Networking is an opportunity to exchange thoughts, ideas, and
information with other people, often within a profession or social
group. Growing a network requires persistence to achieve the type
of depth and quality desired for optimal success. Those who are
the most successful at networking weave it into the very fabric of
their lives. It becomes an inherent part of their life skills practice,
enriching their life as well as the lives of others.
Job industry experts estimate that 75–85 percent of jobs are
obtained as a result of networking. Although certainly not the only
method for securing a job, the efficacy of networking makes it
worthwhile. Jobs seekers often find hidden jobs—those that never
get posted—through networking with friends and acquaintances.
With this in mind, job seekers should focus more time on
developing their networks rather than spending an inordinate
amount of time perusing job boards.
Set Networking Goals
Before you go to a networking event, set a goal. Consider the
following questions to establish your goal: What are your reasons
for attending? What outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
Determining the purpose for attending helps maintain focus
during the event. Choose professional attire and wear it with
confidence. Make a good first impression on everyone you
encounter. Prepare questions in advance that will prompt
responses that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. The
goal is to create opportunities for dialogue. Some sample
networking questions to consider are:
How did you get started in your career?
What is your primary role? What do you like best about it?
What projects are you working on?
Being mindful of networking etiquette is the first step in
cultivating networking skills. Lack of networking finesse risks
jeopardizing professional credibility and alienating the prospective
connections that could develop. When meeting someone new,
introduce yourself, make eye contact, shake hands using a firm
handshake, and listen for the person’s name—use it two times
thereafter in the conversation to affirm you were listening to
them. The first rule of networking is remembering that it’s not all
about you. The job search process is the perfect time to enhance
your listening skills. Learning to actively listen shows the other
person in the conversation that their thoughts are valued. Avoid
interrupting others when speaking, provide thoughtful and
concise replies, reiterate key points to acknowledge hearing what
was said, and ask good questions—this is an avenue to meaningful
discourse. Asking and responding to questions succinctly keeps
the conversation focused. Be thoughtful; taking a moment to
reflect on what is being discussed before asking a question or
responding is a sign of professional maturity.
Additional Networking Tips
Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date.
Store business cards in easy-to-reach places.
Maintain a polished and professional appearance.
Provide your resume only when asked.
Exchange business cards when appropriate.
Do not ask for a job—this is not the role of networking.
Use the time to cultivate relationships—quality over quantity.
Regard others with respect and courtesy. Over a lifelong career,
there is a strong possibility you will encounter them again.
Behave ethically by being truthful about the skills,
abilities, and experiences reflected in your
conversations and on your resume.
Mute your cell phone. Be present: It’s about making
an impression, engaging in conversation, and making
a connection beyond the moment.
Follow up as appropriate and keep promises for
Write a timely, personalized thank-you note when
another professional extends themself to you—
The value of networking often manifests itself in both the
professional and personal side of life. As an overall life strategy,
networking involves genuinely seeking every opportunity to
engage in conversation with a diverse group of people.
Building and Honing Your Networking Skills
s STUDENT MEMBER UPDATE
Additional Networking Resources
Successful Networking Tips https://www.kangan.edu.au/
The Two Most Valuable Networking Skills You Can
Develop to Network Successfully https://www.
The Importance of Networking (and How to Do It Well)
10 Networking Mistakes that Make You Look Unprofessional
How Many Jobs Are Found through Networking, Really?
9 Tips for Navigating Your First Networking Event
New Survey Reveals 85 Percent of All Jobs Are Filled
Via Networking https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-survey-