Networking accounts for a substantial amount of career placements. It means using both professional and personal contacts to help you find employment openings within organizations.
The process of networking is to let people know the following:
- You are actively looking for a job
- Your skills
- What type of career you are seeking
- The people you network with may be able to refer you to organizations that are currently hiring or to get actual interviews or job offers
Who Should You Consider Networking With?
While in college you may believe that you have no contacts you can help you with finding employment. However, everyone you know can be a useful contact in your job search. Consider starting your network with the following:
- Friends & Acquaintances
- Classmates, Team-Mates, & Co-Worker
- Colleagues from Professional Organizations and Religious Groups
- Former Teachers and Faculty
Let these people know your needs and then listen to their ideas and suggestions. Ask them who else might be helpful to you in your search.
Effective networking can be a tremendous boost to a job search, but using inappropriate techniques can cause you to lose valuable opportunities. Make sure you approach people to whom you are referred in a professional and courteous manner. When approached in this fashion, most people are willing to share information because they like to help others and/or they like to stay well connected themselves. When speaking to a contact that you have been referred to, mention the name of the person who referred you early in the conversation.
Develop some sort of method to keep track of each phone call, letter. interview, follow-up and promise. You accomplish this by keeping record or by using a card filing system. Without some sort of system, you may soon become quite confused.
Return the Favor
Remember networking is a two-way street. By developing a network, you are developing a group of people who are willing to help you and that you might have to one day help them in return. Try treating the person to lunch or send them a simple Thank You note to those who have been extremely helpful in your search. When you have accomplished your goal, let them know that you have obtained a position and thank them once again. Then, keep in touch. Your network can be vital to your future professional development.