Getting The Most out of Networking
To understand the importance of networking, it's helpful to examine how people get their jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor says that only about 5 percent of people obtain jobs through the "open" job market -- consisting primarily of help-wanted ads on the Internet and in print publications. Another 24 percent obtain jobs through contacting companies directly -- the cold-contact method of job-hunting. Twenty-three percent obtain jobs through such means as employment agencies, college career-services offices and executive-search firms. The remaining 48 percent -- nearly half of all job hunters, obtain their jobs through referrals -- that is word of mouth. How do they get referrals and find out about jobs through word of mouth? By networking.
• Always carry business cards: If you don’t have cards, make them on your computer or have them done online. Networking is an occupation, and this is a good way to let others know who you are and what you are expertise is. Carry them in your pocket so they are easy access. Never network without them.
• Keep a resume or promotional material available: you never know when a potential employer might ask for a brief and easy to read summary of what you have to offer as an employee. Help the contact –always provide easy ways to get in touch with you.
• Develop a personal resource file. At most professional events there is an exchange of business cards. The idea behind this is to develop a large network of individuals helping each other, and you will need this in the months or years to come. Therefore, developing a file that includes expertise and personal information on the people that you meet can help you when you need to rely upon your network. Remember - “Dig your well before you are thirsty”.
• Send Thank you notes or congratulatory notes. A note can go a long way. Send notes to thank those who took their time to get to know you and help you with your future career.
• Keep in Touch. The people you meet today and those whom you will meet in the future are vital to your future. However, do not expect them to remember you after just one meeting. People are very busy, and you need to take the initiative to keep in touch with them. Two things people never forget: Those who were caring for them when they were down, and those who weren’t.
• Know the training grounds and best places to network. Know who the companies are or the volunteer organizations that provide training grounds and a great place to build a peer network. These companies/organizations provide peer-group contacts for a lifetime. Spend a lot of time thinking about where you should want to work.
• Stay active. Associations and organizations provide another opportunity to learn more about your field of choice, and a chance to meet both veteran and newcomers to the home industries. You never know when that knowledge or person will benefit your career. It is a myth that people don’t like to be asked for help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
THE MORE YOU EXERCISE YOUR NETWORKING MUSCLES, THE STRONGER THEY GET –AND THE EASIER NETWORKING BECOMES.
Dig Your Well Before You are Thirsty – Harvey McKay
Be my Guest – Conrad Hilton
Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goldman
New York Times – online (You will always have something to talk about)
Get involved in organizations where the leaders of your community give their time. Be active.
Belong to an association dedicated to your expertise or industry.