Fairfax County job seekers and local employers will soon have a new avenue in which to network.
Starting in October, a Northern Virginia chapter of the Business Executives Networking Group will begin meeting in Oakton.
BENG is a regional nonprofit all-volunteer group of job seekers and business networkers who hold free monthly meetings where members have an opportunity to hone their networking skills, meet peers from various disciplines, share job leads and develop networking opportunities.
According to its website, the group’s aim is to aid those seeking employment with a forum to facilitate job searches and enhance networking skills. Membership is targeted to mid- to senior-level executives from a variety of disciplines, including financial management, information technology, legal, manufacturing, engineering, transportation, logistics, distribution and general management. BENG has chapters in Baltimore, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia, as well as Wilmington, Del.
The new Northern Virginia chapter is being started by Vienna resident Heather Rosen, president of franchise consulting firm FranNet Virginia.
“The Northern Virginia area is ripe for a BENG chapter,” Rosen said. “It’s a region accustomed to networking and has a lot of professionals who are seeking opportunities. The beauty of the BENG model is that it’s efficient, active and produces results,”
Rosen says that at every meeting, which will take place at the Oakton Library, job seekers will get a chance to deliver a two-minute speech, share recent successes and failures, present their networking requests, discuss their job-search questions and any concerns they may be struggling with, and apprise the group of any new searches and leads.
“An important part of the BENG model is that each month members bring the BENG ‘one-pager’ to the meeting,” she said. It’s a one-page document that provides contact information, a background overview and a target company list. The ‘one-pager’ is handed out to the attendees just before making a presentation, thus helping the other attendees provide targeted assistance and advice.”
According to BENG President Peter Frost, networking is a critical job-searching strategy that is often underutilized. “Those in transition can no longer rely on job search engines to fuel their search, they need to continuously build a network and stay connected to that network,” said Frost. “Most new members begin to realize all of the networking contacts they let go during years of secure employment and they’re encouraged to become career networkers.”
According to Frost, region-wide BENG membership is about 1,100 and growing, of which approximately 50 percent are employed, 10 percent are self-employed, and 40 percent are unemployed.
The Northern Virginia chapter will meet the second Tuesday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., starting Oct. 9 at the Oakton Library, 10304 Lynnhaven Place.
Those interested in attending the inaugural Northern Virginia chapter meeting can contact Heather Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about BENG can be found at www.thebeng.org.