How to Go about Expanding One’s Network

Ashley writes:
I have read a lot about the potential of networking for people who are looking for a new job.
One of my goals for this year is to expand my network because I want to consider finding
a new job later in the year but I really have no idea how to do it. I mean I think I
understand the concept of networking but I just don’t know who to do it with or how to
find them. Can you help?

The Career Doctor responds:
Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think networking is probably one of the most
misunderstood concepts of job-hunting which is bad because it is also one of
the most important.
Because the vast majority of job openings are never advertised job-seekers need
to have a network of contacts — a career network — that can provide support information
and job leads.
So what is networking? Networking is simply connecting with people — establishing
some sort of rapport so that they will remember who you are. Networking can happen
anywhere from business to social events and from in-person to online events.
Yes there are some events labeled specifically as networking events but any situation
where you are interacting with people can become a networking event. And you just
never know who you are going to meet at that wedding chamber meeting or airport.
You can even build your network online as there are quite a few networking Websites.
So set a goal for yourself in the number of people you want to add to your network
each week. Develop a plan. Remember that people in your network will not necessarily
get you the job but because they know other people the chances that someone in
your network knows someone who is looking to hire a person just like you are strong.
Finally remember networking is a two-way street. Once you become part of a network
you should work to make sure that you are not always asking folks in your network for
favors — that you are returning them as well.
For more on networking check out this section of Quintessential Careers:
The Art of Career and
Job-Search Networking
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