New Year, New Job—7 Chicago Networking Groups to Help Get You Going

It's not what you know, it's who you know (and, yeah, what you know, too)

New Year’s resolutions aren’t limited to getting bikini-ready. Many people resolve to make a career move. The timing is right, too, since lots of companies start hiring a bunch in the beginning of the year. But so much of it comes down to who you know. With that in mind, we’ve listed seven of Chicago’s best networking groups below. Get your handshake ready.


1871 chicago networking organziations

Best for Digital Entrepreneurs: 1871 

Part tech incubator, part coworking space, part events organizer, 1871 is a fixture of the Chicago start-up scene. If you’re an aspiring business owner, start by checking out upcoming events. Who knows? Maybe you’ll wind up organizing your own one day.

Best for Tracking Down Start-up Jobs: Built in Chicago

Not everyone wants to run a start-up. Some just want to work for one. Built in Chicago posts news and job openings at local start-ups. It also hosts regular cocktail hours and panels, which can be a great way to get a taste of the fast-paced start-up life.

soho house creative chicago networking organizations

Best for Super-Social Creatives: Soho House Chicago

Easily the most glam of the clubs on our list, Soho House not only gets you entrée into an elite group of creatives, but it also offers a rooftop pool (um, hello). Beyond that, the $1,000-and-up annual membership includes regular programs and events, such as film screenings and artist talks. Did we mention there’s a pool?

Best for Finding a Mentor: Professional Women’s Club of Chicago

Tired of the old boys’ club? Join this awesome girls’ club of corporate executives, self-employed consultants and artists. Membership starts at $185 and gets you the usual luncheons, panels and network directory, but it’s the mentoring program (where you can give or receive guidance) that’s the real draw.

ivy connect chicago networking organizations

Best for Inspired Collaborations: IVY

The IVY mission “is to trigger transformative ideas and collaborations that lead to unprecedented human unity, progress, and fulfillment.” Wondering what’s in it for you? For $1,000 to $2,000 a year, you’ll gain access to curriculum and events on topics ranging from social impact to entrepreneurship, access to a global network and all the schmoozing you can handle.

Best for “Glengarry Glen Ross” Types: American Club Association

For about $400 a year plus event fees, you can join this exclusive association that gathers together professionals in sales and marketing, technology, human resources and leadership. Even if you’re not looking for a job, it can still be a great place to find sales leads or recruit new team members.

cima chicago networking organizations
Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA)

Best for Marketing Professionals: CIMA

Membership in the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association will get you networking opportunities with industry leaders, résumé advice and insider resources. It will also get you discounted tickets to the annual booze cruise. And who doesn’t love that?

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amanda nyren

Writer, yogi, mom to about a dozen houseplants

A lifelong Chicago resident, Amanda started covering the local scene for PureWow in 2016. She's a freelance writer and content strategist.