to follow when networking is not to corner people about specific jobs. You don't want to come across as pushy or desperate. Instead, talk to people about what they do at a company, how they got started and what their thoughts are about the industry. Networking works best when you come across as genuinely interested in someone, not just interested in how they can help you.
Don't forget to follow up with your contacts after an event. Send a quick email telling them it was great to meet them. If they gave you contact information for another person, let them know when you make contact with that person and how the meeting went.
Young Professionals Groups
The Dallas chapter of Texas Young Professionals meets on a monthly basis. Events include happy hours as well as an executive business luncheon, which gives young professionals a chance to learn from others in various fields. The group recently launched a running club, too. Although the club has “young” in its title, it doesn't have an specific any requirements for membership. Additionally, it is open to people in any industry. Meetings and events see a decent mix of professionals, executives and entrepreneurs mixing and mingling.
Organizations for Women
Dallas has several networking organizations that are specifically targeted to female professionals. The Dallas chapter of Ellevate helps women in advance in the workplace and believes in investing in the professional lives of women. In addition to occasional, in-person events, the networking group hosts "jam sessions," which are online webinars that tackle various topics and concerns working and professional women face.
Dallas is also home to a chapter of Women in Technology International. The goal of WITI overall is to help women in the tech field (where women are still a considerable minority) achieve their career goals. The Dallas chapter offers women in technology positions in the city a local forum to meet each other, share their resources, and learn about new opportunities in the industry. Chapter events include regular webinars and occasional in-person meetings. The organization also maintains a job board so that women can find new opportunities in technology in their area or across the country.