How to get ahead in business without really trying? Be strategic about how you invest your precious time and energy. Skip the events that seem like too much of a heavy lift and gravitate instead to work-related affairs that seem like you’ll have fun, learn something or at least burn a few calories. See the surprising ways the modern careerist is swapping networking cocktail hour for inventive new activities.
7 Ways to Boost Your Career Without Uttering the Word ‘Networking’
Join a Co-Working Space
Feeling isolated as a freelancer or fledgling entrepreneur? Join a co-working space such as WeWork, Cross Campus or NeueHouse and meet writers, lawyers, accountants, start-ups, designers, software developers and many more without really trying, aka over chitchat near the shared kombucha tap.
Join a Girl Gang
Don’t call this Los Angeles-based club a networking group. The XX Project is way less serious and more inspirational than that, thanks to its friendly dynamo founder Michelle Edgar, a 30-something talent agent and philanthropist who turned her informal monthly meet-ups of friends into a way to inspire female business success. Past events have included a SoulCycle class followed by a panel discussion (with smoothies!) of women wellness entrepreneurs, and coming up next is an entertainment exec primer led by legendary producer Suzanne De Passe. (Annual membership is $300.)
Follow Your Digital Guru
The internet is full of good advice. You just have to opt in. Like a tough-love style of encouragement? Watch the YouTube videos of Gary Vaynerchuk (note: his company, VaynerX, owns PureWow). Want to learn the secrets of women entrepreneurs? Follow angel investor Ali Brown on Twitter. Want to feast on eye candy served with a side of how-to-hustle? Follow Real Housewife and Skinnygirl founder Bethenny Frankel on Instagram.
Check Out an Online Mentor or Career Coach
Now, thanks to technology, you can get all the encouragement, suggestions and assignments to take you to the next level via a career coach with the Better Up app. Or try logging in to LinkedIn, which now matches you with a mentor for free. Want to make a more major change? Learn how to start your own business with a career coach. That’s the term for the relatively new combo shrink/mentor you can hire to help guide you to baller success/happiness/both. See if you have chemistry with the roster at the International Coaches Federation and the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches, being sure to ask them about their fields of expertise, how long their client relationships last (it’s usually six months to a year) and fee schedule.
Expand Your Skill Set
Think you might want to make a 180-degree turn, career-wise? Or maybe you’d simply like to stop faking it and actually understand your colleagues’ jargon. Both are possible through online classes at the UCLA Extension, where top-tier academics teach real-world skills in more than 200 certificate programs, including burgeoning fields like marketing, data science, sustainability and entrepreneurship. Just want to learn a specific skill? Check out the wide range of how-to courses at Lynda.
Update Your Résumé
A few tweaks (mostly cosmetic) to your one-pager can be a serious game changer. From adding a link to your LinkedIn profile to color coding key words, here’s how to become more hirable in ten minutes or less.
Find Someone Else a New Job
Feel unmotivated to take your career to the next level? Step back from that enervating anxiety and look for a job for someone else. Who knows? Linking up your college roommate with your dentist’s daughter can lead to new opportunities for you in a way you never really thought about. And sure, it sounds a lot like networking. But it’s so much easier if you take the specific goal in mind out of the game.