Monday, February 1, 2010

Job Seeker: What about Networking

Networking is a word used frequently in the working word, but what does it really mean? It could be said it's about making connections and building long lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. But, the best way to understand it is remembering that old cliche; It's not what you know, it's who you know!

Think about it. Everyday businesses are bombarded with emails, advertisements, sales pitches, interviews, phone calls, resumes, and people showing up at the door expecting some face time. What is going to make them want to talk to you or even help you? But if you had an "in"- some way to distinguish you from the rest of the masses...

Networking is your gateway to the ultimate contact list and preview to job openings. It is about building long- term relationships and connections that can help lead you to finding a job. Once you start networking, people established in your desired field will be able to help you meet others as well as vouch for your character and work ethic.

Ever heard of 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon? It;s basically the concept that any actor can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin bacon within six steps. Well, networking is essentially the same thing. It has a continuing effect. For instance, you meet one person who knows 5 people. Those 5 people each know 5 people and so on... every person you build a relationship with has connections. You never know who you know that knows just the right person for you to land that perfect job.

Here is extra information for you networking process:

Internships are a great way to meet people and lead to a larger network.

Career fairs are useful in making connections as well, but you have to make yourself memorable. You need to stand out in the employer's mind. How can you differentiate yourself from the thousands of other people at the job fairs? Be sure to talk to the employers at these events and brings a great attitude and a memorable and professional resume!

Professional organizations can offer connections too.

Remember everyone you know is included in your network- family, relatives, friends, professors, coaches, former bosses, etc.

When trying to build your network, be persistent but not overwhelming.

When contacting people do not call more than once or twice every two weeks and leave brief but professional and polite voicemail. Address the contact by name and be sure to speak slowly and end your message with you phone number TWICE. This gives the contact plenty of time to grab
a writing utensil.

BE PATIENT: Networking takes time. People who have many great contacts have been collecting them for years.

Remember, thank you notes are a great added touch to successful networking. Everyone-- from he company mail room clerk to the CEO-- appreciates a well thought out, hand written thank you note. Let them know you were pleased to meet them, appreciated the conversation you had and look forward to speaking to them or meeting with them again soon. It's short, sweet and to the point without being pushy or over- effusive.

Carly Sabato

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