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Nugget of wisdom handed down by my friend Octavio Hinojosa, via the comment section of this blog. About two years ago, I was in DC and bumped into an acquaintance at my hotel bar. I ended up having drinks with him and his friends, and that is how Octavio and I met. Octavio has spent most of his career in the political arena, working for over 24 members of Congress. He attributes much of his career success to the monthly happy hours he organized, with the objective of bringing together his social circles of friends and work contacts in DC’s trendiest bars.

Networking events are a good place to meet people, but sometimes they can be a bore. So why not take matters into your own hands and plan your own networking event?

Start by organizing a get together or a dinner party with a small group of friends. To expand the circle, ask them to bring along a friend, preferably someone you don’t know.

Don’t think of it as a networking event and certainly don’t tell your friends that’s what it is. As Octavio puts it:

It’s all about building lasting relationships with individuals who come across your life. Everyone is a door to a future opportunity and, in turn, you are a door of opportunity to everyone.

I know many of you would rather have someone else do the party-planning, but consider covert networking to be the fun part of your job search. By making it a social event, rather than a networking one, you take the pressure off and without even realising it, you will be networking!

Bottom line:  Be more social and expand your circle of friends.