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Landing your dream job is all about who you know. That’s why it’s so important to build a strong professional network. The more people you know in your industry, the better your chances of finding the right job for you. There are great job opportunities everywhere, but you need to be in the right place at the right time to find them.

So how can you go about trying to meet the right people? When you do meet them and what should you say? Here are a few tips that will help you to expand your professional network and introduce yourself to potential employers.

1. Attend Social Events and Mingle

As long as you’re searching for a job, you want to be out mingling with people whenever you can. Even if it’s just an informal gathering of people and not related to networking at all, you never know who you’re going to meet. Many people connect with strangers during daily errand runs, but what if you followed through with these connections? The woman that pet your dog could be your next employer and that man that chatted with you about the weather in line for a coffee could know the HR manager for your dream employer.

Spend some time at coffee shops, attend a local market or pop-up event, take a weekend walk on the Beltline or volunteer at a food drive. Try to make casual conversation with the people that you meet at the dog park or even at the grocery store. Most people don’t want to talk about work when they aren’t working, but if you approach someone with a smile and some friendly banter, the conversation may naturally flow into talk of work. If the stranger doesn’t offer any professional context but you connect well with them, you can still ask for their contact information and plan a time to get coffee.

Effective networking is all about being friendly and open to connections with anyone that you meet. While you have your professional advancement at the forefront of your mind, it is also important to be humble and genuine to make a real connection. Don’t just ask for things before you can offer something in return, even if it’s simply a three-dollar coffee or friendly conversation.

2. Let Your Personal Network Know You’re Seeking a New Position

It can be difficult to be open with people in your life, especially when it makes you vulnerable, but when you’re looking for a position, you want to let everyone in your life know. This way, if someone hears of something you would be a good fit for, they will let know you about a job opening that fits your skills.

It’s easy to write off family members or close friends from your personal network when you are seeking a job because you may think that if they knew about an opportunity in your career field they would have already told you. However, it may be uncomfortable for them to bring it up if you haven’t been open about your job search or they may have just forgotten about the connection. By simply asking a former co-worker, friend, or family member if they have any career advice or know a career field employer in your industry, you may secure a beneficial lead.

Read more: How to Format References on a Resume

3. Alumni Networking Events can be a Great Resource

If you attended college, your school will likely have an alumni network. They will typically host events for you and your fellow graduates. These alumni events can be a great way to meet people and rekindle old connections with classmates from college. Getting together with fellow alumni–particularly from your major or department–can be a great way to discover new opportunities.

Whatever industry you are in, there are likely many professional organizations that would be helpful to join. Not only is this a great way to expand your network, but you can actually learn new skills that are relevant to your industry, meet mentors, further your own knowledge, and be the first to know of career opportunities in your field.

Read more: Habits of Highly Effective Job Seekers

4. Connect with People on Social Media Sites

LinkedIn is a great place to connect with people and expand your job search network. You don’t want to just reach out to people when you need something, however. Post interesting content relevant to your industry, and interact with other people who post content relevant to your industry. There are also a ton of social network groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that are relevant to your profession and offer job listings or networking tips.

Don’t be afraid to like and comment on others’ posts when you find them interesting or insightful. Reach out to some people in your contact lists to connect over a common passion or ask a question about their work.

These are just a few ways you can expand your network and build professional relationships. When you are looking for a new job, it’s a good time to let your inner extrovert out and try to be as friendly and approachable as possible.

Staffing agencies can be an advantageous resource for you to make beneficial connections and meaningful relationships with professionals who will help you on your career path. firstPRO has an impressive network of career-minded people in the Accounting & Finance, Information Technology, and Supply Chain & Engineering industries. Read more about our Recruitment Services.

Contact Us today to be matched with a recruiter.

Read more: How to Ace a Staffing Agency Interview