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What is Networking?

  • Networking is not just contacting everyone you know for a job and asking if they have job openings.
  • Networking is the art of building relationships to exchange information, advice and leads for professional or social purposes.

Why Network?

  • It is cited as the number one way to get a job
  • 80% of jobs are found through networking
  • Many employers hire based on a referral or personal recommendation
  • In a tough economy, connections can be critical

When to Network?

  • Networking should start before a job search and be an ongoing process of maintaining relationships.
  • Networking should be done in both formal and informal settings. For example, you may attend a formal networking event or you may find yourself in an informal situation at a social event where you have the opportunity to discuss your career, your interests or skills.

Identifying Networking Contacts

  • Family, friends and other personal contacts
  • Peers in academic classes and clubs
  • Professors and former teachers
  • Former supervisors and co-workers (jobs & internships)
  • College presentations and networking events
  • Online websites (such as chat rooms , web forums, social networking websites or mailing lists)
  • Professional associations
  • Community service organizations
  • Religious organizations

Networking “How Tos”

  • Treat networking as an exchange of ideas, information and experience.
  • Make networking a two-way street that benefits both persons.
  • Identify the goals you want to achieve in the networking event before you go.
  • Take time to assess your interests and strengths in advance.
  • Prepare and practice a brief introduction that includes your key experiences and skills (your “30 second pitch”).
  • Build rapport and show sincere interest in getting to know others.
  • Listen to others to discover shared interests or common threads.
  • Prepare a resume and references in advance to networking.
  • Maintain a professional image both in person and online.
  • Refer to articles on the rules of “netiquette” and where to network online.
  • Never ask for a job. Always ask for advice, information and contact leads.
  • Follow-up with any commitments you made and maintain periodic communications.
  • Send thank you notes and state how the person helped you.
  • Update your contacts on your status periodically.