Networking For Work

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Your job search strategy must be multi-faceted: searching the want ads, checking the websites of targeted employers, and surfing for on-line postings. Even so, sending a resume and waiting isn’t as effective as it once was. Numbers of applicants have exploded with the ease of internet applications, not to mention the economic crisis. To shorten your job search, you must also look for opportunities in the “hidden job market.” Experts estimate that perhaps 85% of jobs are never posted anywhere; you seriously impede your return to work if you ignore this job search strategy. Networking is one of the methods to access the hidden job market.

Defining Networking

Networking means getting to know the people with whom you interact, keeping their needs in mind so that you can connect them with information, or with people who can address their needs, and along the way, getting a few connections yourself. Think establishing rapport and developing synergy (synergy is defined as working together for mutual advantage). Once reserved for professionals, networking is an undeniably valuable career-management skill applicable to all.

What Networking is Not

Networking is not simply “asking.” If you approach networking as a means to an end, for example, landing a new position, or to fulfill your needs only, you are not likely to succeed in the long term.

What Networking Is

Set aside self-serving ideas: networking is more about service to others. Networking is about exposing your humanness; it’s about caring, connecting, and making a difference.

Working Your Networking

The act of networking can be straightforward and practical . You give information, help, and perhaps advice, and you receive the same in return. To illustrate this concept, a few career-related networking ideas follow.

1. Make sure you get a new acquaintance’s business card. Jot down the person’s interests or challenges. And then see if you can send the person a periodic article that is of interest. Or alert the contact of a speaker, a new book, or a study program that would be of benefit. Establish rapport.

2. Recognize the people who do something nice for you with a simple, hand-written note of thanks. Or with an email that specifically states why what they did was amazing. Cultivate relationships.

3. When you find yourself downsized, laid off, or otherwise displaced, alert your network to your situation. Share the type of position that you’re looking for, and a one-page snapshot of what you have to offer. Realize synergy.

This is a very short version of a complex topic. Networking is an altruistic, relationship-building lifestyle. It builds professional relationships that allow both sides to prosper. Its benefits go far beyond landing a new job. Rapport, relationships, synergy. More on networking in next week’s Careers Weekly.