When you look at professional job hunting resources such as Resume Help, you will see plenty of references to the idea of career networking. You will see articles that lay out the best ways to enhance and grow a network, but there aren’t many articles that start at the beginning and explain what networking is and how it is done. Let’s examine what networking is and how to network for a job. These tips will how you how to develop a list of contacts that will help you find your next job.

What Is Networking?

Career networking is when you develop a list of contacts that you feel can help to connect you and your qualifications to potential employers. These contacts can be professional, personal or both, but they should all have some kind of value to yourself and your network. You will find that having a diverse career network with a core of people in your chosen industry will offer you the best value. When you have a diverse network, it becomes easier to inspire others to join your network and enhance your job hunt.

What Do I Do with My Career Network?

Your primary goal with a career network is to let your network contacts know that you are looking for a job, give them a summary of your qualifications and then encourage them to share your qualifications with anyone who is hiring. You get your network contacts to share your information by being active in your network and offering value to your contacts.

How Do I Offer Value to My Contacts?

If you have made a contact in your industry and that contact needs to rent a truck, then that truck rental contact you made last week then comes in handy. You help the industry contact to rent a truck and you help your truck rental contact to bring in some business. You just offered value to both of your contacts and that value is going to make your contacts want to work even harder to help you find a job.

How Do I Network?

You have to get out there and talk to people about your field and your qualifications. You should have business cards printed up with a very brief summary of your qualifications and your contact information that you can give to people who would benefit from that information. After you have your business cards, then you need to get out there and start meeting people. Some of the obvious places where you will meet career network contacts include job fairs, corporate gatherings and civic events. But you may meet someone at dinner one night and that person could be a very valuable part of your career network. To build an effective network, you must be prepared and willing to network any time you are out of the house.

This advice can help get you started if you’re wondering what networking is and how to approach it. If you can establish a strong network of professional connections, you can set yourself up for opportunities and success down the line as your career develops.

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