Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Have You Networked Today?

According to the dictionary (or, networking in the career-sense is:

" cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position. Example: His business lunches were taken up with networking."

Sounds easy, right? Finding people who can help you in your career and who may even help you find a job. Well, for some of you, that may seem like a daunting and scary task. Never fear! Eva McSpartan in here! This week I'm going to tell you how to network, resources you can use to become a better networker, and maybe even give you clues on where to find people to network with.

The Importance of Networking

Before we talk about how to actually network, let's talk about why networking is an important part of your career journey. In fact, communication, in general, is probably one of the most important assets to your career. Being able to successfully present your ideas to a broad audience and communicate day-to-day tasks to anyone from a floor operator to the CEO of the company will keep you at the top of your game in the workplace. On top of being able to communicate in the workplace, maintaining a professional network inside and outside of the workplace will allow you to find mentors and identify key co-workers with exemplary skill sets.

Not-So-Nice Networking

On the flip side of networking, there's also some not-so-nice networking you can do to prevent yourself from forming a positive professional network. The fastest and easiest way to negatively impact your online network is by posting lots of inappropriate photos and comments on Facebook. Believe or not, employers use Facebook as a tool to find out well...whether or not you are a tool. Another way to avoid discrediting your online resume is to change your privacy settings on your Facebook. Avoid accepting friends with just anyone who comes along and set it so that people cannot view all your information without being friends with you. The same ideas apply for other sites like MySpace. If someone can Google you name and find pictures from your drunken Spring Break vacation in 2003, you should probably make a few modifications for your own sake.

Networking 101

Now let's start talking about how to network. Networking is a popular buzzword that is defined by the professional relationships you make to positively impact anything from your day-to-day career to your long-term career goals. You can literally network with just about anyone...people in your classes, the people you work with, someone you meet on the street, etc. The first part of networking is starting a conversation with someone and finding a common interest or belief. If you talk to a recruiter who is into deep sea fishing and you are a total deep sea fishing fanatic, you've just started your network! Don't be afraid to talk to anyone and everyone. Being shy just is not a good excuse not to talk to people. You'd be surprised who you can strike up conversation with if you try. For example, I've struck up conversations with recruiters while at work that I ended up interviewing with or just plain being friends with. Many of them are still in my network. Now here's the big secret about's just talking. If you can strike up a can network.

For extra resources with networking, please reference these past entries:
How to Use LinkedIn:

Maintaining Your Network:

Hopefully all this helps! Now get out there and network!

Like always,

Good Luck Job Seekers!

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