Start your career comeback with these network events
Network your way back into your dream field.
If it’s really not so much what you know as who you know, networking could be a fast ticket back into the field of your dreams. While career pros will tell you the best connections are made in places where you already have an in—think alumni associations, trade organizations and professional meetings—the professional meet ups below are a far cry from the humiliation of overcrowded job fairs held in suburban hotel lobbies. Instead, they put a cocktail in one hand and a chance to get just the right contact’s business card in the other.
Join fellow tree-hugging entrepreneurs and business leaders for drinks and discussions on eco-conscious and sustainable business practices at Foresight Design Initiative’s Green Drinks–Business Edition monthly mixers. Even if you’re not in the green field, guest speakers will keep you up to speed on industry trends and timely topics. For info on the next meet-up, check out foresightdesign.org/events.
Chicago Pink Slip
Talk about making the most of an unfortunate situation: Pink Slip’s parties make getting laid off seem more like joining a club. The org’s hosted fetes help job seekers and the career curious connect with other entrepreneurs and business professionals in like fields, and mingle with human-resources pros, hiring managers and executive recruiters—all in a sleek club setting. The next one takes place Wednesday 19 at District Bar. 170 W Ontario St, register at chicagopinkslip.com.
Young Professionals of Chicago
Handshakes and business-card exchanges can go only so far. YPC gives you a better chance to make an impression with networking sessions that take place over kickball games, theater outings, architectural cruises and, of course, cocktail parties. Part of the org’s mission is to build members’ leadership skills, and it delivers big-name local entrepreneurs such as Lettuce Entertain You CEO Kevin Brown for talks. Membership is not required to mingle, check out ypchicago.org for upcoming events.
Business Network Chicago
This org has a group for you, whether you’re an entrepreneur, health-care worker or in HR, sales and marketing, venture capital or IT. If you’re not in any of those fields, it has a group for you, too: The free After Hours social mixer, which takes place on the fourth Tuesday of each month, regularly brings together about 200 professionals from all backgrounds for an evening of guest speakers and cocktails. Walk-ups are welcome. The next After Hours meeting is slated for August 26. Call 312-943-6376 or see bnchicago.org for other groups’ meeting times and fees.
Out of Work Chicago
This site offers a variety of resources, including a career blog, a discussion forum manned by a topic expert, a job board and networking sessions that take place on the first Wednesday of each month. The professional mingles, held at local restaurants, include food and drink specials, chances to meet about 25 recruiters from companies such as Artisan and U.S. Cellular, and a revolving lineup of high-profile speakers. Tips from experts in interviewing, résumé writing, personal branding, business etiquette and even style are included, too. The next networking event is slated for September 2, outofworkchicago.com, $20–$30.
“Twitter, LinkedIn and e-mail are okay for leads, but real connections in your field are built in person over time and with interpersonal energy. For networking to work, you have to be interested and be interesting.”—Camille Helkowski