Networking is a process that has multiple uses and advantages, such as:
- Obtaining valuable advice and support
- Access to insider information about companies/jobs before advertised
- Connecting with people and cultivating relationships
- Assisting you with navigating the job search process
- Exchanging information, resources and support to create mutually beneficial relationships for personal and professional use
Networking is NOT asking for a job or USING people. Students often hesitate to network because they feel awkward asking for help but it is a very important part of any job search.
It is estimated that 60-80% if jobs available are filled by people who have a connection with the company. One of your most important job search strategies should incorporate making connections with people in your field as well as maintaining connections.
Determine Your Networking Goals
What do you want to accomplish: gain general information, learn about unadvertised jobs, get referrals, cultivate references, enter a new career field, build new skills, etc.
How to Identify People
Networking opportunities can happen intentionally or accidentally. Develop a contact list.
Effective Networking Skills
- Networking is not a sales pitch where you do all the talking
- Develop good listening skills
- Plan an opening question or statement to get the conversation started
- Respect other’s time and resources
- Practice, practice, practice
- Networking is a learned skill!
- Be honest, tactful, ethical
- Networking is not all about “schmoosing”
- It is not about manipulating people to get hired
- Networking is about achieving visibility
- It is not a quick fix- takes time