Effective Networking Skills: Taking Your Job Search To A Whole New Level

Your network consists of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and former employers. It also consists of your dentist, your barber or hair stylist, your accountant and your local grocery store manager. Networking is not only who you know, but who knows you. You may know a lot of people, but how well do they know you – especially in terms of your skills, talents, creativity and potential? How familiar are these people with your value proposition -- your unique gifts?

It is your value proposition that differentiates you from the crowd; it is what stands out in the minds of those with whom you are networking. Your value proposition is the cornerstone for all self-introductory communication. It sets the tone. It’s how you make your mark. It is how you describe yourself during any networking scenario.

The best way to network is to communicate your qualities to the people you know, so they in turn will know you better. Practice doing this in as concise and clear a way as possible. When you communicate your value proposition in a lasered way, you will be extremely effective.

Networking is never about asking someone for a job. It’s about letting people in, and asking questions such as “Who do you know?” and “Who else should I be talking to?” This process can truly mushroom, especially if you don’t wait until you are out of work before making contact with people. The results can be quite amazing.

Networking is also about finding out as much as you can about the people with whom you are networking. This serves many purposes. Remembering things about a person the next time you see them makes them feel significant. They will want to do more for you. Secondly, you can begin to connect the dots between their background and your own career objectives. Thirdly, you are building a bridge of trust; your encounter will be viewed as genuine and mutually beneficial, rather than as a manipulative gesture designed just for your gain.

An important part of networking is continuance. You’re building a relationship. There needs to be planned follow-up activity and communication. The best way to accomplish this is by asking for their business card and summarizing the action steps you plan to take based on your dialog. Include a follow-up phone call as part of your summary. Once your brief meeting has concluded, send a thank-you note to the person, reiterating your appreciation for their willingness to meet with you, and any planned steps you will be taking.

Networking supports your entire job search effort. As an extremely powerful strategy which accounts for roughly 80% of all job fills, it allows you to get in doors that would otherwise be impossible to enter. You can network your way into potential opportunities that can turn into the right job created just for you. It’s a great way to tap the hidden job market!

Networking is about creating relationships which, in turn, creates opportunities. It is about connecting, which builds a network of support that can last a lifetime. Only three ingredients are required:

You will need just a bit of courage to open up a dialog with someone you already know, or someone who was referred to you. You need to be aware of your potential and worth. The final ingredient is caring – caring enough about the other person to truly be interested in them and to build a connection, to start a relationship. The results will speak for themselves.

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About the Author

David Richter is a recognized authority in career coaching. His extensive knowledge and experience gained from many years in recruitment, outplacement and career management has allowed David to formulate powerful strategies anyone can use to secure interviews and receive offers. David holds Masters in both Engineering and Counseling Psychology. Visit:

David Richter