Networking is essential to career management and development throughout your entire career. To advance in your career, achieve internal mobility, or gain recognition in your current position, you will need to develop a strong network.
Networking is the art of building alliances. It's not contacting everyone you know when you are looking for a new job and asking if they know of any job openings. Networking starts long before a job search, and you probably don't even realize you are doing it.
Networking is an important part of the job search process when you are seeking a new opportunity, but it is also an important part of your career management and professional development. To be successful, it is imperative to continue to grow your professional network throughout your career. We have learned that there are effective networking strategies. Learning and practicing these can contribute to ongoing success.
You are networking when you:
- Volunteer for community service
- Visit with other members of social or religious groups
- Talk to your neighbors
- Strike up a conversation with someone else waiting in line at the store
- Talk to others when attending various events
- Attend professional association meetings
Remember, networking isn't a process of making cold-calls to people you don't know. It's talking to people you do know or asking them to introduce you to others. Networking does not have to be a carefully-choreographed process of meeting and greeting people. It's much better done on a more informal basis, but remember that networking is always a two-way street. It must benefit both persons to be most effective, so as you ask your network for help when you need it, be prepared to return the favor when asked.
Our workshop, Job Search and Interviewing Skills, will walk you through a methodical and effective way to develop and nurture a career network. Access the "Workshops" link on the left to find out more information and to register.