Networking: Is it who you know or what you know that counts?

Who you know gets you into the door, what you know keeps you there! Majority of the people who are in the work force today have got their opportunities through people that they knew or know. Networking in my opinion is the key to starting a successful career. Once in the door it is the individual's responsibility to progress his or her own career. Networking even pays while you working in your current position. Many individuals move on to better careers through networks that they have formed.

Networking Tips

Ask people questions. What are you doing? Tell them what you do, ask for a business card. Make sure that you listen to what the other person is saying; there are many verbal signals that people give, that tell you a lot about what they are thinking.

Join a club or a Gym where you can meet new people. Clubs and gyms are a good place to meet new people. A lot of individuals in key positions in organizations will go to a gym to work out or play a sport. Sure these people are there to work out and relax, but if you strike out a conversation you never know who you meet. I got my first co-op placement this way! It worked for me and it will work for you, especially if you interest the person that you are talking too. If you don't mind spending a little bit more, you can always join an exclusive club, where you get to meet and network with business professionals. Remember to sell your strengths, subtly.

Contact companies that you are interested in working with and tell them who you are. Tell them that you are going to be on the market soon and your first choice is them. Start with a general mail asking questions about whom you can get in touch with in HR. Make sure you get a name! By putting a name on your resume you will most likely double your chances of being interviewed. Also post your resume on Monster. This is one of the best sites to get your resume noticed by thousands of employers at no cost to you. I have formulated a special link at the bottom of this page for those of you who are interested!

Get your business cards and letter head's printed. Whether you are still in University or in College, having a business card tells people that you are professional and serious about your career. It also gives them something tangible to hang on too. This makes it easier for them to remember you. For example I am completing my MBA and will be done in December. I just got my business cards printed because I know come December I will be looking for a job. So I hand out these cards to people who are interested, leave them in shops and restaurants in communities, this just gives me more air time! What do I put on my card? Well I cheat a bit, but you have too in today's world. Since I am sure that I will get my MBA in another 6 months my business cards read.

Manik Thapar (MBA)

Volunteer, at your local church, or temple or in your community. This is another great way of meeting new people who might end up playing a big part in where your career leads you.

Remember that networking is something that can be done any where. You can do it on the subway or on the bus, you can do it in a coffee shop or a grocery store and best of all you can pick and choose you want to network with.

Net Work Like a Pro

It's a common refrain, and it's true: Most of the best jobs are never advertised-anywhere.

From an organization's point of view, it's easy enough to judge from your resume whether you have the requisite education and experience under your belt. But it's not so easy to discern the other qualities that matter on the job, such as how motivated you are to do the work, how you handle crisis situations, how well you get along with other employees, how you respond to various types of managers, and how you deal with opportunities and disappointments.

That's why most organizations look first at people they know and people who come recommended by people they know when it comes time to hire someone. And that's why you need to learn to network. Still, having an "in" usually isn't enough to land the job. You need to present yourself to your best advantage in interviews with your would-be supervisor as well as with that person's supervisor and other members of the team. Preparation based on in-depth knowledge of the interviewing process will help you do that and allow you to walk into interviews confident and relaxed. The more you know about an industry and company, the better your chances of landing a job-and the more people you've networked with in the industry and company, the more you'll know.

Networking That Will Get You Hired

Companies tend to recognize that they need to hire someone long before they create a formal job specification and resort to classified ads, the Internet, or a recruiter to bring in candidates.

During this gestation period, they often cast about informally to see if anyone within the organization knows of a talented person who might be available. They may consult advisers, vendors, or customers. And they will be more open than usual to discussions with those who present themselves on their own-or better yet, come with an introduction from someone the hiring manager respects. As you can see, organizations themselves engage in networking when they need new employees. As a job seeker, your aim should be to make sure that their networks intersect the network you create. Why is networking such an important part of a job search? Jobs posted on the Internet or advertised in the newspaper and even those listed with campus recruiters have often been filled or are close to being so by the time you become aware of them. Networking gives you an earlier chance at an opportunity, at a time when you can still help shape the job description and influence the level and pay range of the position.

You will face less competition because no more than a handful of other people will typically be brought in through an organization's own networking activities. And most of these other candidates will already be employed elsewhere and will not have taken the time to prepare as thoroughly as you.

Networking also gets you access to people who might not be responsive to a direct approach letter, and provides you with the added advantage of a recommendation from someone the hiring manager knows. Professional career consultants say that a job seeker's chances of obtaining a meeting with a particular individual improve significantly when a good approach letter is coupled with a respected referral.

A company's current employees are among the best sources of referrals-many firms report that 40 percent to 50 percent are filled by candidates referred by staff members. Moreover, companies view such candidates more favorably than those brought in through other methods, because they already know something about the organization and have a personal connection with it. Finally, networking may be the only way to locate good opportunities for job seekers whose skills are not much in demand. Even those whose skills are in high demand can benefit from networking, as multiple opportunities and personal referrals will enhance a candidate's bargaining position.

Using Personal Contacts to Land Job Leads

Networking should start with people you already know-friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances. These people are not necessarily the best source of jobs, but they can advise you on your resume, comment on how you present yourself, and help you identify your skills. Discussing such topics with friends and relatives may lead you to intriguing areas you've never thought of exploring. What's more, these people are bound to have friends and relatives of their own who could turn out to be valuable resources let you.

We'll call the people you already know and their connections your A group. During this initial round of meetings, you will ask about and get referrals to people your contacts think will be relevant resources for you, such as professionals working in your field of interest or people who work for organizations that interest you. These people, your B group, may or may not know of any specific job opportunities, but they can provide valuable information about current needs in your field, where your skills might fit, what you should emphasize in your presentations, what you need to learn, and resources that you can access. The B contacts, if duly impressed, can also introduce you to other B contacts and possibly to people in the C group. The C group consists of people who could hire you if a need existed in their company and you seemed to be qualified. While there may not be an immediate opening for you, a well-conducted information and referral meeting with a C person might lead to an interview a month or two later, as well as to introductions to other B and C contacts. While a telephone call will usually suffice to set up a meeting with an A group person, an approach letter, followed by a phone call to set up an appointment, is usually a more effective and appropriate means of contacting a B or C group person. An approach letter normally should not be accompanied by a résumé-a résumé labels you as a job applicant and may limit your chances of obtaining a meeting.

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Manik Thapar (MBA)

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