80% of jobs are found through networking. That means networking is the most critical element of your job search. The vast majority of jobs in your community are secured through connecting with others. Create this opportunity for yourself by combining personal networking with online networking. This powerful approach to searching for a job will lead to a higher likelihood of finding employment.
You will likely get a job through who you know rather than through your education or work experience. You need to connect with others, be vocal about your interests and career goals, and build relationships with people. Challenge yourself to go outside of your comfort zone!
What is Networking?
- Building relationships and asking for advice about an industry
- The exchange of information based on shared interest
- Asking questions and gathering information
Networking is not…
- Asking for a job, being pushy, or making someone uncomfortable
- Taking without giving back
- Pretending to be someone you are not
- Giving out as many business cards as you can or socializing
Many people think that networking is talking to people and asking them for a job. That is not networking. Networking is building and maintaining relationships with people for mutual exchange of information and resources. Focus on developing meaningful relationships with others to help you feel more comfortable with this process in a new country with different cultural expectations.
How to Network
- Attend professional organization meetings related to your field of interest. Look for these groups on Meetup.com, Eventbrite.com, and LinkedIn.
- Volunteer, if possible. Become involved in something that you enjoy. Search for opportunities at volunteermatch.org.
- Join interest or sports groups.
- Participate in faith-based groups or activities at your place of worship.
- Set your networking objectives. Are you exploring careers? Looking for information about occupations? Interested in learning more about educational opportunities? Are you seeking a job? Determine what type of information and resources you need to help you be successful.
- Develop a LinkedIn profile and ask the Select Center staff for feedback.
- Prepare and practice your introduction in English. Maintain a positive and enthusiastic demeanor.
- Develop your networking contact list and use the worksheet in this packet, or your own, to organize your outreach activities and conduct follow-up.
- Prepare your market plan, providing contacts with your desired jobs, qualifications, types of industries, and target company list.
- Ensure you wear appropriate attire when you are attending events or meeting new contacts to create a positive first impression.
- Ensure your voice mail is properly set.
Expand Your Network
- Utilize LinkedIn to research individuals in your target industries, companies, and jobs.
- Each week, send outreach messages through LinkedIn to set up lunch or coffee meetings to target contacts.
- Ask your friends and family to introduce you to individuals who may be able to help you in your job search.
- Send a thank you note (email is ok) after you meet with someone who is helping you in your job search.
- Stay in touch with your contacts by updating them with your progress. Let them know what has happened with their referrals and ask for additional information.
- Remain optimistic in your follow-up communications.
- There are many successful styles of networking. Be yourself. You can find your best, most effective networking style.
- Effective networking is not speedy. It is not the quantity of passing out 50 business cards at a professional meeting or looking for the next person to talk to as you are presently talking to someone else. It takes time. You may not be able to do a lot of it at times, but there are always opportunities if you look for them.
- Good networking is generous; look for opportunities to give back after receiving.
Good networkers are optimistic. They know that opportunity is found in unexpected places and that the results may not be immediate.