Effective Tips for Building A Great Career Network
If you have read or listened to anything recently about job-hunting, you have surely heard a lot about building a career network. Whether you are seeking out a new job or you simply want to put yourself in a good position to advance in a current one, networking is a critical factor. Many people do not network simply because they do not know how to get started. The good news is that networking is easy and it is also fun. Once you know how to get started, you are sure to look forward to networking with others in your field.
Ask for Referrals from Your Current Network
Ask the network that you already have for referrals to other people who can be a beneficial part of your network. Talk to your family, friends and current coworkers to get this information. Everyone knows at least one person that can help you to expand your network and find new opportunities. You can also offer to network with others if anyone you know is looking for more people to network with.
Attend Professional Events
If you have things like trade shows and meetings that are associated with your industry in your area, make it a point to attend them a few times per year, or however often they happen. You want to meet people who have good contacts so that you can share contacts with each other. These shows often attract high-level professionals, making it easy to find people who can be beneficial to your career. You can also attend these events and offer mentoring services to new people in the industry if you are experienced.
Join Trade or Professional Organizations
All industries have at least one trade or professional organization associated with it. These organizations often have meetups throughout the country that you can take part in when they are in your area. This ensures that you are exposed to dozens of potential networking candidates at one time so that you can increase your number of networking contacts.
Take Some Time to Volunteer
Volunteering is often and underutilized tool for networking. You do not have to do any work associated with your field for volunteering to be beneficial. Meeting people from all walks of life can lead to many good connections in your community. As a bonus, volunteering looks really good on a resume.
Check Out Local Networking Events
Many major cities host a variety of networking events throughout the year. Check into these and attend at least one of these events to expose yourself to a variety of new contacts. Make sure that when you attend this type of event that you have plenty of business cards on you. You want to be able to make yourself available and easy to contact for those who may be able to help you find opportunities in your industry.
Reach Out to Career Services and Old Professors
The career services at your university can provide you with a wealth of information and networking opportunities. They often know of employment opportunities that are not advertised and they can help you to get into contact with the right people for those jobs. Your old professors are professionals with extensive experience in the field. Talk to them to see if there are people that they can introduce you to for additional networking opportunities.
Look Into a Job Club
Job clubs are one of the best ways to meet people in your industry because they are more intimate compared to things like trade shows and conventions. It is easier to talk to all of the guests that come because there are fewer people. These clubs are available in most major cities, but if one is not available in your area, you can take the time to start one. Talk to local recreation centers to find space for your meetings at little to no cost.
Networking is always a reciprocal relationship so while it is helpful for you, you also need to take the time to share information and job leads with others when you have them. Never be afraid to ask for help or to reach out to others when you notice that they need help. Asking for and offering things like possible leads, getting to know others that can be helpful and getting advice for things like writing a good industry-specific resume are all common parts of reciprocal networking.
- Rosemary Kitchen
Healy, R. (2013). 6 Ways to Build Your Career Network Online. Retrieved on February 5, 2015 from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/09/19/6-ways-to-build-your-career-network-online
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