It doesn’t matter what phase of your career you are in, networking is crucial to achieve your personal and professional goals. Building a network full of diverse people and different industries could serve you no matter what your goal. There are two areas that people often forget about their alumni network and associations.

Talking to alumni

There is a bond that alumni share. Usually, talking to alum is an easy conversation to have because no matter what your major was there was an experience on campus that everyone has shared. For example, freshman orientation or even that one core business class that everyone had to take with that specific instructor. Using your alumni groups to network is a great way to meet people from different companies and industries and to build relationships that will help you along your career or personal path.  

Associations as a guide

If there is a certain industry you are interested in learning about and want to build a network look no further than your local associations. A simple Google search of associations in your area should guide you to the place you want to be. Here are some associations that might benefit your quest for networking: the Public Relations Society of America, for public relations professionals; the American Marketing Association, for marketing professionals; the Society of Human Resource Managers, for HR professional; the Society of Association Executives, for Association Executives.

If you have an advanced degree and want to network with minorities you could look at: the National Association of Women MBAs, Prospanica or the National Black MBA Association.

There are many more associations out there. Find the niche that works for you and get out there and build your network. Chances are there is someone out there that has walked in your same path and would be delighted to help you along the way.