You’ve heard all the data on how most jobs result from networking. You know it is important but you are stumped. You don’t know anyone with a great job at a highly successful company so what are you to do?
You already have network. The people you know are your network – family, friends, current and former coworkers, former classmates, faculty members, etc. All these contacts are sources of valuable networking connections. While they might not have the right connections for the jobs you seek, remember each one of them also has a network of connections.
It is important to have a focus. You can build a huge network but if no one works in companies, industries or roles that interest you, there is less you can learn from them. Identify your target list of companies and focus your networking efforts on finding connections in those companies or their competitors. Once you are connected to the companies on your list, try to find connections in the functional area that interests you.
To build your network, it is easiest to start with people you know and then expand from there. Here are some possible sources of networking connections:
- Family, friends and neighbors
- Professional associations
- Community, religious, political or social organizations
- Faculty, advisors and Career Center staff
- Your current and former classmates
- Former employers and co-workers
- Your parent’s friends and your friend’s parents
It is easier than ever to find connections. Utilize LinkedIn to find people you know and see who they know as a way of expanding your network.