Networking 101

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Networking is an essential part of the job search process; it’s more than just collecting business cards and piling them on your desk next to your lap top.  Networking is relationship building; and it will help you land your next job.  Here are a few steps on how to begin building your network.

1. Examine your current network; see who your current contacts are and what industries they are in. How can you stay in contact with them?

2. Find the industries that interest you and become knowledgeable within that field of work. Absorb all that you can about that industry.

3. Reach out to your contacts- send emails, if you’re on LinkedIn send a message through there.

4. Follow up with your contacts and begin building a relationship with them. They are excellent people to ask for portfolio feedback or specific industry questions.

You can easily begin to build your network rather quickly, I recommend setting aside at least an hour once a week to reach out to contacts. Once you’ve got a simple enough system of building your current network and checking in with them, the next step is to expand your network.

1. Find who the influencers are in the industry of your interest and find ways to align yourself with their communities by joining professional organizations in your area.

2. Attend events that those organizations are hosting, it’s the best way to do face to face networking and gives you an idea of the industry you’re interested in.

3. If you’re already graduated from college attend alumni events and keep in touch with classmates, they too will help build your network.

4. Make cold calls to companies you’re interested in working for or want to learn more about and schedule informational interviews.

If you only had 30-40 seconds to speak with the C.E.O. from your dream job company what would say? The most important part to your networking success is creating your 30-40 second elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a basic overview of your background, qualifications and work experience.  Sure, 30-40 seconds is a very short amount of time which is why I recommend you practice this several times. It’s your own mini work life commercial and you have to make yourself shine. So what would you say?

-Your degree major.

-Work experience.

-Accomplishments, skills, strengths- What you’re proud of and highlight your skills.

-Career goals-Where do you see your career path heading?

-The lasting impression- Something absolutely unique about you.

Networking- it’s not as difficult as we’d like to think it is. Simply begin planting your networking seeds and soon enough plenty of opportunities will begin growing for you.

--Yessica Gamboa Guerrero