NETWORKING

Posted by RAMA MELOW | 2:01 AM | | 0 comments »

Networking is a key process in job seeking, job keeping, and position
advancement. In the future it will be necessary to give greater attention to this process as
competition for good jobs becomes keener and advancement opportunities become fewer.
More and more, individuals must learn to develop and use networks of contacts if they
are to best achieve their goals and career potential.
Sixty to Ninety percent of jobs are found informally -- mainly through friends,
relatives, and direct contacts. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 63.4 percent of
all workers use informal job finding methods.



Networking is both a technique and a process centered on specific goals. As such,
it involves purposeful development of relations with others by connecting and interacting
with other individuals through prospecting, networking, and informational interviewing.
Its purpose is to exchange information and to acquire advice and referrals that will assist
you in promoting your ultimate job search goal: getting job interviews and offers.
Through the process of networking you build, expand, and activate your contacts.
The basic tasks of a job search are fairly simple. Once you have figured out what
kind of work you want to do, you need to know which employers might have such jobs
and then make contact with the hiring authority. These tasks are also known as
researching the job market and generating leads and interviews. Networking, or
developing your personal contacts, is a great technique for finding out about market and
industrial trends and is unsurpassed as a way to generate leads and interviews.
Networking is nothing more than asking the people you already know to help you
find out about the job market and meet the people who are actually doing the hiring.
Mark S. Granovetter, a Harvard sociologist, reported to Forbes magazine that
"informal contacts" account for almost 75 percent of all successful job searches. Agencies
find about nine percent of new jobs for professional and technical people, and ads yield
another ten percent or so.
Simply defined, networking means meeting with people to exchange information.
Some people use networking to find a new job or increase their business, some use it to
help improve their professional and personal skills, and others simply want to develop a
supportive cast of new acquaintances.
Networking means developing and maintaining relationships with others. It
involves staying in touch with people to keep track of new ideas, services, or job
openings. Networking is most effective when done with persistence over a period of time.
And when it works, networking leads you from one contact to another. By all accepted
measures, networking is the single best way to uncover promising job leads.
Don't hesitate to talk to friends, acquaintances, and neighbors about your job
search. In reality, you are asking for advice, not charity. Most of the people you contact
will be willing to help you, if only you will tell them how. You probably know more
people than you think. The key to making progress is to start asking the right people for
the right kind of assistance.
The most difficult part of any job search is getting started. You will want to
maintain a calendar or engagement diary of appointments and contacts. You should keep
a written record of every person you contact in your job search and the results of each
contact. Your log will keep you from getting confused and losing track of the details of
your job search.
The object of your job search is to convince the person who has the power to hire
you that you ought to be working for him or her. The one you want to talk to is not
necessarily the president of a company; it is rather the one who heads the department that
could use your expertise.
How do you find the hiring authority? If you are lucky, someone you know
personally will tell you whom to see and introduce you. Otherwise, you will have to do
some homework. If you cannot find out who heads the department that interests you, call
the company and ask the operator.
Do not assume you can get to the hiring authority through the personnel
department. If at all possible, you will avoid filling out any personnel forms until you
have had a serious interview. The same goes for sending resumes. In general, resumes are
better left behind after an interview than sent ahead to generate a meeting.
Direct contact with the hiring authority is far and away the most effective jobhunting
method. Your strategy and schedule should reflect that fact, and most of your
energy should be devoted to direct contact. You may want to explore other methods of
contacting potential employers, but that should take up no more than a quarter of your
job-hunting time.
The contacts you make during your preliminary informational interviewing will
be the core of your network in your job hunt. You will also want to zero in on other
contacts within your career area. Your goal is to get referred to the person who has the
power to hire you.
To make new contacts in your career area, use the following resources:
• People you know in the career or related area.
• Professional organizations, associations, or unions.
• Community service organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Lions, or
Rotary.
• Department chairmen in your field at colleges and universities.
• Professional or trade magazines.
• Newspaper articles.
• Yellow pages.
• Directories at the library such as:
o Poor's Register of Corporations
o Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers
o Dun & Bradstreet's Million Dollar Directory
o Who's Who in America
o Ward's Directory of 55,000 largest U.S. Corporations
To be effective at networking, there are certain steps you must follow, for

example:
1. Determine which organizations, positions, career path, or specific
persons are of interest to you. Do enough research so that you will be
able to talk intelligently to your new contact.
2. Ask the individual when it would be a good time to chat. Give a brief
summary of your background and what you are seeking. Focus on what
you have in common. Have a goal in mind and state your purpose.
3. Be flexible. If they offer another time for a meeting, make every effort
to make yourself available to their schedule.
4. Ask for information, direction and advice, NOT A JOB! Be prepared
and have a short list of questions or topics in mind.
5. At the meeting, be sure to ask for referrals.
6. Always listen attentively and take notes if necessary.
7. Respond to any questions directed to you with comments.
8. Be sure to bring your resume and ask for their critique of it.
9. By all means, be courteous and thankful and be sure to follow-up by
sending a handwritten note thanking him or her for their time.
Be sure that you don’t make the following mistakes:
1. Don't be too pushy or abrasive by insisting on meeting with someone
who just isn’t interested or able to speak with you.
2. Don't ask personal questions or questions about their salary.
3. Don’t ask for a job.
4. Don't overstep your time limits.
5. Don't come unprepared, either about the company, the career path, or
yourself.
6. Don't interrupt the speaker.
7. Don't focus entirely on your own needs. You're there to learn.
8. Don't ask the person to circulate your resume for you (unless he or she
offers).
9. Don’t forget to say "thank you."
10. Don't become a pest, continually calling the contact for advice and
referrals after your initial meeting.

Ask the “right” questions
Ask the type of questions that will assist you in your networking efforts. In
networking, you are trying to identify certain individuals who can assist you in finding
your next job. With that thought in mind, you will need to prepare questions that can
help you do just that.
Everyone has one favorite subject…himself or herself! We all like to talk about
what we do and who we are. Knowing this, as you begin to talk to people ask them about
their line of work or industry. If what they say has relevance to your job search, inquire
further about their organization. At some point, express an interest in their company and
ask them whom they would recommend you talk to regarding a possible employment
opportunity. This is known as getting a referral. In your networking efforts, you should
always try to get a referral. You may wish to ask the person you are speaking with, how
they feel about using their name when contacting the individual they suggested.
The overall objective of networking is to build relationships. When speaking with
someone, be sure to give him or her your undivided attention. Politely ask for a business
card. Write down any pertinent information on the back of the card after you have
concluded your conversation. It may be helpful to also send a letter or handwritten note
after that conversation thanking the person for his/her time.

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