Networking 101

October 30, 2018

Networking 1

Networking is communicating with people, making connections and sharing information. Value comes from using shared interests to develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. Networking relationships are built over time and these contacts will be there to help you in the future.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MY CAREER?

If you understand networking and you’re prepared to invest the time it takes to put an effective networking strategy together, it is probably the most powerful tool you can use to market yourself, build a professional network and reputation and find hidden work opportunities.

SHARING INFORMATION

Networking provides you with information, advice, support, resources, leads and referrals. Your contacts can provide insights in to careers and industries to help with your decision making and career path. Remember you are giving as well as receiving information. Some of the most effective networkers are people who take time to communicate with people about what they’re doing and share the same interests. This 2‐way communication opens up opportunities and raises awareness through tapping in to the information sources of others. Often when you articulate your own strengths and desires to others it helps you to gain clarity and define your goals. Networking can help you research new career prospects and industries, trends and current issues.

FINDING WORK THROUGH NETWORKS

Employers often prefer to employ someone recommended by a person they know and trust which means a large percentage of job vacancies get filled by word of mouth contacts rather than formal advertising. To tap into this significant ‘hidden job market’ you need to network, starting with your personal contacts. Fostering relationships allows you opportunity to let people know you are available for particular work and to position yourself to take advantage of employment opportunities. After all nobody knows you’re job‐hunting or thinking of changing jobs if you don’t tell them.

HOW DO I NETWORK?

Your success is dependent on how hard you work at networking and for many of you it means moving out of your comfort zone. However, the more you do it, the more confidence you will gain. Many people also feel that they don’t have much of a network, hence the need to work on one as soon as you can.


1. USING CONTACTS YOU ALREADY HAVE:
Talk to everyone you know including family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances, previous employers and colleagues, people you play sport with, local business people, the family solicitor or accountant.


2. MAKING NEW CONTACTS

✔️ Share your time through voluntary work and get involved with civic, social, religious or sporting organisations which can open many new doors, not only bringing you into contact with different groups of people, but also provide practical work experience.

✔️ Determine what activities such as seminars, courses, career expos and conferences are coming up in the next few months where the people you want to connect with are likely to attend and go to them.

✔️ Think laterally about where to find network contacts.

✔️ Join a professional organisation related to your field. The
meetings or other events are good opportunities for you to network.

✔️ Conduct information interviews, as this is a very effective technique in networking.
3. SOCIAL NETWORKING It is making contact through the internet. You can use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

WHO TO NETWORK WITH:

*Influential people you know
*Volunteer activities
*Sports clubs
*Family and friends
*Employees
*Student organisations
*Clubs
*Neighbours and acquaintances
*Professional Associations and contacts
*Classroom colleagues
*Presenters
*Church groups

SOME GENERAL TIPS:

✔️ Talk with people in your network about the kind of job you want.
✔️ Follow up leads by writing to or calling the person your contact suggests to do an informational interview.
✔️ Always follow up a referral with a phone call or a thank you letter. People like to feel their time is appreciated. Keep your contact informed of your progress and usefulness of their referrals.

✔️ You need to give your time too, helping people in your areas of expertise or giving of your time joining community groups, clubs and other groups
✔️ Be patient and don’t expect immediate results from networking events that you attend.
✔️ In NZ, it is not considered rude to approach people with whom you have not been formally introduced.
✔️ Watch people who have wide networks. What do they do? What do you see them doing that you could do too?
✔️ Discussion groups in your field can help you start an ongoing conversation.

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