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Ask Dr. Tom

Networking: March 2011 Archives

Job searching for many means the classifieds on Sunday. Other strategies include: targeting employers directly, utilizing college career centers, recruiting firms/employment agencies, volunteering, professional associations, Internet job searching, career fairs, and job search clubs. However, most career books argue the number one job search strategy is networking: the neglected art of schmoozing.

Networking is a skill and a planned process of becoming known through professional and social meetings, to people who can provide information about career opportunities. Remember these tips for effective networking:

1. Get Focused - Define your top 3 goals for networking events or meetings.

2. Identify Your Network - Stay organized with a system to track your contacts. There are 3 circles of contacts of varying quality: An inner circle of your closest contacts, a middle circle of individuals with whom you associate, and an outer circle of lesser known contacts.

3. Prepare For Networking - Start by contacting one person and then build your list from there.

4. Contact Your Network - Networking by phone is okay, but respectfully request a 20-30 minute meeting. Since no one likes to be used, cultivate your network and be relationship oriented.

5. Set Up Informational Interviews - Meeting people at their work site is convenient for them, allows you to explore diverse work environments and you will learn "inside information."

6. Obtain Additional Referrals - Tap into other peoples' networks adding new individuals to your list and requesting permission to use their name when contacting the new names. Collect business cards if possible.

7. Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up - Taking the initiative and showing interest in others will keep your name fresh in people's minds.

8. Evaluate Regularly - What have I learned from this process? What sacrifices will I undertake to get the job I want?

9. Be Patient - Establish reasonable goals for networking each month to achieve your short- and long-term goals.

10. Network For Life - Build your professional connections before you actually need your next job. Since at least 50% of all jobs are secured by networking, you are better off networking than NOTworking.

Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC - March 18, 2011

Dr. Thomas J. Denham

Dr. Tom Denham is the founder of Careers In Transition LLC, a private practice which focuses on career counseling for individuals and consulting services for institutional clients. Dr. Tom has over twenty years of career services experience at Siena and Union Colleges as well as Harvard, St. Lawrence and Boston Universities.

Dr. Tom founded Northeast Public Radio's award winning talk show, The Career Forum and speaks extensively on career management issues. He earned his bachelors from St. Lawrence University, his masters from Boston University and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

He has climbed over 180 mountains including the Adirondack 46, Oregon's Mt. Hood and The Grand Teton. In 2009, he survived a huge crevasse fall on Mt. Rainier by ice climbing his way out. Tom lives where he grew up in Albany where he would rather be ice and rock climbing and raising his 11 year old daughter, Rachel.

Dr. Tom Denham has been a professional career counselor for over 20 years. He helps people explore their options with career testing, make job changes and write resumes and prepare for interviews.

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