80-85% of jobs in the US are filled through networking and not online job boards, crazy isn’t it?
Networking sounds scary, but if you have ever talked to someone in line at the grocery store, that’s networking!
What is Networking?
The opportunity to build and cultivate business friendships and contacts in academic, social, civic, and professional settings.
Through your network contacts, you can request information interviews, ask for advice in the job search, keep on top of what is happening at specific companies, and most importantly stay current with industry information.
I don't have a Network!
Yes you do. People who are in your network include family, friends, co-workers, classmates, professors, advisors, neighbors, taxi drivers, hair dressers, people in line with you at the store…the list goes on and on!
Where do I network?
Anywhere! At school, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, at work, participating in clubs or activities, attending sporting events, joining professional organizations, attending career fairs, getting involved with your community, talk to your neighbor on the treadmill, at your place of worship, volunteering in an area that holds interest for you, join a book/culture club.
Any time you have a conversation you can be networking!
Ok, I'm talking to someone, now what?
Get a business card or other contact information.
Bring your own business cards and exchange.
Inform contacts what type of job you are looking for. They may ask for a resume to understand your experience more clearly.
Ask contacts if they can provide you with information on other job resources, or connect you with someone who can maintain contact after the initial meeting.
Check in every 2-4 weeks depending on familiarity level.
Follow through on suggestions given, and always follow up with a thank you!
Remember, networking is a two way street. Someone you meet may call you for advice or assistance, which is the nature of professional contacts. Always be professional when talking to people and your professionalism will be remembered.
I see what you’re saying but I still don’t think I have a network!
If you have thought about all the types of people listed above and still don’t think you have a network, complete this following exercise:
On a separate sheet of paper, write down the top 10 companies you would like to work for
Fill out the worksheet with names of people you know from class, work, or just friends
Include friends of friends and people you have met in passing
What companies do these people work for?
Do any of these companies match your top 10 list?
See how easy it is to network?
You can also use this sheet to help you clearly see where people are in your network.
Check out these articles on networking
Video: How to Network :
How to Network: For Introverts
The Ultimate Guide to Networking
5 Myths about Networking for College Students
5 Ways to Make Networking Work for You
Networking for College Students and Recent Graduates: Top 7 Steps you Can Take Now