Networking coffee dateI led a workshop about networking and the job search last week. It was specifically tailored for a group of interns at our company, but I thought some of the tips might be useful for other arts administrators who are looking for their next opportunity.

Networking is defined as interacting with people to exchange information and develop contacts. For me, networking includes scheduling morning coffee “dates,” attending events hosted by professional associations like Young Professionals in the Arts or the Emerging Leaders of New York Arts, or volunteering at organizations you’re interested in working for. When it comes to networking, I usually focus on achieving the following objectives: to find out the skills required to be successful in a particular position, to learn more about the company culture, or to get advice from someone in the industry.

Going back to the networking workshop, the first thing I asked was, “what is your dream job?” This helped them answer the follow-up question of “which organizations would you like to work for?” After listing five organizations, I asked them to list three contacts in the industry they’d like to work in and to identify their objectives in meeting them. Finally, I asked them to choose a few networking goals and commit to achieving them before their internship ends. Options included volunteering at an event, scheduling a networking coffee “date,” attending a professional development workshop, and reaching out to their university’s career services department or alumni association. Other goal suggestions that were not specific to networking included subscribing to an industry newsletter or blog, creating your own business cards or personal website, and checking your social media privacy settings (because you know people be looking at your Instagram…).

All of the questions were intended to make networking and the job search seem less daunting. Hopefully it achieved that and hopefully you found this useful! Have any networking tips to share? Please let me know with a comment below or message me at @cecileoreste.

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