Networking Techniques

Networking isn't a quick fix to the next job. It's part of life. In any job search process, successful networking can make all the difference!

Networking involves gathering a list of contacts that might be able to help you with your job-hunting process and contacting them to publicize your availability. Networking begins with people you already know and expands into an interrelated web of contacts by means of introduction to others.

Why is Networking So Important?

Networking is the best way to tap into the hidden job market, an immense underground marketplace in which jobs open up and then are filled through word of mouth and personal referrals. The majority of jobs are filled that way because it saves employers time and recruiting fees, not to mention that most employers would prefer to hire a known quantity. Skillful networking reveals positions that have not yet been posted and discloses jobs that will never be advertised in the classifieds. Networking can get your foot in the door before a position is available. When the job opens up—if you've established a relationship with the hiring manager—he or she will remember you before looking at the faceless resumes from Human Resources.

Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time or switching jobs mid-career, it pays to sharpen your networking skills to cultivate a network of contacts that can continue to yield benefits throughout your career.

Two Kinds of Networking

Despite the emphasis placed on it, networking remains one of the most misunderstood dimensions of the job search process. An important distinction exists between two different types of networking: the type of networking that focuses on finding a specific hidden job and the informational interviewing approach that emphasizes learning more about a career. In the former, you are publicizing your availability and seeking potential job leads. In the latter you are gathering information and advice about careers before you decide to pursue them.

Your networking strategy should include making new contacts, conducting informational interviews, and developing and maintaining contacts. Networking is a powerful way of building professional relationships. There are two basic goals to networking: greater visibility and increased information.

The Do's and Don'ts of Networking