It’s summertime and while students everywhere are settling in for a break, adults are getting ready to do some of the greatest networking of the year. With all the potential summer networking events like barbecues, baseball games, parades, festivals and everything else you’ll set on your calendar, you’d best prepare to meet new people and create new opportunities. Career wise, summer is your chance to advance!

Companies generally spend the summer winding down because many people experience what we call “vacation-brain.” Kids are out of school and people usually take vacation leave and spend the rest of their waking time thinking, planning and dreaming about their time away from work. People are generally in a good mood, too, due to the perceived break, and are primed to be positive with conversations.

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to have a summer networking events plan in place when it comes to networking. So, we’ve gathered eight hot tips to help you in your endeavors.

1. Know the situation

With any social meetup, it’s good to know what you’re walking into, so you can have a plan in place. Make sure that you’re dressed appropriately for the summer networking events you’re attending because you don’t want to show up to a pool party in a pantsuit, but you also don’t want to end up at a fancy dinner in a swimsuit. Know who’s going to be there and who you’ll want to meet. If the event is outside, especially in the sweltering Texas heat, be prepared with ways to stay cool and hydrated.

2. Utilize social media as much as possible

Use your social media accounts to their fullest. Networking is made so much easier now with social media platforms like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. The point is to get yourself noticed in a positive light and to keep that spotlight on you. Use the resources that have readily been given to you. Besides, socializing online makes it a lot easier to keep cool in the summer heat, than say, heading to an outdoor event.

3. Keep business cards handy

No matter where you are, you should have at least a couple business cards stashed in your bag. And if you don’t have a business card, perhaps it’s time to get some. Remember to keep them professional, yet unforgettable.

4. Host your own summer networking events

Nothing says innovative and daring like hosting your own summer networking events. It’s a great way to meet new people and expand your horizons. Use Facebook, Linkedin or other websites to send out the invites, make new contacts and show off your planning skills. Whether it’s a poolside party or a picnic in the park, planning an event of any kind takes work, and you will be recognized for that work.

5. Volunteer

Summer is a great time to join a charity or volunteer your time with a non-profit organization. You’ll make new contacts, showcase your talents, learn about new industries and give back to your community. Plus, you’ll feel really awesome about it and it’s something you can incorporate into your resume! Volunteering is a great gateway to networking with people you might not have met otherwise. You can’t really go wrong with a volunteer opportunity. Find a local charity or volunteer opportunity here!

6. Join a meetup or networking group

Summers often have an abundance of clubs and social groups that you can join. Find something you’re interested in and join in! Joining a Meetup or a new networking group is a great way to find other people that share your same interest. Networking doesn’t have to be all business meetings and conference rooms, after all. Sometimes the best opportunities come from a gardening club or a bowling tournament. Pick what suits your fancy and dive in! Also, when you’re ready, you can start your own networking or meetup group – how fun is that?!

7. Be open to change

Don’t be afraid to venture out and look outside your industry. Talk with people that may be on a completely different career path. Everyone knows someone who knows someone, after all, and making a friend outside of your company could lead you to better possibilities within it if they know the right people. Having an outside source to talk to, one who isn’t involved with any of your work issues can help you in ways you wouldn’t believe anyway, as a fresh outlook is always good to have on hand.

8. Be positive

Networking doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes, nothing comes from a summer filled with social engagements, and sometimes everything seems to go wrong. The key is to stay positive and keep a sunny disposition. Be your best every day, and even if your career isn’t advancing the way you want, chances are you’ve made some wonderful friends anyway.

Networking is the key to advancing in your career, and the summer is the prime time to do so. Remember to stay cool, be social and make the decisions that will make you happy. After all, it is the summer season and chances are, you’ve got something to be excited about!

It’s summer – are you feeling and looking fabulous? This is the BEST time to come in and have your professional headshot taken – or, if you’ve had one taken before, get yours updated! Book your spot with us today!