Experience has shown that informal networking is a very rich source of job leads and information about unpublished job opportunities.
In fact, it is known as the number one source of job leads. Successful networking requires that you have as many contacts as possible hear your story, so they realize you are in the job market.
To begin developing your network, secure names of specific individuals. These names can be obtained through several avenues:
- Professors, friends, relatives, and former employers – or any professionals these people recommend
- Professional associations
- People in the information business – resource center for directors or librarians, Human Resource directors, public relations officials or public information specialists
- Community service agencies or area chambers of commerce
How can they help you?
Networking is a powerful way of building professional relationships. For example, you have over 30 people in your primary network, and you ask all of them for employment advice. Those 30 people each know 30 people in their primary networks, think about all of the people who would be helping you with your job search.
Career experts suggest that 90% of job interviews occur as a result of networking.
- Networking means establishing professional contacts, and that involves follow-ups on the searcher’s part. Do not rely on the contact
- Think of everyone you know and meet as a networking prospect (grocery store line, doctor, classmates, etc)
- Be genuine, confident, positive, and enthusiastic in all of your networking communications (even when you are frustrated)
- Keep your interactions brief and to the point
- Tell your contact that you are researching different types of opportunities within the _____________ industry and you would like to meet with them for 20-30 minutes (informational interview)
- If they say yes, set a time to meet with them face to face. Consult with your contact in order to learn about the industry, their education/training, and their professional experiences. Be willing to receive advice regarding the job search process
- If they say no, ask them if you may forward your resume to receive feedback. Include a cover letter reminding them of your brief conversation
- If they say that now is not a good time, ask them when a good time is, and circle the date on your calendar with a note to yourself
- Send thank you notes within 24 hours to everyone who has assisted you. Update them once a month of your current job status and recent field-related projects by sending a brief email. This will help them remember you if they hear of a job opportunity
- Be organized. Keep careful records of whom you have contacted and details about the conversation. Create a database to help you. *Source: National Association of Colleges & Employers .
|ADFED – The Pittsburgh Advertising Federation|
|PUMP – Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project|
|PYP – Pittsburgh Young Professionals|
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