Career Networking

Networking is the most efficient and under-used form of career management. Not only can it provide you with excellent job leads, it is the best way of bouncing ideas off decision makers in your field of choice. It is believed at up to 70% of all new hires found their jobs through networking and not the traditional methods of job search. Career networking is not a request for employment, but a request for relevant information, advice or a favor from a decision maker. It targets a large percentage of jobs that are usually hidden from view. That is, these jobs are in various stages of existences and usually have not been communicated to the public. They are only accessible through the right people and are often created once a suitable candidate successfully networks with the decision maker.

As the word implies, networking begins with meeting people. These people can be acquaintances, friends, family members, neighbors, ex-employers and so on. The best way to setup a meeting with a decision maker is to frame it as an information session rather than an interview. Whether you are doing this in person or online through a career networking service like LinkedIn, the steps and purposes of the information meeting/exchange include: 

Come Prepared. As you walk into your networking meeting, you should be prepared with background information about the person, their company, their competition and the overall industry. Additionally, you should be able to provide them with a clear and concise picture of your chosen career, your background and the options or industry segments your are currently exploring.

Building a Good Rapport. It is essential to be on good terms with people who are relevant to your career search. This can be done by setting a positive atmosphere, taking an interest in them and their organization and relating to them on various levels through common interests or acquaintance.

Communicating Expectations. It is key to let them know that you do not expect to get a job out of this meeting. Instead communicate your desire to learn more about the opportunities and challenges posed by the industry and organization they represent.

Asking Relevant Questions. Follow an orderly methodology of seeking both general and specific information that may be relevant to your career strategy. Start with the industry of interest and gradually focus on the various sub-sectors, companies and the needs and problems within them.

Building your own Job Network

Creating a career contact list for networking.

Effective Networking Strategies

Tips on effective information/networking meetings.

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