Statistics have shown that nearly 85% of jobs are found through networking. Now is the perfect time to start building your network. Networking Worksheet
How to network:
Prepare your elevator pitch. Be able to say within 30 seconds who you are. Your profession (current/desired), degree (or level of expertise), and what's unique about you. Practice it. Be prepared to give your pitch anytime you meet someone that could be a networking opportunity.
Talk to people. Each interaction with a person is a potential networking opportunity; at the grocery store, at your child's soccer game, in line at the DMV, at the doctor's office. Ask them if they know people in your career field you could talk to.
Attend events. There are also events designed specifically for individuals to network. www.meetup.com is an online social calendar that allows you to search for events by zip code and topic/interest. You can also volunteer. Volunteering gives you a way to connect with others, fill your time positively, and grow your resume.
Join groups. LinkedIn provides online professional networking. Within LinkedIn are thousands of special interest groups that you can join. This is a good place to start learning about your desired career field, to connect with others, and grow professionally. Many professional organizations also offer free student memberships. www.linkedin.com
Informational Interviews. To learn more about your desired career field, contact local hiring managers to see if they would be willing to give you an informational interview. This is your chance to ask them questions about what they look for in a candidate, skills they desire, groups they belong to, etc. This is not a time you ask for a job! At the end of the interview ask them if they know one or two people they recommend you speak with next. Questions to ask during an informational interview.
Build your support group. These are people close to you. Let them know you are looking for a job, the industry, your skills, and how they can support you. They want to help! Be honest with them and let them know what stresses you about your job search.