Q: I have recently relocated to the USA after getting married, and have lost most of my educational, professional and most personal networks. I’ve started playing some team sports locally and also engaged in some professional development, but I was interested in advice to build out my network, specifically in the accounting industry.
A: Welcome to the US and congratulations on your recent marriage! You are smart to begin thinking about establishing contacts here. A few suggestions:
• Use your spouse! Your spouse could be a very good conduit to new contacts – personally and professionally!
• You mention education. Research your educational institutions. My bet is that they have alumni associations or networking events in the Massachusetts area.
• There are many professional associations that you should research. Here are a few worth your consideration: The American Accounting Association (www.aaahq.org), The Massachusetts Association of Public Accountants (www.mapaweb.org) and the National Society of Accountants (www.nsacct.org).
• Use LinkedIn. If you don’t have a profile, establish one. Your former contacts may have valuable contacts here in the US that could be very helpful in developing a strong network of contacts locally. LinkedIn also offers a number of subgroups that could be very helpful on both job leads, current events and networking opportunities.
• Learn about MeetUp groups (www.meetup.com). There are groups in the Boston area who meet regularly to discuss topics that range from Quickbooks to sled dogs. If you have a personal interest (like team sports), this may be a good way to broaden those contacts.
• Never say no to an introduction. Even if it at first it doesn’t seem to make sense, that introduction may lead to other helpful connections.
• Get to know your neighbors and your community. Coffee shops, houses of worship and even outdoor summer concerts in your town or city can offer opportunities to meet and connect with others.
With time, you will find that your personal and professional contacts will develop and expand. And someday you will take the extra time to welcome a newcomer to the area.