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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Networking Works...

Networking Perhaps you have heard the saying "it's not what you know, but who you know." Net-work-ing: v. intr. "To interact or engage in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support." Many people miss out on the importance of networking in order to find a job. Because of the current economy and lack of jobs, networking can be extremely beneficial to the job search.
The following information has been taken from an article in the 2009 Job Choices for Business and Liberal Arts Students: While many of us are familiar with networking through social networking sites, we may be unsure how to best go about networking for a future job. "Networking is not one-sided: it works both ways. You offer assistance to others just as they offer assistance to you. Perhaps the easiest way to think about networking is to see it as an extension of being friendly, outgoing, and active."

Here are 8 tips for creating and keeping a healthy network:

1. Make a list of everyone you know--and people they know--and identify how they could help you gather career information or experience.
Think about who you know at school. Professors, friends, or friends' parents can all be helpful. Have you volunteered? Did you have a part-time job? Participate in an internship? Consider anyone you have come across.

2. Sign up for an alumni mentoring program.
Several colleges offer these programs, and they can be very beneficial for building relationships with people.

3. Join the campus chapter of a professional society that relates to your career choice.
This can instantly be a network for you. Being around others that share your interest and career choice will improve learning in this field. You may be able to learn more about potential employers from others.

4. Volunteer at a local museum, theater, homeless shelter--anywhere that even remotely relates to your field of study.
Volunteering will allow you to learn more about your chosen field and also connect with people in that field.

5. Speak to company representatives at career fairs, even if you are not ready to look for a job.
You may want to tell the employers that you are not currently looking for a job but would like to know more about the company. This interaction, however, can help you when looking for a job later down the road.

6. Attend company information sessions at your college and talk one-on-one to the recruiters who run them.

7. Schedule informational interviews with people who can tell you about their careers.
Meeting with people in person or over the phone is usually best for these types of interviews. It is not a good idea to immediately ask the person what they can do for you. Focusing on how the company works and how the person chose this field would be helpful.

8. Remember to be courteous and tactful in all your conversations, to send thank you notes to people who help you, and to find ways to help others as well.
Do not drop your network once you have gotten a job. Improve the relationships you already have and also look for opportunities to create new connections throughout your career.

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