What is Networking?
The old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
When it comes to job seeking, this is absolutely true.
Networking is a successful job search tactic because hiring is a hard, time consuming, and costly exercise for employers. It is hard to determine the truth about someone’s background, skills, experience, and potential in just a few interviews. Employers want to be assured that the person they hire is a quality person and employee.
The way they can be more certain is to go off the referrals of someone they already trust.
The process of networking is tapping into a pool of people you already know, and very importantly, people you can get to know. The more people you talk to and connect with, the better chance you will have of finding a good career position.
Who is in your Network?
Basically… anyone and everyone!
Think of your potential network as a spider-web, with you in the center. The inner-most circle of the web contains the people closest to you, such as parents, friends, teachers, co-workers, bosses, and your friendly, available, and well connected Career Development Center (hint, hint).
The next circle contains the people who are one degree removed from you – your parent’s friends, your friend’s parents, your teacher’s friends, co-worker’s contacts, etc.
As the circles widen, you are moving two, three, four degree’s away from you and towards more people you know… and more importantly towards people who now know you.
What do I say to someone when Networking?
Networking is not about asking people for jobs… it is about asking people for advice, counsel, and information about companies and jobs. Most people are not in a position to hire you, but they can tell you about ways to apply, tips for success, and especially about who to speak with who does have hiring authority.
Start with your close contacts and ask for advice – Do you know anyone who works in XYZ? Can you tell me anything about this company or that company?
For each person you speak with you should ask for advice and information about their job or company, let them know you are looking, pass along your résumé, and then ask for another name of a person to contact.
Then, contact the next person and do the same.
The more people you do this with, the more information, tips, advice, and contacts you will have. At some point, you will meet and talk to someone who can get you an interview.
Can I use the web to help me Network?
Online networking is a new method that is becoming widespread in job searches. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are vehicles that connect you to others so they are perfect for job searches.
You can use status updates, friends and networks, and your profile page to help you get the word out about the types of careers you are seeking.
The important thing to remember when networking online is to maintain a professional image and online presence. This means cleansing your pages of potentially incriminating information, photographs, language, etc.
Be sure to only write and place online what you would be okay with a future boss or co-worker seeing on there. Be assured, employers are routinely using these social networking sites to find new employees, and to find out about new employees.
What can the school do to help me with my Networking?
For starters, the Career Development Center staff can help connect you with people in your desired job field, and with our own personal contacts well.
The University of New Haven maintains a network of alumni that can be tapped into to help with your job search. Contact the Career Development Center to learn how to use this network.
Your professors, coaches, and other college administrators live and work here – they know other people who can be a lead for you to talk to.
What should I do now?