Networking is key in any job search. We’ve all heard it before, that it’s all about who you know… and we have found this statement to be 100% true. Many organizations don’t post all of their job listings online, so knowing someone on the inside is a great way to learn about openings. Use your network to get your foot in the door and from there is all you.

Here are three tips to remember when networking in Lakeland.

1. If you’re spending all your free time in Tampa, you’re missing networking opportunities. While Tampa is a great city with loads of great restaurants, concerts, and shopping, spending all of your free nights and weekends in Tampa means you’re missing opportunities to network with professionals in Lakeland. A night in downtown Lakeland with a few friends may not seem like a time to network, but you never know who you’ll run into. While employers cannot tell you where to live or what to do in your spare time, knowing that you have an interest in the community and plan to stick around may help you land that job you’ve been hoping for. Many employers don’t want to hire someone who will jump at the first opportunity to move out of town.

2. Start with who you know. Did you grow up in Lakeland or attend college in Lakeland? Start with those connections. Professors, friends, friends parents, even your parents, are all connections that could help you during your job search. Make sure everyone knows you’re looking for a job and what kinds of jobs you’re looking for. You never know what could fall into your lap.

3. Remember, networking can happen anywhere. It might come as a surprise, but networking can and will happen anywhere you go. Whether you’re working out at the gym, grabbing a drink at the Red Door or attending a show at the Lakeland Community Theatre, always be aware that you might meet someone who could be an asset to you and your job hunt. Pretty much any event you attend could turn into a networking opportunity. So always put your best foot forward, dress appropriately and behave as if someone could be watching. You never know when someone may recognize you and take note of your behavior.