Networking In Person
Networking is the process of collecting and curating a list of contacts and developing relationships with them for both personal and professional success, and is the #1 employment search strategy. While social media use is essential to effective networking, it should never replace face-to-face interactions.
Develop a list of contacts
- Talk to the obvious people (your family, former co-workers, faculty, advisors) as well as people you wouldn't normally include in your employment search (your doctor, dentist, clergy, hairdresser). Use the Building a Network worksheet to get started.
- Attend career fairs and other industry specific networking events. Professional associations often have student chapters and membership rates. Association meetings are a great way to make contacts.
- Get involved and explore your interests. Do not limit yourself to just attending career fairs and professional events. Networking can be done at events associated with your personal interests, organized by social groups or religious institutions.
- Always be aware of how you act and what you say, both online and in person. You never know when there is a potential contact right in front of you.
- Prepare your one-minute elevator pitch and if a conversation lends itself, speak up and let people know that you are in the employment market.
- Follow up and don't let fear stop you from reaching out. Instead of thinking, “I don't want to impose on others.”, think, “Every contact I make brings me closer to finding my purpose and related employment.”
Solicit Your Contacts Assistance
- When contacting someone you don't know, be professional, explain your purpose, and respect their schedule. Always get permission to use a person's name and contact info if you wish to have them assist you in your job search.
- Give contacts a copy of your resume and explain the type of career you are seeking. The better they understand your interests and goals, the more effectively they can assist you.
- Never ask a contact for a job. Instead of asking “Can you get me a job at your law firm?”, ask: “Do you know of any openings at your firm?” Many organizations have employee referral programs and tap their own staff to help them find new hires.
- Don't ask inappropriate personal questions. This is a professional interaction and the impression you leave will determine how hard that contact will work on your behalf.
- If you schedule an informational interview, be sure to dress professionally and prepare questions to ask during the interview.
- Nurture relationships through periodic contact, saying "thank you", and letting your contacts know the results of your job search.