Have you ever heard that when it comes to finding a job, it's not what you know, but who you know? This cliché describes the important role that your network plays in a job search. In fact, when it comes to a successful job search, any career service professional will tell you that networking is the #1 method by which people learn about and/or land a job.
Building your network
When your goal is to increase the number of contacts that you have in your network, it's helpful to not view a new contact as simply someone that you want help from in learning about or getting a position. Effective networking is based on relationships that are cultivated so that a mutual exchange of information, advice, and support is given and received. You can network to decide on a career choice, to conduct a job search, for career management, or for business development.
Networking contacts can include:
- Social Circles (friends, family, co-workers, etc.)
- Education (professors, advisors, continuing education seminars, etc.)
- Professional Groups (trade associations, formal networking groups, breakfast clubs)
- Personal & Professional Services (physicians, attorneys, accountants, etc.)
- Multimedia (newsgroups, web sites, personal e-mail address list, authors, etc.)
How to network:
- Create a personal commercial about yourself:
- Who you are in terms of education, work situation, and roles.
- Highlight your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments.
- Explain why you are networking (job leads, information about a career, etc.)
- Speak clearly and enthusiastically.
- Don't speak too fast or too slowly.
- Try to remain poised and relaxed.
- Minimize distracting body language.
Where to Network:
- Networking can include an informal chat, e-mail, a formal appointment, or over telephone:
- One-to-one meetings with networking contacts
- Conferences or conventions
- Training sessions or workshops
- Networking groups
- Social and Community settings
- Using the Telephone and/or E-mail for Networking:
- Have a professional message on your voice mail.
- When leaving a message, speak your name and contact information clearly.
- Use an appropriate e-mail address (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Use proper grammar and verbiage in your e-mail.