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Career Services - Students

Networking for a Job

50 Networking NO NOs!
by Tom Denham

If you really want to find a job, then double your networking efforts. Itís the best job search technique. Networking is an art and science that anyone can learn. To be successful in your search, I strongly suggest a strategy that maximizes your networking efforts. Here are 50 pitfalls to avoid when you are either at a networking event or having individual networking meetings. My pet peeves.

1.Being unprepared or unfocused with your networking objectives
2.Overlooking possible networking connections
3.Overextending with too many targets
4.Being reactive or passive instead of proactive
5.Lacking a name tag
6.Sitting down too early during a networking function or sitting next to people you already know
7.Failing to approach people you donít know at an event
8.Appearing nervous when approaching a potential contact
9.Sending a negative non-verbal message (i.e., arms crossed, poor posture, dressing unprofessionally, wandering eyes, etc.)
10.Giving a weak sound bite or elevator pitch
11.Requesting help with too many things too quickly or strongly
12.Asking for a business card too early
13.Forgetting your business cards!!!
14.Dominating the conversation by talking, talking, talking
15.Listening selectively and then turning the conversation back to you
16.Sharing your life story
17.Asking questions about areas that seem confidential or controversial
18.Monopolizing other peopleís time
19.Coming across as shallow
20.Latching onto others or clinging to people you already know
21.Acting desperate
22.Asking too many or too few questions
23.Exaggerating or misrepresenting yourself
24.Thinking networking is only about you
25.Failing to find common denominators with others
26.Coming across as inarticulate
27.Selling instead of being a resource to others
28.Being pushy, argumentative, unfriendly or negative
29.Looking distracted or not fully present
30.Taking, taking, taking
31.Coming across as incompetent or disorganized
32.Showing disinterest
33.Looking like you donít know your stuff
34.Bragging
35.Interrupting
36.Being impulsive
37.Neglecting to reciprocate
38.Failing to deliver on what you promise
39.Forgetting to request a business card!!!
40.Focusing on quantity, not quality
41.Over-circulating and trying to talk to everyone
42.Lacking follow-up in a timely manner
43.Expecting immediate payoffs or instant answers
44.Lacking patience in building relationships
45.Forgetting to add new connections to LinkedIn
46.Keeping your network referrers in the dark about your progress
47.Neglecting to nurture your network
48.Turning networking into an afterthought instead of a core priority
49.Failing to reassessing the effectiveness of your networking strategy
50.Giving up!!!

 

Networking means developing a broad list of contacts -- people you've met through various social and business functions -- and using them to your advantage when you look for a job. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to other so that you can expand your network.
-Videos on Networking

Activity-Write down your top 10 network contacts-who they are-why you wrote them down


1. Brainstorm for Contacts.
Think of everyone who could possibly serve as a contact. Don't limit yourself to people who could clearly help you out - friendly, accessible people in unrelated fields often have contacts they would be happy to share with you. Also, people who, through either work or volunteer activities, have contact with a diverse crowd can be extremely helpful. To get you started with your list, here are some suggestions:

Family friends Local politicians
Relatives Journalists
Neighbors Business executives
Professors Non-profit directors
Alumni Your physician
Former employees Your hair dresser
Former co-workers Prominent community members
Public relations officials Members of professional organizations

2. Where the Contacts Are - Tried and True Places to Network
Local alumni association Conventions
Class reunions Club meetings
Cocktail parties Internet list-servs
Fundraisers Volunteer opportunities
Business conferences Continuing education classes

3. Be Prepared

Networking is a little like planning a political campaign. While it's essential that you are honest and relaxed, you should not wing it. Just as politicians think about what they tactically need to accomplish, convey, and gain when they make an appearance or give a speech, you should approach networking opportunities with a game plan. Before you confidently and charmingly sashay into a business conference room, a dinner party, or group event, do your homework. Find out who will be there, or do your best to list who you think will probably be present. Then decide who you would most like to meet. When you have your list of potential contacts, thoroughly research their work and their backgrounds and then make up some questions (30 second commercial) and conversational statements that reflect your research. And finally, think critically about what your goals are for your networking function. What information do you want to walk away with? What do you want to convey to the people you meet? But, as is always true, it's important to be flexible and to perceive opportunities you didn't plan to confront.

Activity-develop a 30 second commercial with your neighbor an practice with each other


4. Networking Knows No Boundaries
Business conferences, informational interviews, college reunions, and cocktail parties are obvious networking opportunities - you expect to walk away with a few business cards and some recommendations for potential rolodex entries. But the reality is that invaluable contacts and enviable opportunities often surprise us. Good networkers are flexible people who approach connection-making as a fluid enterprise that extends far beyond hotel conference room walls. You never know who will step onto the adjacent elliptical trainer at the gym; who will be parked behind you in an interminable grocery store line; who will sit next to you on an airplane; or who will be under the hair dryer next to you at the beauty salon. Don't let these opportunities pass you by. While it may have been sheer luck that you bumped into an affable CEO, your savvy approach to networking can turn a banal exchange into a pivotal moment in your career path. Always be ready to make a contact and exchange business cards. And remember, don't hesitate to network someone who has no obvious connection to your ambitions: Your new contact may be able to give you relevant names of his or her friends and colleagues.


