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Navigating Your Network

Discovering how to utilize your networking connections isn't as hard as it can appear, you just need to examine your current and potential connections.

Elizabeth Hoyt

February 10, 2015

Navigating Your Network
When you’re trying to build a career, making a connection can make all the difference in getting the job of your dreams. Discovering how to utilize your networking connections isn't as hard as it can appear, you just need to examine your current and potential connections. Here’s how to make your network better work for you:

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• Build from Your
Current Network

You’ve likely already identified your current network as individuals you’ve made contact with that are helpful in making connections. Reach out to them, asking if they have any suggestions on how you can expand your network. They may be able to suggest networking events or keep you in mind the next time they are meeting up with contacts they have that you might like to network with as well.

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• Rediscover Contacts You Already Have

Everyone in your life – from family friends, professors and people you’ve gone to school with – is fair game. Stay in touch and reach out to those who would be value contacts within your network. You never know who someone may know, so it’s always great to maintain positive relationships with people.

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Even though someone may not be in your given field, they may have a contact that is, so spread the word that you’re looking for career connections.

• Utilize All Resources

You likely have plenty of resources around you – many of which you may not have even considered.
Career center –
Your college career center, for example, is abundant with resources. They have workshops to help with interviewing, your resume and cover letter, job listings and sometimes even alumni connections.
Networking events –
Look online for local networking events that you can attend. These events offer great opportunities for you to make contacts that you never would have otherwise met and expand your network.
Join organizations and clubs for your given field –
If you join organizations and clubs that involve your field, they are guaranteed to host events you can attend, which will be full of professionals within your field you’ll be able to network with. What better way to get into an entire room of professionals who could potentially hook you up with a career?

• Establish a Social Media Presence

While you likely already have a social media profile on a variety of web sites, it’s time to either start fresh and create new, professional profiles or clean up your current profiles to ensure they are professionally sound. Keep your profiles up to date with the latest on your job and education status and make connections with important business contacts you’d like to get to know. Those connections can make all the difference in the world – so sharing professional articles, networking workshops and opportunities in the like can build relationships that could lead to your next big career break!

• Informational Interviews

It can be very helpful to network through the informational interview. Contact people in positions that interest you and ask to setup an interview, purely to discover more about their job description, as well as their path to success. Most people are flattered and will likely oblige. It is important, however, to actually keep the interview informational. It will not work in your favor to go in under the pretense of an informational interview and try to sell yourself for a job. If you do stick to the informational interview, you are likely to leave with valuable information and a great networking contact.

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