Who you know is as important as what you know. A strong network of contacts is critical in any stage of your career. While it can be intimidating when you feel like you’re starting from scratch, we’ll help you develop a great network!
Start building your network with 4 steps
1. Who do you know?
- Brainstorm everyone who could possibly serve as a contact.
- Don’t limit yourself to people who are in your career field. Friendly, accessible people in unrelated fields often have contacts they would be happy to share.
- To get started here are some suggestions: family friends, relatives, neighbors, professors, advisers, classmates, alumni, former co-workers and supervisors, and members of professional organizations.
2. Prepare yourself - online and in-person
- Approach all networking opportunities with a game plan. Before you meet with a contact or attend a networking event, prepare and do your homework.
- Having a professional web presence is as simple as having a LinkedIn page, but you should also understand what other information might be on the web about you already. Check out our guide to professional social networking and online identity.
- Get business cards. Sites like Vistaprint and Moo have inexpensive options for pre-designed cards. Make sure your cards include contact information for any relevant social networks you’re using in your job search.
- Ask yourself what you’d like to know more about, and develop an “elevator speech” - a short (30-60 seconds) pitch that summarizes who you are and what you’re looking for.