Check out the 5-Minute Career Clips (online workshops) at the bottom of this page for brief step-by-step guides to informal and formal networking.
Make It Count!
Before you make that contact or attend a networking event, be
sure that you're practiced and confident in your networking skills.
Know yourself: your competencies and relevant skills.
Know what you want: which industry or career area interests you.
Why Network? Three compelling reasons:
1. Most job opportunities ( 70% ) are uncovered through networking:
...more than through the 'want ads', or company websites, or even online job-listing sites. Although you'll want to use all these channels in your job search - your time is best invested in networking and developing personal connections through your growing network.
2. Most job hunters don't know enough about the jobs they are pursuing:
Networking to gather this information enables you to better articulate why you are a good 'fit' for the job ...and this makes you a more competitive candidate.
3. Hiring is risky and expensive for employers.
If you are referred to the employer through someone they know and trust, then you're a 'safer bet' and a more attractive candidate.
Networking Does Not Mean Asking For a Job!
Networking is an essential part of your job search strategy, but asking directly for a job is not
effective networking. This is true for a number of reasons:
1. To ask directly will likely be off-putting to your contact who might feel 'put on the spot'. Unless the
person knows you, why would she be willing to risk her reputation by referring you to a job lead? On the
other hand, nearly everyone is willing to share information and advice with you. Ask for, and learn from,
the information and advice offered you - and if the contact is impressed with you and your conversation,
and if she does know of a job lead, she may then be inclined to share that lead with you.
2. If you ask directly for a job and if the answer to your question is 'no', then the conversation becomes
a dead end. This misses the opportunity to create a connection with the person or to gain other referrals
to other potential contacts.
3. Limiting your networking connections to only those contacts whom you think may have job leads for
you, severely limits the number of connections you can make, and hampers your ability to gain important information and advice about the industry, field or company that you are researching.
Your Two Goals for Networking:
- Gather 'insider' career information and advice from people who work in the career area or company
that you've targeted as your interest
- Gain referrals (connections) to other people who can also provide this career advice and information
Before You Start:
To network effectively, you'll need to be prepared and comfortable for both types of networking: the
informal networking conversation, and the planned networking interview.
The Informal Networking Conversation happens in any social setting (family gatherings, weddings, college reunions, hobby groups, etc) or any business gathering (conferences, business meetings, etc) where you might be asked the question "What do you do?". For these informal situations, be ready with
your prepared 'Elevator Speech'. Don't leave home without it!
The planned Networking Interview is a scheduled brief conversation (by phone or in person) that you have requested of a target contact - in which you ask questions you have prepared in order to gather information from the contact about his career field, industry, job or company. For the Networking Interview (aka the Informational Interview), you will need a concise 'script' for how to talk about yourself and a prepared set of questions that you wish to ask.
More 'How To' Information
Check out these 5-Minute Career Clips for 'how to' networking tips. Relevant to all career stages, whether you are a new entry to the job market, or a mid-career professional making a job change.
CLICK HERE for tips on how to develop & use your Elevator Speech.
Get a helpful template to use in crafting your Elevator Speech; and
see how the Elevator Speech works and how to incorporate it into
the normal flow of a conversation.