Networking is the process of building and maintaining professional relationships in order to create connections that could help further one’s career. The process of networking allows you to explore various career possibilities such as industries or employers, as well as a way to obtain job search advice, interview practice, and potential job opportunities. People within your network are not just one time contacts- staying in touch with them throughout your entire career is beneficial to your professional development.
- Clearly identify your interests, strengths, and potential career goals.
- With those goals in mind, search for employers that match your interests.
- Search for individuals within your area of interest to contact; narrowing your search to those who are more in line with your preferred career path.
- Use the DMGS Network, an online and hard copy networking database, to see if there are friends of DMGS working at your target organizations.
- Prepare what you would like to say to the person, such as who you are and why you are contacting them, what your interests in their field are, and any questions you may have.
- Some examples: How did you find your job? What advice do you have for someone looking to enter this field?
- Send a short introductory email requesting a time to talk, either on person or over the phone. This is sometimes called an Informational Interview.
- Once you speak with the contact, ask the questions you had prepared and listen carefully. Take notes, and at the end of the conversation ask if they have any recommendations for others to talk with, and if you can use them as a referral.
- Be sure to thank them at the end of the conversation, and then follow-up with a thank- you email.
- When thanking networking contacts, show you appreciation for their advice and how you plan to take action.
- Be sure to let your contacts know if your networking leads to a job, and let them know where you are working and how to keep in touch with you.
- Stay in touch with your network, and keep the relationships you build strong.
Things to Remember
- Dress appropriately
- Be on time
- Be considerate of the other person’s time
- Be courteous and gracious
- Thank the person for their time
- Know what you want to learn from the contact. Don’t look to others to tell you what you can research on your own.
- Listen carefully and take good notes
- Ask for referrals and permission to use their name
- Be patient – meetings may be cancelled several times.
- Relationships are built over time – not in one interaction. Be sure to stay in touch.
Networking is key to building a great career!