Networking in the U.S.: How and Why?

Networking in the U.S.: How and Why?

Networking is an important part of the American way of life. Those who are wealthy or are visiting America for a vacation will not need a network. But if you are planning to stay in the U.S. for a long duration, and if you are searching for a job or new opportunities, you will find this networking system very useful.

Building a network in America becomes easy if you have one or two contacts to start with. Like anywhere in the world, it is all about whom you know. But in the U.S., the difference is that even if you hardly know anyone at the beginning, you can still manage to create an extensive network for yourself.

You will not only be able to pursue new opportunities this way, but over time, you will be able to do the same for others. In turn, they will also return the favor, opening even more opportunities for you in the future. This is because Americans, as a community, are far more open and welcoming.

There are various community programs designed to ease this form of networking.

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Make a list:

To start with, always narrow down your search to five or six organizations. If you are looking for a job, make a list of the top five companies you want to work for. If you are a student, make a list of the top five colleges you want to attend. If you want to move to a particular state, make a list of the top five localities you want to stay in.

This will give you a starting point for your search. You can then ask specific questions and try to get in touch with people who can help you prepare to get into your preferred company, college, or move to your preferred locality.

Go beyond your regular Google search:

Apart from searching on Google, also follow the local American search options. You can try Craigslist, LinkedIn, and keep in touch with your local community office. They will provide you with pamphlets about various upcoming events.

These community events are free for all to attend, and you will meet many new people there. You will get lists of many places you can visit from here.

Make sure you call each of them back and find out how they suit your goals.

If you are suffering from any kind of mental health issues or physical discomfort, you can find local support groups to help you out in your troubled times.

Make yourself available:

Building contacts in the U.S. is easier than in many foreign countries. This is because the Americans are far less apprehensive about meeting and talking to new people. If they want to speak to you, they will walk up to you, give you a broad smile and a firm handshake, and ask their question.

You have to be forthright when you are in America; you cannot wish to stay invisible. You should ask a mutual acquaintance to introduce you to someone. You should go to parties if an acquaintance asks you to join him or her and meet new people there. Talk about your goals and passions in these events, and you will end up meeting like-minded people.

When you meet someone who you think can help you, call back within the next few days or send an email to solidify the relationship.

Talk more about your achievements:

Being modest in the U.S. will get you nowhere. Americans are passionate about what they do, and the country has always encouraged people to pursue the American dream.

Hence, speak confidently about what you have achieved in life—and no, you will not sound like you are bragging about yourself. Americans love to know what you have done so far in your life. This is especially true if you have shown an interest in working for them or if they feel you have something to offer them.

Make yourself visible so that the others can see your true potential.

Meet people up close:

Because of the very nature of the American way of life, any American will meet several new people in a day. If you do not just want to get lost in the crowd, go for a real, face-to-face meeting.

You should follow up with a new contact and ask to meet them in their office, or you could invite them for coffee, or even a drink. You should make it a point to keep your appointment and always be punctual. Being stood up in America is considered rude, and you do not want to start by forming a wrong impression.

In these meetings, ask pertinent questions about the person’s organization, or anything related to your goal of studying or operating in the U.S. in any other way.

Find a mentor:

One of the best ways of finding good contacts in the U.S. is to locate someone who has already been there and done that. Find a mentor to guide you through the initial process of making contacts and to point out the right avenues of opportunities for you.

If your first language is not English and you want to master the language, then find an ESL teacher. That will definitely help you to communicate and network better. If you want to hone your skills for a particular kind of job, then look for an internship under someone who is an expert in the field.

Once you have proved yourself a good student, your mentor will try to provide further opportunities for you. A point to remember here is that it is not necessary for your mentor to be older than you, a concept widely prevalent in other countries. In the U.S., everyone is very open about a healthy exchange of ideas, so you might be surprised how even someone younger than you could have much to offer in a particular field.

With these simple steps, you will be able to build a strong network in the U.S. and take your next step towards success.

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