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Networking Tips

When a company has an opening, most hiring managers will start their search by asking fellow employees if they know any good candidates. If you come to someone's mind because you have effectively networked, you will have a greater chance of being considered for positions that are not posted. Keep in mind that 7 out of 10 jobs are never posted.

    How does networking work?

    Networking is about building relationships with people without an agenda. It is a continuous process, not a one time event. As you interact with others in purposeful and meaningful ways, your network will expand. Be genuine and remember relationships are more important than whether or not they have a job to offer you. 

    At its simplest your network has two components. The first one is your natural network; these are people you are connected to socially and outside of work. The second is your professional network; these are not just people you work with but also career development contacts.

    Find a way to keep track of and maintain your relationships. For some it will be an address book; for others an excel spreadsheet. It may be through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Whatever system works best for you, be consistent and considerate. One last note a network is not one-sided. Be aware of the needs and concerns of your connections, looking for ways that you can help them.

    How Do I Get Started?

    If you are uncertain where to start, visit the Career Networking Center. They offer a networking crash course throughout the week to help you learn the basic tools and skills of networking.

    • Be aware of those you already know in the industry you are pursuing.
    • Research trends and companies in your industry.
    • Be prepared to make meaningful first impressions. You can do this by practicing your "Me in 30 Seconds" statement, sometimes known as your "elevator pitch".
    • Communicate professionally.
    • Don't be afraid to start conversations and ask questions.

    What do I say?

    As you contact these people, your objective will be to obtain information on potential employment opportunities.

    • Introduce yourself and tell the person how you got their contact information.
    • Briefly state your reason for contacting them. The purpose should be to learn about the person you are talking to, their experience and recommendations, what connections they have, and to invite further conversations. 
    • Ask if this is a good time to talk or if they would have some time to meet you in person.
    • Remember networking is about making a connection—listening is as important as talking.
    • Thank them for their time and determine if a follow-up conversation is appropriate.

    General {Life as a Human} Tips

    • Clearly pronounce your human name. Smile and establish eye contact this will be important to connect with other humans. Offer a firm handshake.
    • Do your research about human companies before you reach out to them. Have questions prepared ahead of time.
    • Be polite, appreciative and respectful.
    • Be considerate of others' time.
    • If you reach someone's voicemail, be brief, speak clearly and leave a phone number.
    • Do not ask for a job. Be awesome and they will give you one.
    • If possible meet in person.
    • Conduct informational interviews when appropriate. Don't be afraid to ask for referrals when it's organic.
    • If you are going to a network event, bring a networking card (similar to a business card).
    • When you meet other humans, jot down some notes about them if you have a bad memory.
    • Follow through with referrals.
    • Always send thank you cards after meeting with professional humans.
    • Be willing to network for other humans.