- What Is Networking?
- Learning How to Network
- Face-to-Face Networking
- Virtual Networking
- Networking Questions to Ask
What is Networking
- The process of gathering information from a network of contacts to expand your knowledge about a job, career, service and/or geographical area
- The development of a two-way professional support system to help you as you mature as a professional and that will help you to support others, in the future.
Networking Is Not…
- Using people. It involves listening to and helping your contacts, as well as asking for their help with your job or career search.
- Only for people who are well-connected to influencial contacts. In fact, sociologists have found that acquaintances, and often friends of friends, are more likely than family or friends to give individuals the assistance they are seeking.
- Bothering people. Most people are flattered when you ask for information and advice; everyone likes to feel like an expert.
- Asking for a job. The purpose is to gain the information you need to plan your career, choose an industry and help with your job search.
- Only for outgoing, extroverted people. There are skills and strategies that anyone can learn and customize to fit their own comfort level.
Regardless of whether networking takes place face-to-face, by e-mail or phone in the "real world," or through a social networking site in the virtual world, there are some elements that are key to success.
- Making connections with people you know, and people they know, in an organized fashion
- Setting goals
- Developing your people skills
- Creating good marketing tools and habits for your job search
- Keeping track of your contacts
- Good communication skills, including good listening skills
- Offering assistance in return
- Following up and keeping your contacts informed of your progress
Benefits of Networking
- Up to 80% of jobs are found through networking.
- First-hand and current information allows you to learn what happens on the job and knowledge of an industry beyond the understanding provided through course work or other outside research. This is beneficial not only for personal understanding but may make you a more impressive candidate.
- A perspective of work that goes beyond the limitations of job titles, allowing you to see what skills are required for the job and how you might fit into that work setting or industry.
- You craft a network of contacts, along with their own contact network, that may be helpful in the future.
- You may increase your professional image and visibility.