A large percentage of jobseekers find their best jobs through proactive networking. Learn to do it well, and you will open many doors for your future professional life.
Identifying & Developing Contacts
Professional networking is about developing contacts and exchanging information with other people for expanding one's business and career opportunities. Networking is about tapping into your connections for helpful information or advice. If done successfully, networking can be the most effective career exploration and job search tool.
|Possible networking contacts:|| |
- Former co-workers
- Parent's friends
- University staff
- JCU alumni
- Friends & their families
- Faculty and classmates
- Career counselors
- Former employers
Identify what you are looking for
Be specific about the particular position or field of interest that you are looking for & source out the people who can help you:
- Relatives, friends or neighbors who work in the field or could refer you to someone who could help you?
- Professors, past employers, university administrators & careers services office.
- People associated with activities where your targeted network prospects frequent.
Now that you have identified the reasons why you are seeking information and who to contact, it's a good idea to formulate questions. Don't be afraid to talk to people about your interests, even people you meet for the first time at a social gathering or maybe on a plane/train. You never know what a chance meeting can bring.
It's okay to ask questions such as "What do you do for a living?" or "What line of work are you involved in?"
Below are some suggested questions:
- What is your educational and professional background?
- What do you like/dislike about your job and why?
- What types of companies/organizations might employ someone to do this type of work?
- How did you decide to get into the field and what steps did you take to enter the field?
- What should I do to best prepare myself for a job in this field?
- What suggestions do you have for someone wishing to enter this field?
- What skills and background are needed to get into this field?
- What is the salary range for a person in this field?
- What personal qualities do you feel are most important in your work and why?
- What are the tasks you do in a typical workday and could you describe them?
- What types of difficult issues/stress do you experience on the job?
- What are the most significant changes facing your field/organization?
- What are the trends/issues to be aware of in the field?
- What is the job outlook in this field?
- What related occupations might I investigate?
- Is advanced education beneficial in this field?
- Are there professional publications or organizations that I should be familiar?
- Can you recommend additional people for me to talk to?
Always be sure to ask if the person can recommend additional people for you to talk to! This is one of the most important questions and the one that will provide you with further contacts.
As opposed to asking question after question, treat the networking process more like a conversation, it will help to make the experience more relaxing. Take opportunity to share with the person about yourself - interests, goals, where you're from, etc.
If, while asking the person a question, they mention something of interest to you or say something that you have in common, feel free to comment about it or inquire further. For example, if the person comments that their work varies from one day to the next, you could say, "I'm glad to hear that there is a lot of variety in your work. I like having different tasks to work on each day."
After a networking session, it is a good practise to follow up with an email within 3 working days. Please state where you have known the person, re-introduce yourself and tell the person how much you have enjoyed your conversation with him / her.
Explain how your personality & work values are aligned with the organization that he / she is currently in and be specific about the position that you are interested in. Attach your resume and state your contact information before signing off.