There are so many choices in Las Vegas for food, entertainment, and people to meet that it can sometimes feel like you’re drowning in options — and when it comes to your career, you might well be getting lost in the sea of like-minded go-getters.

Las Vegas is a thriving city for young professionals right now: it ranked in the top 20 cities for happiest young workers, and it’s seen an influx of driven, diverse young professionals in the past few years, lured by the booming economy and not-too-competitive (for now) job market.

We’ve all heard about the importance of networking in landing the job you want, but if you’re new to Vegas you likely won’t have many friends, family, or colleagues readily available to help you land the job of your dreams or advance in your career. That’s where networking comes in.

A social city at its roots, it’s no surprise that Las Vegas boasts countless networking opportunities. If you’re considering a move to Vegas, new to the city, or just looking to refresh your networking skills, here are a few ways to find relevant opportunities in Las Vegas.

Discover Your Local Chamber

Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned Las Vegas professional, your local Chamber of Commerce is a goldmine for networking. The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce has programs and events that cover everything from customer service skills development to specialized trade shows to business awards. Their calendar is typically packed and worth a look if you’re wondering where to start.

Join an Association

If you’re a young professional, you won’t want to ignore the chamber’s young professionals association. Vegas Young Professionals (VYP) has 1,900 members between the ages of 21 and 39 and it’s a free, easy, and fun way to meet people your age who are looking to further their careers and can give you career advice and insight. With VYP’s broad membership, partners, and sponsors, you’ll be able to access some valuable networking opportunities.

Head to a Conference

While costlier than VYP, industry-specific conferences are worth the investment because they offer a huge number of networking opportunities, all in one place, in a relatively short amount of time. LeadsCon, for example, is a conference that offers unparalleled opportunities for marketing professionals to spend three days rubbing shoulders with 3,000 of their peers and learning from industry experts who share critical inside knowledge of the industry.

Work 9 to 5, Network 5 to 9

If you don’t have the budget for a conference or if you already missed on on this year’s big to-do, why not hit up the smaller, more frequent opportunities in the city? Network After Work is a national face-to-face networking organization that hosts local events in Vegas. VYP also has a ton of after-work options for networking. Even if you’re not looking for a new job at the moment, it never hurts to make those connections now. You never know when you’ll need them — or they’ll need you!

Build Your Leadership Skills

If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to network organically or find the confidence to take on leadership roles. If this sounds like you, consider joining VYP’s Toastmasters club; it meets twice a month and helps members develop their communication and leadership skills, as well as build confidence.

The chamber also offers a couple different leadership training programs worth considering if you’d like to advance your career and make an impact on your community. While these training opportunities can help you in your current role, they’re also a great place to meet other driven young professionals and more experienced role models.

Get to Know Your Coworkers

Don’t discount the value of your existing coworkers in your networking endeavors. Whether you’re chatting over the watercooler or asking your boss if there’s anything extra you can do to help out, engagement and investment pay off. And if you’re intimidated by how smart and successful your colleagues seem, remember: there’s plenty of room for everyone to flourish in Vegas’ busy market.

Use Social Media

Last but not least, if you have Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, use them! Chances are high you still have some connections from your college days or from old jobs, and those connections could turn into valuable job leads. Share your accomplishments, engage with others’ posts, and generally keep one ear to the digital ground. If someone you know starts working for a company you admire, reach out and congratulate them! After all, that’s what social media is for — connecting.

At the end of the day, while the Las Vegas job market isn’t as viciously competitive as that of many similarly sized cities, it’s critical that young professionals learn how to stand out from the crowd and make connections early on. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new blood or if you’ve been living in Vegas for a decade, whether you’re gainfully employed or actively looking for work — you never know what might change and networking is a way to expand your options for the long-term, but you have to make that initial investment.

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