The best jobs go to the best job seekers- and often those who are successful in their job search have put their networking skills to good use!
A network is a group of people who can serve as a resources for your job search and ultimately your career. Some great networking contacts might include people you meet at social events, business meetings, job fairs and professional organizations; anyone who can help to provide you with career information and advice can support your personal network!
Be Prepared. Have your 30 Second Commercial and introduction (including a strong handshake and good eye contact) prepared in advance. Determine ahead oftime what information you hope to gain from your contact and ask specific questions.
Be Targeted. You may think to yourself "but I don't know anyone", however if you were to make a list of people you come in contact with on a daily basis - you'd quickly discover you know a lot of people! If you really want to expand the network of people you know, consider joining a club, organization, professional group or community meeting - get involved. You never know who you will meet and who they will know - their contact could lead you to your next job!
Be Professional and Focused. Asking for networking advice or information is not the same as asking for a job! Your networking meetings are a source of information, contacts and advice. Focus on asking for one thing at a time and having a meaningful conversation.
Be Referral-Centered and Proactive. The person you are networking with may refer you to someone else, be prepared to collect business cards, make new contacts and stay up-to-date with job leads, and remember to thank the individuals for their time and information.
Be Patient and Dedicated. Networking often does not provide immediate results, rather it provides you with one more resource you can use within the job search process. Be persistent in following up with your job leads, and stay in touch with the people you meet. Networking should be a part of your long term career plan.
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Self-Study Guide to Social Media