By Eric Pye, CPA Alberta Career Advisor
You hear it all the time, the buzzword of buzzwords: “Networking.” In business development? Gotta network. Looking for a promotion, or want to get placed on a special project? Put on your networking shoes! Interested in joining a board? Yup, networking again. And job seeking? You guessed it—you’d better be networking.
Funnily enough, most people are happy willing to network when they’re in transition, but “go dark” at other times. And why is that funny? Because the coffees and chats and conferences and lunches and updates between transitions is what keeps your network warm, engaged, and growing organically so that when you really need it, it’s there waiting to spring into action for you.
One of the networking problems cited by many is how random it can be. When you attend an event, you never know who you’re going to meet or whether you’ll have anything in common, personally or from a business perspective. Participating in an interest-based or profession-specific group is one way to reduce the hit-and-miss aspect of networking.
For Alberta CPAs, becoming involved in your local chapter and attending events is a great way to maintain and grow your professional network. You are automatically a member of your local chapter, and attending the chapter lunches, mixers and night-outs can have multiple benefits, including:
- Reconnecting: Chances are you’ll run into ex-classmates, ex-colleagues and ex-clients. Renewing old ties is a great way to both grow and maintain your network.
- Growing your network: You’re almost guaranteed to meet some new people. You’ll hit it off with some, and not with others. For those with whom you share some chemistry, follow up with a coffee meeting, connect on LinkedIn, or both.
- Taking the pulse of the nation: Whoever you’re chatting with, you have an opportunity to learn about their department, company or industry, about trends, about needs and wants, and a myriad of other topics.
- Learning: Many Chapter events include a speaker. Presentations could be on anything, including strategy, leadership, economics, the political landscape or technical accounting topics. No matter what, you’ll leave with new knowledge and insights.
- Earning PD hours: When there’s a speaker, and if you learn something new, you get verifiable PD credits.
- Having great food: Whether lunch, dinner or buffet snacks, your tummy will thank you for attending.
CPA Alberta has active chapters in Calgary, Edmonton, Central Alberta (Red Deer), and Grand Prairie. There are even chapters outside Canada! To learn about upcoming events in our area, check the Chapter Events page on the CPA Alberta website.
Looking for networking tips for your first Chapter meeting? Take a look at this article for strategies and tactics for meeting and mingling at a networking event.