It’s been just over three months since I made the cross-country pilgrimage from our Synergis headquarters in Atlanta to the San Francisco Bay Area. While culling down the initial packing list was one of the hardest decisions of my life (spoiler: my dog and two weeks’ worth of office-appropriate wear made the cut and … not much else), the decision to move to California was one of the clearest choices I’ve ever made. It’ll still be years before I cautiously
count myself on the other side of this region’s learning curve, but each and every day, this area blows away my expectations and then some. I moved here knowing only a handful of friends, including my west coast Synergis colleagues, who happen to be some of the most wonderful and motivated people I’ve ever met. However, in the past few weeks, that list of incredible people has grown to a length that I can’t rightly ignore, or set aside as pure good luck. It’s clear that there is an amazing network of talented creative and tech professionals here in Silicon Valley!
Finding creative and tech career opportunities through events
While networking events have been extremely helpful for me after relocating to a brand new city and state, they also offer great value for any creative or tech professional. People are coming from all sorts of walks of life, experience or years in the game, but everyone is open to being a mentor or mentee. I have gotten tremendous value from my personal networking in various groups. In addition, I’ve found opportunities for me to share some of my own experiences from working at sync and Synergis. I’ve participated in open resume reviews and critiques, and met some amazing people as a result! I’ve also met people who have considerably more professional experience, and they have provided helpful mentoring in multiple key areas. Regardless of our experience levels, everyone I’ve met has been incredibly open to serving dual roles as both a mentor and a mentee. The overall feeling in Silicon Valley is that we all have so much to learn from one another.
These networking events have provided great value for me after my relocation, but attending and participating in networking events — wherever you’re located — can be extremely valuable to anyone looking to expand their network and gain access to great jobs. Here at sync, around 70% of our placements come from referrals. By attending strong events, you can quickly increase the odds of people referring you for great jobs!
There is no shortage of great networking events here in California. I’ve only just started to explore the local creative markets, but as these events have been both incredibly fun and helpful for me, I wanted to quickly highlight some of my favorite events here. I hope that these introductions provide some inspiration for you to check out these (and other!) events to help boost your career prospects:
General Assembly San Francisco provides education and opportunities in technology, business and design. With ongoing classes and workshops on site, plus entertaining and informative one-off workshops and classes, there is truly something for everyone here. General Assembly also throws in great events and mixers to help you meet more like-minded professionals. Here at sync and Synergis, we actively promote continued learning, so I will be taking advantage of even more classes and workshops at General Assembly in the coming months. Even better, General Assembly is a national organization and just opened its Atlanta campus, so you don’t have to be out here on the west coast to take advantage!
Rising Tide Society is a community of creative entrepreneurs, small business CEOs and weekend warriors committed to educating and empowering one another to thrive. A national organization, it just recently launched its local chapter in San Francisco and is looking to make a major impact through its monthly #TuesdaysTogether event. Each month’s event focuses on a different topic or specialty to help all creative professionals find success. By focusing on community over competition, Rising Tide Society fosters a supportive culture that truly aims to make a difference.
Meetup.com is a popular website that connects like-minded people and professionals across the globe. There are literally hundreds of networking groups across a range of disciplines and specialties. Do a quick search to find options that fit your goals, talents and preferences. Best of all, registration on Meetup is free!
Now that you have a starter list of events to attend, these tips can help you get the most value out of your networking:
- Keep an open mind. Identifying the right events and actually attending are obviously some of the most important steps, but simply showing up isn’t enough to help you get the most value from networking events. It’s important to be open-minded — so many events are geared toward a huge range of people. You never know who you might meet at any given event. While you might think one event is geared more toward designers in a certain space, or strategists in another space, avoid ruling out any particular event without giving it a shot first. It’s always good to network or hear what’s going on in the local community or greater digital media world.
- Be prepared. Most networking events are usually extremely welcoming, so you’ll start to recognize a few faces after one or two meetings, but you’ll also have ample opportunity for new introductions. At these types of events, people are so open to starting conversations and introducing you, plus asking about you and your specialties. Even at events that might not have an immediately noticeable impact on your career, there is value in attending to practice things like introducing yourself and telling your story to new groups of people. Be sure to arrive prepared: Bring a stack of business cards and be diligent about collecting them from people you meet. The next day, be sure to send a personal email or note (along with a request to connect on LinkedIn), and add a personal note wherever possible to make a more meaningful connection.
- Get active. Many events will use individual hashtags or have their own social media handles. Reaching out to social handles and using hashtags can help you stand out and also shows some appreciation for event organizers. Snapping a few photos with other attendees at networking events and sharing on Twitter or Instagram along with a thank you note (tagging other attendees whenever appropriate) sends the right message and also keeps you top of mind with your new connections.
I can’t say this enough – referrals and your network are SO important to boosting your career. Through all of our work at sync and Synergis, we take great pride in making real connections with our network. These connections are truly nurtured over time and we value each person as an individual. I’m so proud to be a part of a recruiting community that truly looks out for each individual’s interests while introducing them to new career opportunities. Take that same commitment and apply it to your networking connections. Get out there, attend events and meet new people — then nurture those connections to help you reach your career goals. You’ll be in great shape!