Young professionals: Where do you start?

By: Lauren Goldberg, Special Programs Assistant, The Fund for American Studies 

So you just accepted your first “adult” job and have moved to the city, what is your next move? Disney World?

Nope! The best thing you can do is join a few young professional networks and expand your set of connections. The best approach to finding your way in this city and meet new people is through professional networks.

I just moved to the city and was one of those wide-eyed, overwhelmed, but eager people a couple months ago. I am gradually becoming more accustomed to the city, due to my active approach to expanding my network. Here are a few of my tips:

Ask your coworkers Most of my coworkers have lived and worked in the city for at least 3 years. They were able to give me some great suggestions for networks and organizations to join. Your coworkers are one of your best resources.

Be specific A great way to find networks to join is to look within your field of interest or in a certain subject area. For example, I work at a nonprofit and I am interested in education reform. I found several networks including Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (http://ynpn.org/) and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (www.case.org). Both of the organizations hold events for members that focus on current issues or provide opportunities to network.

Google It I found several organizations utilizing Google.com. Here are a few I found:

www.prosinthecity.com

www.dcyoungpro.com

www.thingstododc.com

These all cater to young professionals. They offer several events, both professional and social, so you can expand your network and have fun!

Connect with Alumni Join your college’s alumni chapter here in DC. Most chapters have events throughout the year, including game-watch parties, social events and happy hours.

The best advice I can offer is to be active. Set goals to meet a certain number of people or attend a certain number of events each month. Make a plan, bring business cards and be yourself!

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