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Networking is a phenomenon known all over the world but it is especially well-established in the United States. Whether you are looking for a job, trying to develop your own business, or seeking to grow the client base for your employing company you will not get too far without networking.

Recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Labor indicate that 70 percent of all jobs are found in United States through networking. If you ask any entrepreneur in the USA he/she will confirm that about 90% of clients are found through networking too. This makes sense because you are more likely to do business with or employ a person who was recommended to you by someone you trust, i.e. someone from your “networkâ€, rather than take a risk of dealing with a stranger.

The concept of networking is simple: you build your network by meeting new people and trying to help them wherever you can, hoping that what goes around comes around. You should not expect every person you helped to assist you and that the desired result will be achieved immediately. It takes time to develop a network, build trust and only then will you be able to capitalize on your relationships.

In the United States there are a lot of organizations that help people with networking. Some of these are local clubs, others are nationwide organizations that have a chapter in every major American city. All of these organizations can be classified by:

  • Purpose: there are organizations assisting those in career transition, entrepreneurs or social networks.
  • Target audience: there are numerous organizations devoted to various age groups, ethnic groups, international communities, minorities, professional groups, etc.

Therefore everybody can find a group that will answer their own specific needs.

The majority of these organizations are non-for-profit but most of the time at least a small donation is required from a participant: some groups have free membership and paid events, other groups have paid membership but most of the events are free of charge. Many of the organizations not only offer standard networking events but a lot of extras: opportunities to sit on committees, participate in narrow interest groups, free newsletters, trainings, seminars and much more.

Networking itself takes two forms: facilitated and free. At a facilitated event everyone around the table is given 2-3 minutes to introduce themselves, make a request, pass around resumes, business cards, etc. Free networking offers you an opportunity to move around the room and talk to whomever you want as much as you want. The former type of networking is usually easier for beginners.

The Legal Alien’s Guide: Building a Career and Life in Chicago, Illinois

In my book “Legal Alien’s Guide. Chicago, IL. USAâ€, published in 2007, I put together a comprehensive list of numerous networking organizations active in Chicago, Illinois and nationwide together with the description of their purpose, target audience, structure and types of events and all the extras they offer. The information was collected from various sources: newspapers, Internet and various networks. This Guide will hopefully help everyone to choose a place to network, find a job, clients, colleagues or friends.

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