Networking Networking is a key skill in today’s economy and in job search security. Through networking, you can generate offers of support, contacts and other resources; you don’t have to conduct a job search alone! Since a significant number of position openings are never advertised (50-85%), the job changer or seeker needs to know how to tap into this hidden market. Networking can help you identify hidden opportunities. Conventional wisdom says, “It’s all about who you know”. But, the reality is that it’s also about who you meet and the quality of relationships you develop with these people. The most successful networkers build relationships of mutual benefit. They tell who they are and what they are interested in and ask for information and advice. In turn, they acknowledge the experience and expertise of the networking contact and share their resources and offers of mutual assistance with the contact person. See also the following resources on networking from Regis Career Services: Networking Relationships: The Key to the Hidden Job Market Networking Guide Information Interviewing Guide E-Networking E-Networking is a process and resource that takes traditional networking techniques and launches them into cyberspace. It allows you to create a community of virtual contacts who can provide critical information on industry trends, possible job openings and contact names for your job search. Because the process is focused on building relationships, it needs to be tended to regularly and each email needs to be clearly thought through and grammatically correct. Abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons should be avoided. Your written communication skills make the first impression as you network with professional contacts. In addition to referrals from your own network, you can be active on some of the networking sites listed near the end of this document. Advantages of E-Networking Online interactions make it easier for the job seeker who is intimidated by calling strangers (even with a referral) or setting up personal meetings. Although successful networkers use a combination of traditional and e-networking, they can use cyberspace to jumpstart the complete networking process. E-Networking gets more immediate responses. People who are email fluent regularly check their mail and typically respond within 48 hours. Someone who is not interested simply won’t respond. Everyone on the Internet is accessible to you. You can initiate contact and develop a relationship with anyone who has publicized their email address. You also can use lists that are internal to many sites. These might include sites for professional associations, business directories and trade journals, chambers of commerce, and resources like Hoovers Online Directory of Companies. Some sites sponsor in-person networking events which then allow you the opportunity to enhance the relationships you’ve developed online. Successful E-Networking Tips Make initial contacts broad but continue selectively. Focus on those that meet your needs. Use “business casual” language so you can strike a tone somewhere between a formal business letter and a casual note to a friend. Identify yourself and your intent to improve your job search methods in such a transparent way that someone would feel comfortable networking with you. Remember: a contact’s reputation is at stake when he/she makes a referral (as is yours). You need to make a solid connection with each contact. Let you contact know how you found their name and contact information. Identify common interests and be prepared to ask relevant questions. Be visible with thoughtful contact when you email. An example is the creation of a monthly online newsletter about your progress, which you would send to your solid contacts. Thank each contact for their help, advice, information and referrals. Invite them to call you when there are ways you can reciprocate. Be a source! If you learn something of interest to a contact, call or email the contact to share this. Keep relevant networking contacts current! Online Safety Tips While e-networking is a fast and efficient means of communicating with professional contacts, you want to be certain of the terms, conditions and risks of using online networking sites. Make sure you are fully aware of all charges for any site you use. Stick with sites that are free of charge when possible and be aware of costs you may face following an introductory period. Be aware of the security provisions on the site, including encryption on any site where you enter your credit or debit card number. Remember that any information you post on a website can be read by persons to whom you did not intend to grant access. Hackers look online for personal information to steal; never enter your Social Security Number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name or other personal identifiers online. Keep in mind that potential employers sometimes search networking sites as part of a background check, so be careful about personal information and photos you upload. With a little healthy caution, you can enjoy the benefits of online networking while minimizing the risks. E-Networking Sites Regis CareerLink - In addition to posting your resume and searching for jobs and employer profiles, the Alumni Career Network provides opportunities to contact alumni for information about careers and industries. LinkedIn – premier professional networking site (7.5 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries). Ryze – business networking based on personal interest (basic service is free; cost if upgrading search). GovLoop – State, local, federal and international public sector networking - students are welcome (basic service is free; cost if upgrading search or profile). Fast Company Fast Company magazine’s global readers’ network of self-organizing local discussion, networking and mentoring groups. It is useful to begin e-networking. As a member of the readers’ network, you can build your own personal profile and use your digital business card to network with other CoF members in your area. Reunion.com– developed to help people sty in touch with high school and college classmates, but used by other groups for news and networking. Classmates.com – college and high school classmates stay in touch and plan reunion events. Regis University Alumni Online Community - find fellow alumni, post your business card and register for events. Egroups.com - a free email group service that allows you to easily create and join email groups. The business and finance area is a solid place to meet other e-networkers. This site is now connected with Yahoo. Professional Associations are among the better resources for networking and often include opportunities to make initial contacts through listservs, online networking groups and direct email. To research professional associations, Dayton Memorial Library has excellent directories. You may also start your search on the Internet Public Library Associations on the Net. Tracking contacts Create a system that helps you keep track of contacts you’ve made. This would include dates of contact, referrals from the contact, email/phone information and areas of professional or personal interest of the contact. Based on the strength of the relationship you build, note how often you might want to either email or call each person and and address your purpose. Your efforts in all aspects of e-networking, person-to-person, and phone conversations will yield greater results than traditional (and more passive) job search methods. Career counselors in Regis University Career Services can help you with your career development needs, including developing your own strategy for effective networking using online resources to enhance face-to-face networking. Call 303.458.3508 (800.388.2366 x3508) to make an in-person or telephone appointment.