Some people are social butterflies; they don’t just know how to work a room, but where to be and when.
Cities like Washington, D.C. have events going on all the time. Many of them are great opportunities to meet new people, learn, and get free food! But while there are a ton of great events going on, how do you know which ones are going to be the most useful?
Obviously, you can’t be everywhere at once and after a long, busy work week, going to a happy hour can be the last thing on your mind.
Knowing what events are going on and which ones you should prioritize is an important skill. So what resources are available to you?
Do your research and identify which organizations exist in your field and whether they are based in your town/city. If they are, subscribe to their newsletters. Remember that when organizations hold events, they want high attendance. That means they’ll be pushing their events by email.
Don’t worry; I know constant emails can get frustrating. Once you have identified the organizations that are providing useful opportunities, you can unsubscribe from the rest.
Within a few months of moving into a new field, you will discover events through Facebook invites. Even if that is not the case, you will most likely see the events others are going to and decide if they are of interest.
As you meet new people, the number of invitations you receive will increase.
In the early stages, make sure you ‘like’ every organization that interests you and you will be notified of their events. Facebook will even show you event recommendations based on your interests.
You can also follow an organization on Twitter to learn more about their events.
When I’m asked if social media is essential to a person’s career, I say yes. By not having social media you will likely be excluded from events by those who depend on it to organize their affairs.
Most of us have been invited to an event through Eventbrite, or have been forwarded to the site to book tickets. But Eventbrite is also an incredibly useful way to keep in touch with the events happening in your area of interest.
Whether your location is your priority, price, or issue area, Eventbrite is a great way to know what’s going on.
When you go on Eventbrite, you can search by category and location. I recommend searching the “Government” category, which then gives you the chance to see events from Federal, to policy, or party political. Many of these events are career focused.
Friends and Coworkers
I saved the best until last. Word of mouth.
Ultimately, no website is going to know your interests and your ambitions better than your friends and colleagues.
Make it known you want to go to more events and get to know more people in your career area. By doing so, you are far more likely to be invited to events as and when your friends discover them. In many ways, you’ll find you have a team of people searching out good events for you just by the nature of being in a social group.
Make sure you return the favor and invite others to events too, and then people will feel more inclined to assist.
Remember, even if you are an outgoing person who makes connections easily, you still have to put in some work to hunt down events and grow your network within the movement.