Networking helps you to learn about careers and industries and uncover hidden internship and job opportunities. Read on to learn more about this important step in your career and job search!
What is Networking?
Networking is communication: networking involves meeting and interacting with others, exchanging ideas, advice, leads, suggestions, referrals and in general, gathering information. Networking is being a good listener. People love to talk about themselves. It is not asking various people you meet for a job!
Why Should You Network?
- To gather information, learn about market trends, and possibly discover existing job opportunities
- To gain exposure in the job market
- To compile more names and referrals to expand your network
How To Network
Begin networking by asking questions of the people you meet including "Are you working?"; "How did you find your job?"; "What sort of company do you work for?"; "How do you like your job?"; "What exactly do you do?" and so on.
You will be amazed what you will learn about industries, specific companies and types of jobs. It will broaden your vision and give you a much needed survey of the workplace that will help you make intelligent choices. It will stimulate your creativity and lead to referrals.
For a detailed description of the types of questions you should be asking your networking contact, see Informational Interviewing.
Knowing who you are, your strengths and capabilities, is the first step to a successful self-marketing campaign. Networking requires that you "sell" other people on your skills, abilities and accomplishments. Be able to respond to "Tell Me About Yourself" in a short, coherent, interesting narrative that will be delivered calmly and confidently. Networking can be accomplished in person, over the telephone, via e-mail and other on line communication, and by writing letters.
Who To Network With
The obvious question is how do you develop networking sources? You start by preparing lists of names of people you know in various segments of your every day life...college, work, home, social, church, clubs and organizations. By doing this your list will grow and you will find you know more people than you think.
There are ways of adding to your list, too. Ask the people you already know for some other names they can refer to you. Impress upon them that you are not going to ask for a job...you just want to communicate. Join community organizations, meet new people and make new contacts. Very often the job offer will come from a source you least expect. Finally, seek out and become part of a small networking group that meets periodically.
When developing your sources of networking, begin by using the COACH Program. Then consider your entire circle of relationships, exclude no one.
- Clubs and Organizations
- Community Relationships
- Religious Organizations
- Fitness Trainers
- Insurance Agents
- Supervisors (current and former)
- Advisors, Deans, Coaches
- Alumni Events
Every industry has a trade newspaper or journal and a trade association. This is the creative way of finding leads and ideas of which companies to research and approach. There is also a directory...called S.R.A. (State and Regional Associations) that provides a listing of all trade associations by category and city.
Bernardo's List - view lists of networking events accross the country.