4 ways to get to know people in a field you’re brand new to

Whether you’re trying to establish yourself in a new industry or at a company you’ve been eyeing (but where you don’t know anyone), never fear: There is hope.

Here are a few ways to get the ball rolling.

Be selective

Sujan Patel, author and co-founder of growth marketing agency Web Profits, writes in Inc. about how you should be “making sure you’re connecting with the right people.”

“There’s a place for broad networking, but you also need to invest in approaching people who can help you (now or in the future). That doesn’t just mean potential clients, though. Connecting with prospective customers, for example, could give you valuable insight when you’re planning your next product or service,” Patel writes.

Get the lay of the land

After writing about how you should do your homework on things like the who’s who in your industry when you move to a new place, Heather R. Morgan, an economist and the founder of SalesFolk, continues in Forbes:

“Read popular news sources and blogs in your industry, and start compiling a list of influencers and leaders in the space. If you’re brand-new to an industry, I recommend blocking out an hour or two every day for reading, at least in the beginning. You’ll quickly start to learn who to watch and who to ignore,” she writes.

Build your personal brand

Dorie Clark, a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, writes in the Harvard Business Review about how to make the connections you need when you don’t know the right people, as explored in her book Entrepreneurial You.

One of her tips is to “create content to attract the right people to you.”

When establishing her marketing strategy consulting business in back in 2006, she developed a strategy to make industry connections with leaders she didn’t know yet, but who could potentially employ her.

“I realized that instead of going to them, I’d have to attract them to me. I began blogging frequently for publications like HBR and Forbes, ensuring that my target audience became familiar with my ideas and, over time, recognized my name. It’s not a quick-hit strategy – indeed, it took between 2-3 years for me to start receiving a significant amount of inbound inquiries for speaking or consulting engagements as a result of my writing. But thanks to the lingering imprint of high-end publications in search engine results, it’s an effective strategy that compounds over time,” Clark writes.

Use LinkedIn to get closer to that company you love

Career strategist, recruiter, and author Jenny Foss of career blog JobJenny.com writes in The Muse about doing this — she shows how even if you currently don’t have a “2nd degree connection” with someone at a company you like on the platform yet, you can aim for a “group connection.”

“This is a magical way to get in touch with people you’ve not yet met. If you have no 1st or 2nd degree connections, find someone working for the company of interest, preferably someone who appears to work in the same department (would-be peers are excellent choices for this approach). Now, scroll to the bottom of her profile and check out her Groups. If you are already both members of a Group, terrific. If not, join one of the same Groups she’s in. … Why? Because when you share a Group affiliation through LinkedIn, you can contact fellow members directly,” Foss writes.