By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

Summer is almost here. While many people tend to mentally relax as vacation season approaches, it can be a good time for you to get a leg up on the competition if you use your time wisely.

BBQs, pool parties, outings to the lake, and other activities can all prove to be valuable networking opportunities with the right mindset.

If you are proactive in organizing and finding gatherings you can attend, you will have the chance to meet many new people, possible some who could have an influence on the future of your career.

Use these five tips to establish and build meaningful career connections.

  1. Hold Lunch Meetings On The Patio Or At An Outdoor Restaurant

You are going to eat anyway. It is best to eat with someone who may be able to introduce you to a new contact, or even someone you’re just getting to know.

And while you are at it, do not forget that it is nice outside. Find outdoor restaurants, or restaurants with patios where you can enjoy the nice weather while discussing important matters over a meal.

Many meetings are done over lunch. Introducing the outdoor element can make it more enjoyable for all involved.

  1. Send Invitations To People You Want To Meet

Who are you interested in meeting right now? Is there someone specific you need to contact? A gatekeeper you need to impress?

There are plenty of things happening during the summer – outdoor and sporting events, festivals, exhibitions, and so on.

Why not buy a couple of tickets to an event, and invite someone you would like to get to know to come with you? This can be an informal and relaxed get together. Focus on relationship-building, as the right mentality will help you get better results.

  1. Meet With Other Jobseekers

There is power in numbers. Other executive-level jobseekers have likely done their homework, and have built many connections that could prove valuable to you.

Consider creating an accountability group for the summer.  Have a regular meeting time / place.  Share leads, contacts, market intelligence.

You could look up local Meetup groups, or even organize your own using a service like Eventbrite.

Also, remember to connect with the people you meet via LinkedIn. This simple act can sometimes have a profound impact on your job search, as you may learn about opportunities or organizations you never knew about before.

Agree to help each other, and you may uncover opportunities together, which is ultimately what networking is for.


  1. Volunteer Or Join A Committee

Many organizations make decisions about their future during the summer. Contributing to committees or volunteer programs in a meaningful way can lead to great contacts and potential opportunities. As an executive level person, there is a good chance you can bring considerable value to these situations.

Volunteering or joining a committee will also look good on your resume and help you build your brand.

  1. Attend Charity & Fundraising Events

Find organizations that are making a difference in areas you care about and attend their events. Charity events are no longer strictly black tie affairs and often have an element of fun to them.

Attending fundraising events is a good way to find people who are aligned with your values. The best way to find valuable connections and opportunities is to find people who care about things you care about. This could open the door for future collaboration, or help you find fulfilling work.

Show your face and become known in the community.

Final Thoughts

Enjoy yourself – don’t just focus on networking and finding possible leads. This will make you more relatable to others.

Summer offers great opportunities for you to connect with more people, as many are spending more time outside and at a variety of events. Target relevant gatherings and events that appeal to you and give you fulfillment, as this will make your networking efforts more enjoyable and worthwhile.

Let’s get to work!


If you have questions about your executive career search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected]