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Career Development Center
Career Development Center
Career Development Center

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:
  1. Who you are in terms of education, work situation, and roles.
  2. Highlight your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments.
  3. Explain why you are networking (job leads, information about a career, etc.)
  • Establish rapport:
  1. Speak clearly and enthusiastically.
  2. Don't speak too fast or too slowly.
  3. Try to remain poised and relaxed.
  4. Minimize distracting body language.
  5. Smile!

Where to Network:

  • Networking can include an informal chat, e-mail, a formal appointment, or over telephone:
  1. One-to-one meetings with networking contacts
  2. Conferences or conventions
  3. Training sessions or workshops
  4. Networking groups
  5. Social and Community settings
  • Using the Telephone and/or E-mail for Networking:
  1. Have a professional message on your voice mail.
  2. When leaving a message, speak your name and contact information clearly.
  3. Use an appropriate e-mail address (e.g., firstlastname@mail.com).
  4. Use proper grammar and verbiage in your e-mail.