FRIDAY APRIL 1, 2016
Step #7: Interact with Inspiring People
Dealing with your quarter-life career crisis can often feel like a solitary endeavor, something navigated privately. Because of that, it’s easy to feel weighed down by everything going on and the choices you’re facing.
The solution is easier than you might expect: Get out of your own head and interact with other people.
Picking the brains of others, whether via formal conversation or informal chats, is an invaluable way to get inspired, as well as feel less overwhelmed by life.
More than that, however, networking—and developing a robust network of contacts—is one of the most important things you can do for your career.
Here are some ways to get your network on:
Attend networking events. While these might be intimidating (or conjure images of stuffy corporate types) take a deep breath and go. Trust us: You won’t be alone in feeling awkward in a sea of potentially unfamiliar people. Practice this: walk up to a group and start with ‘Hi, I’m XX what’s your name?’ Then let the convos start flowing.
Sign up for your college’s local alumni club. These clubs tend to sponsor all kinds of local events, from talks and social hours to sports-centric meetups, to make it easy for alums to meet each other and network. Plus, recent grads tend to get discounted membership rates!
Join young professionals groups. Consider this a low-pressure, high-fun networking opportunity: Hanging out in support of a cultural institution is a great way to get to know people in a social sense, while also hearing about their own career triumphs and questions. (Joining an intramural sports league is another great way to accomplish the same thing.)
Ask for informational interviews. Established professionals are usually happy to talk about what they do for a living, as well as how they got to where they are today. Reach out to people you admire and ask if they have time for a phone call or an informal coffee date—you’d be surprised at how accessible and open people are if you approach them via email, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Hang out in LinkedIn groups. There are thousands of LinkedIn discussion groups, which can make finding an active, useful one difficult. However, it’s worth finding one relevant to your interests and career options, and interacting with commenters and articles. Not only will you soak up information, but you’re able to ask questions and maybe even make valuable connections that could help you down the line.
In short, you never know where or when you’re going to meet someone who could change your career destiny.
Now that you’ve figured out ways to get your network in gear, what are the best next steps to take? How can you make this your best year yet? Follow us for quarter-life crisis survival tips and guidance, including step #8, published in a few weeks.