Finding Networking Opportunities in Central Indiana
Networking opportunities in Indianapolis and the Central Indiana are included in this article as well as ideas on finding additional groups.
If you only pick one type of event or style of networking, it should be Local Professional Groups which are relevant to your target position, target industry, education and/or training. This brings the benefit of meeting others face-to-face, and knowing others in your particular line of work. If you aren’t aware of local groups for your profession, do a search for your position, include words such as “group” “meeting” or “event” and include regional keywords for your city or state. From this, you should be able to find Local chapters of related organizations. After attending the meetings, you will likely find other events and other appropriate groups to join.
Run a General Internet Search for your location along with the keywords “networking events.”
Local Chamber of Commerce events are a great way to meet local business members. For any region, run a search for your location name with the keywords “Chamber of Commerce.” Central Indiana Chambers of Commerce include:
- Madison County (Anderson, Pendleton, and surrounding areas)
Business and Professional Exchange, known as BPE offers networking for white collar careers in Indiana. Scroll down the page to find the chapter meetings list since you must be a member to access the shared calendar of additional events. Once you join BPE, you will have access to more information on additional networking events with member discounts. Members have access to a social networking site similar to Linkedin. The areas served include:
- North Indianapolis (Carmel, Westfield, Zionsville, Noblesville, Lapel, Fishers, Geist, McCordsville, Ingalls, Lawrence, Pendleton, and Anderson)
- South Indianapolis (Greenwood, Southport, and other Southern Indianapolis Regions)
- Hendricks County (Avon, Plainfield, Danville, Brownsburg, Speedway, Pittsboro, Clermont, and other Western Indianapolis regions)
Improving Networking and Communication Skills
Improve you Communication Skills at Toastmasters. Members evaluate one another’s presentations and give constructive advice in a friendly feedback process. This is great help for practicing interview skills as well.
Niche Networking groups can open you to opportunities with other close-knit groups. When you share similar interests or other similarities (such as women’s groups), you can connect with others on a deeper level since a significant bond is shared. An example of such close-knit groups includes Faith-Based Networking. Central Indiana options include:
- CBNA Christian Business Networking Association
- GENA Catholic based networking
- Unique3 Christian networking organization
Local Networking Sites: Not only can you expand your network of local people by face-to-face meetings; you can start or further your reach by using local social networking. This is can be especially helpful if you plan to move to a new area. You can start building your network before arriving in your new location.
- Smaller Indiana is a social networking site similar to Facebook with groups and local events. It combines social media and face-to-face networking.
- CBNA’s social networking site allows you to network online with people who you’ve met at CBNA meetings—or to meet online before attending the meetings.
- Local Twitter Search Results can get you exposed to local information quickly. Useful hashtags include your region or local city name as well as #jobs, #hiring, etc.
Social Networking is important. If you only join one social networking site, it should be Linkedin. We recommend the use of Twitter as well. Facebook can also be a great way to connect to your friends, but the problem with Facebook is the highly personal nature of the site. Once you have a Facebook or Linkedin account, you can use SimplyHired to find out who you know at a company from the job listings. For any online presence, be mindful of privacy settings, and the fact that you should not post anything likely to mar your image for prospective employers. We will post additional articles on the use of social media and best practices to avoid common errors and correct any errors you have made.
Techpoint has networking events for the Technology Sector. Their site includes events and blogs on local companies.
Additional resources which may lead you to even more networking groups:
- Local Unemployment Office: The unemployment office does much more than process benefits! WorkOne is the office designated to assist the unemployed in Indiana. For other areas, run a search for your location name with the words “unemployment office.” Visiting the nearest location may be necessary as it is usually difficult to reach a representative by phone. You don’t need to avoid this office if you’re employed. The unemployment office representatives will share information with any who seek assistance.
- Church: Since Churches are involved in their community, many churches are aware of networking and other similar programs in your area. If you’re not sure who to ask, the Office Manager/Administrator may know of local networking events or would likely know which staff members can help with your request. Staff members in charge of Outreach, Community Services, or other Care Ministries often know of such community events.
- Community Center: Community Centers are the buildings used by many local groups. Even if you can’t find a staff member, information on upcoming events is usually posted on a bulletin board.
- The people you meet can be a resource as well: Don’t forget to ask about additional networking opportunities at these events. Don’t be afraid to ask a few people at an event: “Do you know of any other local events like this?”
A few things to keep in mind about networking:
Business cards: You need to have your own business cards and you will receive many others at networking functions. To remember something about the people you meet, make notes once you get home or keep a fine-tipped permanent marker (this works well on glossy cards) to make notes in order to send a personalized email after the event. Sending a personalized message to the people you meet helps with establishing and maintaining relationships.
A small drawback to networking: By giving someone your business card, they may decide to add you to their email list (this frequently happens with Chamber of Commerce events—and they don’t ask if you want to be on the list). If you start to receive unsolicited newsletters, don’t feel bad about unsubscribing from their list.
Networking is often misunderstood. It is essentially talking with people—establishing connections, building relationships and gathering important advice and information to find hidden career opportunities. Networking is effective only if you make the right impression and make your goals known. For help with this and other important aspects of entering the hidden career market, contact CrossRoads at 317-842-8881 to schedule an appointment if you are in the Central Indiana area.