The Art of Networking
Networking is one of the most important tools that job or internship seekers need to master. Since a majority of communication openings are never posted, knowing how to find the “hidden” job market is crucial. A career network provides support, suggestions, advice and leads.
COM Networking Resources
- COM Alumni Networking Group (COM Connection on LinkedIn)
- Seminar – networking using LinkedIn
- The Career Insider (find articles on networking and careers)
- Networking Reception at the Castle (annual events held each Fall and Spring)
Networking is essential to your job search and to your career. The idea is to develop a network of people who share information to help each other. It is the best strategy for finding the hidden job market.
Since most jobs are not posted, you must develop working relationships with people who can offer you information that will lead to job openings, perhaps even introduce you to the person who hiring. There is truth in, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
Networking has other benefits. You are creating a community of people who provide emotional support and information that will help each other. You will also learn about new positions appropriate for your skill sets and experience.
- Networking is a planned and ongoing effort
- Set goals and develop strategies for achieving them
- Evaluate how well your plan is working, and make changes as necessary
- Plan to network long-term – It is something that you do throughout your career
- Join professional associations and attend regular meetings
- Network with friends, former co-workers, and people you meet from day-to-day
- A good network has a healthy mix of both business and social contacts
- Practice networking etiquette
Create a Network by Making Connections
You create your job searching contacts by networking. There are a variety of ways to go about networking, you can attend an event specifically for this purpose (i.e. COM Alumni Networking Evening), but the best way to create a useful network is to constantly be networking.
The individuals that make up your network are called connections. A connection can be someone you worked with, a friend of your parents, an alum you met at a BU event, professors or even family and friends. Web sites like LinkedIn provide an easy way to keep track of your connections.
When you meet someone new whether it’s in a business meeting, on the subway or at a baseball game, open a conversation and learn a little about each other. Ask ‘Are you on LinkedIn? Do you mind if I send you a request to join my network?’ Chances are they will agree. Don’t be concerned about only including communications professionals in your network, you never know where opportunities may arise in the future.
The Difference Between Your Professional Network and Your Social Network
Facebook is a social networking site. You need to create a professional network to use throughout your career. You may end up with some of your Facebook friends in your professional network, but do not make the mistake of including those in your professional network as Facebook friends. Some communications professionals use Facebook as a networking tool, but most people see Facebook as a place for friends only and LinkedIn as a place for professional networking.
Maintain Your Network
If you’re using a site like LinkedIn, you can easily maintain your network. Update your ‘What Are You Working on Now?’ status and keep your profile current with your experience. Send e-mails periodically to touch base with the key people in your network. Once or twice a year is sufficient for maintaining a connection. You don’t want to become annoying, you just want to remind them who you are and what you’re doing.