Next up in our best networking events series is Philadelphia. Here’s a list of where to meet the types of people who will help you take your career to that next level.
In case you haven’t heard the buzz, Philadelphia is gaining a ton of recognition lately as a hotbed for innovation, startups, jobs and more. In other words, for young professionals entering the workforce or looking for cool opportunities, Philly’s the place to be.
Named one of the top 20 happiest cities for young professionals by Forbes and CareerBliss.com, there’s no shortage of worthwhile groups to join and networking events to attend here in the city of brotherly love.
Get out your calendar! Here are nine can’t-miss networking events in Philadelphia.
1. Philly Tech Week
Save the date for a magically techy week here in Philadelphia every April. Philly Tech Week, hosted by Technical.ly Philly, brings together thousands of people for more than 140 events in the span of one week. With different tracks including media, development, civic, business, access and creative, you’re sure to find at least one event to pique your interest. Plus, you can play Tetris on the side of one of Philadelphia’s largest skyscrapers (seriously). Technical.ly Philly also puts on their own regular networking events year-round, so be sure to stay tuned to their site for details.
2. Philadelphia After Work
With more than 500,000 members in 42 locations throughout the country, Philadelphia After Work is part of the popular national group Networking After Work. With upcoming summer events from at some of the city’s hottest bars, come grab a drink and enjoy a relaxed, casual setting for networking with some of Philly’s top business minds. Upon your arrival, you’ll receive a color-coded name tag by industry, so you can easily find those you might have a connection with. Philadelphia After Work meets monthly from 6-9 p.m.
3. Young Professional Network Philly
Chambers of Commerces are usually a good place to start when looking for great networking opportunities, and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is no exception. With a super active Young Professional Network (YPN), this niche group of the Chamber offers networking events, educational seminars (they recently hosted one on personal branding), volunteer opportunities and more.
4. Social Media Club Philadelphia
With monthly-ish happy hours, Social Media Club Philadelphia is your go-to group for the latest chatter on all things social media. Bonus: this organization has a pretty active and interesting Facebook group filled with daily commentary on the latest social media tips and trends.
5. Philly Geek Awards
The ultimate geeky networking event is the annual Philly Geek Awards, put on by Geekadelphia, which honors Philly’s vibrant geek scene at the most perfect venue possible: the Academy of Natural Sciences. Philly’s brightest minds come together for this black tie affair complete with cocktails, delicious food and a night of honoring some of the coolest geeky things happening in the city. Rub elbows with the winners of awards like scientist of the year, startup of the year, comic creator of the year and more. The 2015 awards are coming up on August 16.
6. Philadelphia TechBreakfast
Networking events aren’t just for after hours! Start your day right with a networking event over breakfast every month at Drexel University with like-minded techies, startups and businesses. Modeled after existing TechBreakfasts all over the country, this group meets monthly to demo the latest technologies with a “show and tell” approach to networking. No more boring PowerPoint presentations here!
7. Startup Grind Philadelphia
A global startup community designed to “educate, inspire and connect entrepreneurs,” Startup Grind came to Philadelphia in 2013 and has been hosting insightful monthly events ever since. Hosted each month, network with fellow entrepreneurs and hear from some of the area’s most prominent startups, fireside chat style. While you’re there, get a glimpse at one of Philadelphia’s unique coworking spaces, as all of Startup Grind’s events are hosted at Benjamin’s Desk.
8. Philly Ad Club YP Third Thursday Networking Happy Hour
Gather together with some of Philly’s most creative minds each third Thursday of the month for a casual networking happy hour with the young professionals subset of the Philly Ad Club. If you work in advertising, marketing or communications, this group is for you. Plus, you’ll get to make the rounds of some of the city’s coolest bars and event spaces.
Love watching TED talks on YouTube? Watch them in real life at the all-day event put on by an independent not-for-profit group each year in Philadelphia. Last year’s theme was “The New Workshop of the World” and the event sold out well before the much-anticipated date. Speakers ranged from a high school junior to the CEO of a Philly hospital to a Project Runway winner, giving attendees a wide variety of inspiring and insightful content throughout the conference. A date hasn’t been set for 2015, but watch their website so you can snag a ticket before they’re all gone.
Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional and freelance writer in the Philadelphia area. Her work has been published on Ragan’s PR Daily, Muck Rack, Brazen Careerist, Mediabistro, Business Insider and AOL Jobs. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com about getting gutsy- stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy.