The Big Apple is full of big opportunities for those who want to make professional connections in NYC — but where’s an ambitious individual to start when there are so many different options? Whether you already have a job or not, every professional should keep making connections, learning from others in the field, and gaining notoriety in his or her profession. So here are our top tips to help you hit the ground running if you’re moving to New York City: the how, the where, and the what’s what of professional networking in New York City.
Look for online networking opportunities
Websites like MeetUp, LinkedIn, and Eventbrite have a plethora of listings that are mostly available to the interested public. A good search will bring up both generalized events as well as networking opportunities that are specific to your career path and interests — and EventBrite also offers listings for workshops, conferences, and other non-networking-specific events that might prove to be just as fertile of a meeting ground. NetParty.com also has an extensive network of young professionals who attend their more socially-oriented events in the city, so if you prefer a cocktail with your business cards, these socials are a must.
Attend some of these in-person events
Be Social Change has created a network of professionals who are dedicated to “empowering people from all sectors and industries to build purpose-driven careers, business and lives” with year-round classes, networking events, panel discussions, and peer mentorship opportunities. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or have built your career in corporate, BSC can help you align yourself with a purpose-driven community of people.
The Freelancers’ Union in Manhattan not only offers affordable coworking space for entrepreneurs, writers, and the like, but they host a wide range of “pop-up classes” to help you stay active, educated, and socially connected to all the other freelancers who are usually hiding behind their laptops and headphones. Try a yoga class, get a crash course in tax preparation, or get insider tips on protecting yourself against client nonpayment. All the while, you can take advantage and meet some of the many other freelancers and entrepreneurs around.
Networking for Professionals (NFP) hosts events in major cities around the country, including New York — check out their High Speed! Networking events, or toast to new connections at their Shakers and Stirrers gatherings. Their events aren’t free, but for the entry fee you generally get appetizers or hors d’oeuvres as well as some excellent company.
Winner of the Top 100 Small Business Influencers’ Award in Leadership, The NYC Business Networking Group has over 16k members in their MeetUp group and hosts networking events that regularly sell out. Membership to the group itself is free, and with sponsors footing most of the bill for their events, the fee for the monthly gatherings is fairly minimal. Expect to be introduced to some of the leaders in the business world from a variety of sectors and given plenty of opportunities to connect and market yourself and your business.
New York Tech Meetup is the place to be for techies from all industries. Their monthly demo nights attract up to 800 folks, many of whom stick around for the afterparty, and the nonprofit hosts a slew of other events throughout the month — so you’re bound to find something that works for your niche.
Frequent one of these popular watering holes to rub elbows with the influentials
The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel is a trendy spot right in Midtown, where you’re just as likely to see a celebrity as you are to bump into an entrepreneur. It’s a great place to grab a networking drink or set up shop with your laptop and some Stumptown Coffee, and if you’re feeling like striking up a conversation with a stranger, you just never know who you’ll meet.
If you’re looking for a more casual and relaxed bar in the upscale Meatpacking District, home of Google’s New York offices, look no further than the Gaslight Lounge. You can get everything here from a classy cocktail to a slice of pizza, and with multiple lounges and a dance club, you can rub elbows with New York’s finest in whatever setting you choose.
Sweet and Vicious might not quite accurately describe the vibe at this Nolita bar, which is a hot spot for online entrepreneurs and biz folks. It has hosted the Obliterati Internet Week party for three years running and is known for being a new media hub.
Whether you’re looking for a new job or just looking to make some good connections, relocating to New York City provides ample opportunity to network in just about every way imaginable… so have fun with it.