Launching Your Career in Aging

“It’s all about who you know”

Networking with others in the field is a great way to find your way among seasoned professionals. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “It’s all about who you know”. I wrote about this in an earlier Chicago Bridge blog post, From Student to Professional a Reflection by a New Professional in the Field of Aging. The Chicago Bridge event this month helped to facilitate deeper connections with emerging leaders and seasoned professionals in the aging field.

The Leadership Launch Event

The Leadership Launch Event hosted at the Hallmark on April 21st, 2010 offered students and job hunters an opportunity to expand their network in the field of aging. At the event, students and job hunters spent 5-7 minutes talking with established professionals in the field of aging. The speed networking style was designed to help move people around and make sure that the attendees met as many new faces as possible. There were 35 attendees all together, with a good split in the middle between working professionals,job hunters, and new graduates.

Following Up with Connections

During the speed networking time, attendees were encouraged to get to know all they could about each person and their interest in the field. The attendees were encouraged to follow up with at least 2 of the professionals they met at the event. The follow up helps to establish the connection and develop a relationship with someone new in the field. That follow up provides a great opportunity to set up an informational interview. It also allows students and job hunters to spend more time learning from seasoned professionals’ experiences in the field. A blogger wrote about the method of using LinkedIn to set up informational interviews. This is another great way to expand your network.

Joining Linked In

The Chicago Bridge is a group on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is great because it gives professionals the opportunity to sell themselves, and to grow a network large and vast. Every emerging professional in Chicago should join the Chicago Bridge LinkedIn group. Go to this link to join the Chicago Bridge group on LinkedIn.

Learning How to Network

There are many ways to network, but it does not just mean asking someone in the field if they know of a job. Although that may be the method used by most, networking is an opportunity to establish long term relationships, not only for a job, but for resources, information, and more. When you are in the job market, you may want to network more diligently. This can happen at Chicago Bridge events or at the local American Society on Aging (ASA) Roundtables meetings at Rush University every two months. It could also happen online at LinkedIn or the Chicago Bridge blog. It could be a follow up phone call you make to someone you met at the Leadership Launch Event or the 30 minute informational interview you set up to learn more about that person does and who they know. The most important part of networking is that you do it- get yourself out there with a big smile and an open mind.

Opening Doors

The event was a lot of fun and doors have been opened for the emerging professionals in aging who are interested in launching a career in this field. One attendee said about the event that, “Members discovered each others career aspirations, met established professionals, and improved their resumes all while taking in a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan.” Hallmark Retirement Community- The Chicago Bridge wants to thank the Hallmark Retirement Community for hosting this event. There was wonderful food, wine, and fun. Thanks again to the Hallmark. This post was edited by Bridget Murtha Thanks to Richard-G for keeping his picture open commons!

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