Build Your Network
Personal contacts or "networks" are extremely important in a job search and should not be overlooked or shunned; this is not a time for a solo performance. In a study by Manchestor Consulting, an outplacement firm, they reported that of those who found new jobs, 65% were found as a result of networking. Personal contacts will not always get you a job, but they are a valuable source of information. Your contacts can:
- Provide you with an understanding of job options and the skills required.
- Provide you with a better understanding of the organization they work in.
- Provide the names of key people you should contact.
- Provide leads on job opportunities.
- Help get your resume read by the right people.
Four Steps to Successful Networking:
- Start with people you know: friends, relatives, neighbors, Greek organization members, parents of friends--the list is endless.
- Divide your list into three groups: Group A are people who can help you, Group B are people you think could be helpful, and Group C are good contacts who might be non-receptive.
- Set up brief meetings with your contacts, called an "Informational Interview"...see the guide The Interview for details.
- Keep a record of your contacts and always follow-up with a thank you note.
You can gain valuable career information from your personal contacts. In turn, your contacts will also have a network of contacts that they may share with you. It doesn't matter if you only know three people...networking with them will put you in contact with dozens of professionals!
Here are resources you can make use of in order to build your network:
The Hartwick Link: a networking effort which includes alumni, Hartwick parents and other friends of the college. The database is computerized and can be searched on by career fields or geographic location by putting a request into the Alumni Office.
MetroLink: Scheduled in several major cities, the program enables you to meet with alumni and parents to discuss career options and contacts, how you should approach your job search, and the employment outlook within their firms. You also have the opportunity to discuss issues to be mindful of when relocating to those cities.