NETWORKING 101: Take A Minute to Learn the Art of Networking

 

How many times have you heard the expression: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?

Well the age old expression comes from the basic premise that Networking is key to landing a solid career!
 

When asked the best way for someone to break into a given career, the typical response deals with an old friend or family member, ex boyfriend, or co-worker who graciously passed an opportunity along.

Knowing someone who knows someone is undoubtedly central to success. So learning the tools necessary to land a list of contacts who are working in the fields we are pursuing  is very important.

NETWORK,  NETWORK, NETWORK! 

What does it mean?

Normally when people think of networking, it’s all about business cards and shaking hands…and though that is true, networking is not a mere exchange of business cards at a career fair nor is it begging for jobs from people you barely know. The WASHINGTON POST defines networking as, “building relationships on the basis of trust that involves a give and take.” 

More simply put, networking means reaching out to people you already know AND forming new connections with various professionals.

Why is it important to network?

As my high school counselor famously said: Networking is not optional…  Networking is not optional!!

And she was correct. Networking is not optional… anymore… it is crucial to reaching success in any field.

In today’s workforce finding a job is not as simple as attending a job fair or sending out a killer resume. The job market is VERY competitive  and people who know people in the right positions are going to get jobs.

It is possible to get entry level positions by going through the normal application process, but very often when it comes to landing higher level positions, having an inside contact will make all the difference.

Ways to Start

One very simple way of networking is developing a professional online presence through sites like LinkedIn,SimplyHired, or any other career recruitment website. Social media provides a space for you to showcase your experiences/accomplishments with potential employers without meeting face to face.

{Although some websites may advertise job recruitment, be aware of which sites you are giving personal information to}

#DoYourReseach

Before applying to any job posting/internship/career fair/program look up as much information as you can on the company or organization. You should be familiar with companies that peak your interest and answer basic questions like: What are they about?  What is their mission? Were they recently in the news?  How can you impact this company in a positive way?

#BringMaterials

Once you do land an interview or meeting with a potential employer, be sure to have the necessary materials…think about it as your CAREER UTILITY BELT. 

 

Have business cards printed with your information as well as hard copies of your resume and cover letters handy in case employers ask.
For more on networking, check out the Networking 101 advice from the Washington Post. Also look at GradtoGreat.com’s “15 Ways to Make a Good Impression at Formal Events” for more tips!

NOW LET THE NETWORKING BEGIN…

 

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