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 To’s” 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.