Networking - Introduction
Everyone has heard the term networking. Perhaps the word is overused, or has become so cliché that its meaning has little value. One thing’s clear, it remains underrated as an effective tool in the job search process. Knowing what the word means is useless unless it is experienced by putting it into practice. Richard Bolles in “What Color Is Your Parachute?” states that at least 40 people out of 100 secure their job through some form of networking. It is the most effective way to gain employment. Remember, networking applies in all areas of life. Therefore, it can be tailored to fit your needs at any time – references for applying to graduate school, someone to get advice from on investing, someone to repair your car, and of course a contact for a career transition. Practice networking until it becomes a natural part of the way you interact with others. You never know when or how it will prove beneficial in the future. Here are some quick tips on networking:
- Networking, just like any aspect of the job search, is self-promotion.
- Know what you want and what you have to offer including the appropriate Self-Assessment. Write it out and learn it so that becomes a natural part of your networking conversation.
- Think of everyone you know and everyone you meet as a networking prospect – and as someone who can assist you if needed.
- Be genuine, confident, positive, and enthusiastic in all your networking communications.
- When you approach a contact, know what questions you want to ask and decide in advance how to ask them. Do you want to know more about that person’s field or career path? Are you trying to learn about the requirements for a posted opening?
- When you’re calling a “cold contact” or are going to conduct an” informational interview,” write down what you’d like to say on a card or piece of paper and keep it handy in case you get nervous and forget your “lines.”
- Ask your contact if you may forward your resume to him or her and, if the contact says yes, send it promptly along with a cover letter referring to your conversation.
- Before you end a conversation with a “cold contact,” make sure you have the correct spelling of his or her name, the correct job title, mailing and e-mail addresses, and fax and telephone numbers.
- Keep your networking conversation brief, and always thank the contact for Be organized. Keep a careful record of whom you’ve contacted and what was said in the conversation. Keep adding to your list of contacts.
- Send thank-you notes to everyone who has assisted you.