5 Don'ts of Networking in a New City

Jan 24, 2013 -
The decision to move to a new city is a difficult and intimidating one. The thought of learning the ropes again and finding a new group of friends in a strange place is scary—but moving to a new city can also open many new doors for you personally and professionally. Whether you move to a new city on a whim, for a spouse or loved one or for new career opportunities, networking is key to acclimating yourself. But going about this can be tricky. Here’s what not to do when networking in a new city:

1. Let your shyness or introverted nature get the best of you

Being friendly and open to new opportunities is essential when networking, especially when you’re in a new city. If you’re generally a shy or introverted person, don’t let this shyness be confused with disinterest or rudeness. It can be a huge turnoff for new professional connections who don’t know you yet. Do try to make conversation and relate with the people you meet. Not every new face is going to be the right connection for you, and that’s okay.

2. Forget to sign up for branches of your professional organizations in your area

And don’t forget to actually attend these meetings, either! Being involved in professional organizations is great for networking in general. But when you’ve moved to a new city, professional organizations can be a smart place to make new friends, too. Most national organizations have several chapters in each state, so take a look at your group’s website to see where the next meeting takes place. Try branching out to new professional organizations, too, especially if you’re moving to a larger city.

3. Hand out your business card to every person you meet

It may seem like a great strategy to hand out your business card to every new contact you meet, but as I mentioned above, not every connection is going to be right for you. Use your business cards meaningfully when networking in a new city. Consider whether there are any business opportunities, professional networking opportunities or common interests with this new connection before handing them your card.

4. Forget your past connections

Networking in a new city is overwhelming, especially if you were well-established in your previous location. Don’t forget to make use of your old job network when moving to a new city; a current connection might know someone in the city they can connect you with. And those friend-of-a-friend connections often prove to be the most fruitful.

5. Say “no” too often

When you’re networking in a new city, it’s so important to say yes when opportunities arise. Even if you’re asked to do something a bit outside your comfort zone, it’s important to explore, meet new people and have new experiences to talk about with city natives. You never know who you might meet along the way. Want more ideas? Try volunteering, signing up for gyms or other recreational activities or following city-specific groups online like Meetups or Twitter chats. What networking strategies did you use when you moved to a new city? Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a platform that helps job seekers find a job via their social networks. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.