Networking consists of connecting with a wide variety of people who may be able to help you with your job search and career planning needs.  You'll be able to discover how your skills and experiences relate to your chosen profession, practice your interviewing skills, increase your visibility in the field, and hopefully discover hidden opportunities.  Do you think networking means that you'll be imposing on others?   Don't worry... most people will be happy to do something for you, if asked. 

Some people think they don't have a network other than family and a couple of close friends.  Of course, family and friends are important, but there are ways to expand your network:

  • Conduct informational interviews
  • Find a professional association and get involved (conferences, mailing lists)
  • Volunteer in your community (you may be surprised who you meet)
  • Take a professional development night course to meet others in the same field
  • Attend career fairs and if you're a student, other campus recruitment activities
  • Contact past teachers and professors from your university or college
  • Join athletic, community and other social groups

Networking is a two-way street; you should be helping others as well as asking for help.  Keep your network active even when you find the job you want, in order to stay prepared for your next career move.  Be sincere, keep your contacts informed of your progress and always remember to thank them for their assistance.

You might think: "I don't have time to network!" Nonsense.  You can't afford not to network.   Remember: approximately 80 percent of the opportunities available at any given time are not advertised.  Do you really want to limit your work search to the same 20 percent of job ads that everyone else is applying to?

Additional Resources:

Looking for a good book on networking to read? Look for:

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