Expat 101 – how to network if you’re new in town

expat 101 new in townMoving to a new country or a new city can be an incredibly daunting prospect. Suddenly you’re placed in an unfamiliar environment, unsure of how things work, and feeling like an outsider.

Whatever your career or profession, when you arrive in a new city the best starting point is to focus on building your networks – meeting people, talking with people, connecting with people – not only will this help feel more at home in your adopted city, but as you build your social and professional networks you will quickly get to grips with who are the key people in your industry, what are the trends and developments you need to be aware of, and how to make the most of opportunities that you identify along the way.

It’s easy to say “start by networking”, but when you’ve just arrived in a new city, it may not be obvious on how to actually go about networking. Whether it’s business or social networks that you’re looking to build, you want to avoid wasting time on low-value activities and quickly find the networks that will give you the most bang for your buck.

Here’s a few tips to get you started:

1. Get social. Most likely you’ve moved to your new city to further your career and your prospects in the business world. But it’s important to have balance in your life and often social networks can also be fertile ground for business contacts as well as new friends. Team sports are a great way to quickly get to know a group of people who share similar interests; alternatively running clubs are a good way to meet people and get to know your new city at the same time; or if you’d be more comfortable with something less sporty then why not look for a movie club or a book group, or maybe take up a cooking class – something that brings you into contact with other people who you share an interest with.

2. Get busy. All cities will have a range of professional or business networks all claiming to be the answer to all of your networking needs. One of the challenges that this presents is that it’s difficult to determine whether they’re any good until you’ve invested (or wasted) your time on them. Try and look for an event platform that allows you to narrow your search as much as possible – services such as Pickevent enable you to search all of the available events in your area and find the best match to what you’re looking for.

3. Get clever. Make the most out of every networking opportunity – whether it’s business or social. Research who’s going to be there – who would it be most beneficial to meet and spend time with? Collect contact details. Follow up – send a quick email, invite people to meet for coffee. Use social media to remain connected with the people that you meet.

Moving to a new city is hard, but by focusing your energy and activity on effective networking then you can make that move a little easier and start to quickly build a strong foundation from which to grow your career.