5. Follow Up
After you meet with a contact, it is absolutely essential to write a thank you note. Tell your contact how much he or she helped you, and refer to particularly helpful, specific advice. Everyone - even the most high-level executive - likes to feel appreciated. In addition to immediate follow-up after a meeting or conversation, keep in touch with your contacts. This way, they may think of you if an opportunity comes up, and they will also be forthcoming with new advice. It's important to stay on their radar screens without being imposing or invasive. And, of course, if you get that new job, be sure to tell them and thank them again for their help.

6. What Goes Around Comes Around
If you want to be treated with respect, treat others with respect. If you want your phone calls and email missives returned, call and write back to the people who contact you. If you want big-wigs to make time for you, make yourself available to others whom you might be able to help out. It's that simple

The higher up you climb in the professional world, the more you'll find that everyone knows everyone else. Thus, if you're impolite, curt, condescending, or disposed to burning bridges, you'll cultivate a reputation that will serve as a constant obstacle. Remember - the people who seem little now will one day be running companies and making decisions. If you treated them with kindness and respect when they were green, they'll remember and return the favor later.

7. Make It Easy For Your Contacts

When you call, meet with, or write to a potential contact, make it as easy as possible for them to help you. Explain what you specifically want, and ask detail-oriented questions.

For example, "I'm looking for jobs in arts administration. Do you know anyone who works at the Arts Council? May I have their names and phone numbers? May I use your name when I introduce myself to them?" Another entrťe into a productive conversation is to solicit career tips and advice from your contact. Most people love to talk about themselves. By asking for your contact to offer valuable insight from his or her personal experiences and successes, he or she will feel important and respected. Who doesn't like to feel like an expert?

Be sure to avoid making general demands, such as, "Do you know of any jobs that would be good for me?" This sort of question is overwhelming and it puts an undue burden on your contact.

8. Stay Organized
Keep a record of your networking. Whether you do this in a Rolodex, in a notebook, or in a database file on your computer, it's important to keep track of your contacts. Make sure your system has plenty of room for contacts' names, addresses, phone numbers, companies, job titles, how you met them, and subsequent conversations you've had with them.


Networking Your Way to a New Job


by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Career experts estimate that the vast majority of job openings are never advertised or publicly announced, but filled through word-of-mouth or networking -- known as the "hidden job market." The likelihood of a job opening not being advertised at all increases with the level of the job. Yet, even with this knowledge, most job seekers fail to fully utilize networking for all it's worth.

Networking means developing a broad list of contacts -- people you've met through various social and business functions -- and using them to your advantage when you look for a job. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to other so that you can expand your network.

The best place to start developing your network is with your family, friends, and neighbors -- and with their family, friends, and neighbors, but don't stop there. Talk to co-workers, colleagues in your industry, and those you meet at industry gatherings, such as trade shows and conferences. Talk with former co-workers, bosses, and teachers.

The key to successful networking deciding to put the energy needed to make it work. First, you need to get organized (for example, keeping a business card file or computer database). Second, you need to stay in contact (for example, through regular phone calls, email, and holiday greetings). Third, you need to set goals for yourself (such as 5 new contacts per week).

The Steps to Successful Networking:

1. Develop a firm grasp of job search basics. A good place to start is the Career Services webpage for resources.
 
2. Conduct a self-assessment. An honest review of your strengths and weaknesses is vital. A good place to start is with the one of our career tests and quizzes. You should also make some decision relating to the types of jobs you want and the types of companies and industries that interest you. Unsure? Examine some of these career exploration tools.

3. Prepare a strong resume. If you don't already have a resume, now is the time to develop one. You should ideally develop two resumes -- one in traditional format and one in scannable format. You can get information on both types of resumes by going to Resume Resources.

4. Decide how to organize your network. This step is crucial to your success. If you have ongoing access to a computer, the best method is a database or spreadsheet where you can enter key information, such as names, titles, company names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and dates of communication. Keeping an organized collection of business cards, where you can write notes and comments about your network, is another alternative.
 
5. Communicate with your network. It is extremely important to stay in touch with your network, which you can easily do by phone, mail, or email. Don't be afraid to ask for their help. Most people like helping others, and you must communicate your current needs with your network in order for them to be able to help you.
*questions

6. Initiate informational interviews. One of the best ways to gain more information about an occupation or industry -- and to build a network of contacts in that field -- is to talk with people who are currently working in the field. The purpose of the informational interview is to obtain information, not to get a job. For everything you ever wanted to know about this type of interviewing, go to Informational Interviewing Tutorial.

7. Follow up with your network. The key is keeping your network informed of your situation and thanking them for their efforts. Never take your network for granted.
The final step? Find all the best networking resources -- both on and off the Web -- at Quintessential Careers: The Art of Networking.
 

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