-Utilize contacts to obtain career information and/or job opportunities
-Share information and build trust, contacts that are developed and maintained
-A circle of individuals that you return to over and over, it is not going from person to person -Networking begins with having a career direction and a resume that communicates your qualifications and skills. Contacts can only help you if you have some idea about your career—no matter how tentative your plans may be.
-Contacts will only share job leads or new contacts if they trust you or your intentions. You, too, are expected to provide information, advice, and leads to others
Key to Networking
-Begin building it before you need it, so it is in place when you do need it
-Continue to cultivate your network even after you have found a job
-You never know when you might need your contacts or when you can return the favor
How to Network
-You know lots of people— relatives, neighbors, friends, faculty, co-workers, and your classmates. These people are your “primary network”.
-Talk to your primary network about job openings or possible openings and companies that are hiring. One of them may know of a job.
-There is also a “secondary network”. Each of the people you know, knows another group of people. For example, friends and business associates of your parents, employer, friends and co-workers, if your people talked to their people, you would have a lot of people helping you find a job.
-Utilize on-line professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn. Remember, employers can access on-line information, create a professional profile that will stand out in a positive way.
-The informational interview allows you to ask questions and learn more about a career field, company, or industry from someone who has direct experience
-Good way to establish contacts to add to your networking circle
-Most people you contact will be flattered to be asked for assistance and to talk about their organizations and careers. Especially if the interview is approached as information seeking and not job seeking.
-To prepare, research the company and career field you want to learn about and develop a list of relevant questions. Be sure to include some questions about the person you are interviewing. The better your questions are, the more your contact will remember you. Some example questions include:
1. How did you first get your start in this industry?
2. What was your major, and how did it help you in this field?
3. What are the most valued skills in the industry?
4. Is there anything like a “typical day”?
5. Can you outline a general career track for this field?
6. What do you look for in a prospective employee?
7. What advice would you give to someone seeking a career in this industry (or field)?
8. What is the upside and downside to a career in this area?
Join a Professional Organization
-A professional organization is a great way to meet people who are doing what you want to do. You can attend meetings and events that will enhance your professional development and connect you to more people in your chosen field.
-Think how you can shine when you do something for an organization or cause that you are passionate about
-Meet and talk with people with similar interests, a great way to expand your network
After you Network
-Send a thank you note (within 1-2 days of your meeting) to everyone who has been helpful to you. A thank you is the best way to show common courtesy and your appreciation for their time and assistance.
-Share your successes and challenges with these contacts, this will keep them in your network and they will feel a part of your experience.
-Stay in touch with your network to build credibility and rapport. Your contacts will remember you for this.