How to Start Networking

How to Start Networking

Networking Quick Facts

  • 60% – 90% of jobs in today’s market are found through networking.
  • Networking will assist you in locating un-advertised jobs (50 – 70%).
  • It will lessen your job search time by turning personal contacts into job interviews.

What is networking?
Networking is the process of linking people, through in-person meetings in business and/or social settings, to people who can provide information about job openings, leads, and company contacts who have the power to hire. It is an informal and personal job search strategy.

Who do you network with?
Anyone and everyone you come in contact with. Create your own “Network List” by starting with the people you see regularly and build from there. Your goal is to generate as many leads as possible. The more contacts you have, the better your chances of finding a job. Friends, Family, Neighbors, Classmates, Professors, Alumni, Former Employers, Former Co-workers, Coaches, College Career Office, Club Members, Internet Chat Room Buddies, Lawyer, Accountant, Professional Associations

Preparing to network.
It is important that your contacts understand your goals, so before contacting anyone on your network list, prepare a “script” that describes:

  • who you are
  • what type of position you are looking for
  • what you have accomplished (relevant education, training, skills and experience)

Remember you are selling yourself! Keep it short and to the point.

Contacting your network list.
You may contact leads by phone, email or letter. Calling a contact typically shows better results since it is more personal. You should ask your contact for an informational interview (20-30 minutes). Come prepared with a list of networking questions such as:

  • What experience, education or training do you need to be successful?
  • How should I customize my resume or cover letter to get noticed?
  • How should I prepare for a job interview in this field?
  • What is the typical career progression for someone coming in at my level?
  • What is the typical salary range for people with my experience in this profession?
  • What professional associations or publications would be useful to me in my job search?
  • What future trends do you see happening in this industry?
  • Can you describe the work environment and what you find challenging and rewarding in this industry?
  • Can you recommend other professionals I should contact?
  • What is the hiring process?

Supply your network contact with a copy of your resume. They can refer to it to ensure they are familiar with your background as they assist you in marketing your qualifications to others.

Follow-up.
Follow-up is essential to effective networking. After speaking with someone about job leads, send them a note or letter thanking them for their time and advice. Keep in touch with your contacts (every 2-3 weeks) and update them on your progress. Persistence is important.