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What is Networking?
A network is an interconnected group of people who can be used as resources for your search for a career or a job. Networking is the process of building a group of supporters or contacts that provide information and guidance for each stage of your career development. A large group of professional connections can be an invaluable tool as you explore different talents and interests, career options and industries.
Why is Networking Important?
Even though many job seekers look to classified ads and online listings as a search technique, estimates show that only 10% to 20% of jobs are ever published. Other surveys suggest over 50% of jobs are filled solely through networking!  For this reason, building connections with people needs to be an important part of any job search strategy. Job Fairs, club and organizational events provide great opportunities to begin making connections.
Tips about Networking:
Start building your network by forming a list of natural acquaintances and contacts which can include: Family and their friends, friends and their families, the Lyon College Alumni Career Network, volunteer affiliations (clubs, organizations, church, etc...), professors, colleagues, and other professionals.
Building a network is an investment. It takes time to build a group of professional contacts and it may take longer to locate the information you need. Don't expect results to be immediate. If you are a student, work on expanding your circle. You never know which conversation could help lead to your future!
- Be prepared and create an action plan. Make a positive first impression. Research before you meet potential contacts. Know what you are talking about and know what information you want to come away with.
- Ask potential contacts for advice...not a job. View the sample questions below.
- Networking is about building meaningful relationships. Having ten meaningful contacts is better than having twenty casual ones.
- Obtain referrals whenever possible before conducting job interviews. Be sure to mention the name of the person who referred you.
- Stay proactive and dedicated. Networking is an on-going process and is only as good as you want it to be!
- Be sure and remember to thank those that helped you find a job!
Sample Networking Questions
Networking is not about being artificial or phony. It is the art of small talk. And like any other skill, your ability to network will get better with practice and experience. Use these sample questions as a guide to improve your networking abilities, but remember to personalize these questions to your specific needs and style. Be genuine!
What skills or talents are required for your position?
What college experiences and studies relate to your current position?
What do you find most challenging about your job?
What do you like and/or dislike about your job?
What specific skills have you acquired in your position?
Is your field growing? How many are entering the profession?
What are different types of jobs in this field?
How have industry changes affected your company?
Are there any future developments in the field that could present future opportunity?
How did you get your job?
What is the outlook for entry-level professionals in this field?
If you could start all over again, would you change your career path?
How do most people enter this profession?
What qualifications do you usually seek in a potential new hire?
Are there any training programs? What skills and experience are necessary?
What is the working atmosphere like?
What types of positions would my experiences qualify me for?
How would you suggest I change my resume to make it better?
What personality traits are most useful for success in this field?
Is there anything else I need to know?
Who else would you recommend I speak to about advice?