Build Your Network

Did you know that most job openings are not advertised?  It's true — most employers have enough applicants without advertising. They often prefer to find employees from people they trust.  This network of referrals is the "hidden job market."  80-90% of jobs are now found using the hidden job market! You can tap into this network by getting to know people who can help you. The most effective use of your job searching time can be found through networking and through direct employer contact. Use the Networking Memory Jogger (pdf) to organize everyone that is in your network. Use the Networking Log (pdf) to keep track of who you meet and any other notes that can help you, or them, in the future.

Tips for Building Your Network
Ask for information.
  • You can ask about the occupation.  You can also ask about industries or employers. 
  • You ask about what you want to know.
  • Be polite.  Don’t be too pushy or you may turn people off.
Be prepared to talk about yourself.
  • Make sure you’re clear about your job skills and background for your job target. 
  • Have a resume ready.
Follow good networking habits.
  • It's about building relationships.
  • Think about ways to give something back to those who have helped you.
Find people in your job target.
  • Start with friends, family members, past coworkers, and neighbors. They may know someone in your target job.
  • Tell them about your career goals.
Send thank-you notes when people are helpful to you.
  • Always say thank you for any information or job leads you get.
Find a mentor.
  • This is a person who knows about the occupation you are interested in.
  • Get feedback on your job search ideas and questions.
  • Ask to shadow someone on the job.
Look into professional groups.
  • See if your job target has a professional group. Many members are eager to help job seekers. They may know employers with job openings.
  • Meetup is a great place to find targeted networking groups! You can even start your own group.
Keep your key contacts informed about your efforts in the job search.
  • Your key contacts want to help you.

“You can get everything you want in life, by helping enough other people to get what they want!” - Zig Ziglar

Build Relationships First
  • Focus outward rather than inward.
  • Seek to make a connection.
  • Build rapport, find common ground.
Caring Attracts/Neediness Repels
  • “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
  • Respect everyone
  • How you introduce yourself.
  • The five W’s.
  • Reflective listening techniques.
  • “To be interesting, one must be interested.”
The Law of Reciprocity
  • Be a go-giver not a go-getter.
  • What counts as a gift?
    Gifts can include: information, trust, praise & appreciation, feedback, access to network, contacts, references, invitation to an event, assistance (w/ difficult tasks), smile, positive cheer, positive exposure, acknowledge milestones, mentoring, personal note, caring, compassion, empathy, time, expertise, being courteous, cooperation, fun & laughter, listening. the afternoon off opportunities. access to something special (event, rides, people, etc.)
Grow Contact Base
  • Join networking groups.
  • Attend networking events.
  • Network everywhere.

Fearlessly Networking For Jobs. (e-book)  Ken Marsh
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.  Robert B. Cialdini Ph.D

What Networking Is: What Networking Is Not:
  • It is people talking to people for ideas, information, advice, feedback, and suggestions.
  • It produces information and information is power.
  • It’s the most valuable method for helping you achieve your objective goals in every part of your life.
  • It’s making others feel good about themselves and about you.
  • It moves you forward.
  • It gives you the power to act, rather than waiting for others.
  • It is not just asking for favours.
  • It is not just collecting a big list of names to impress others.
  • It is not small talk or idle chit chat.
  • It does not always bring immediate results.
  • It is not just using a contact once.  (It is developing contacts for a lifetime).
  • It is not, ever, a waste of time or effort.

Networking Cards
Networking cards are similar to business cards and are used in much the same way. Networking cards contain information including: your contact information, and your unique selling proposition or brand.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A USP is used to differentiate one product from another.  Usually, it is the one reason consumers will buy a product even though it may seem no different from many others just like it.  It may be that the product has a lower price, more convenient packaging, or it may taste or smell better or last longer.  What is the one thing that makes you unique?  What makes you better than any other candidates applying for a similar position with this company?  What can you offer that no other applicant can?  What is the one reason that the employer should want to hire you above all other candidates?

Pertinent Contact Information
This is information necessary to contact you. This includes: your name, phone number, e-mail address, postal mail address, and cell phone number.

Networking cards can be created using MS Word and printed at home, at a print shop, or you can create them using a website like

On your Computer in MS Word:

  • Go to the “tool” menu from the top row.
  • Choose “Envelopes and labels” from the “Tools” menu.
  • Under “Options”, find the name of the paper manufacturer (Avery) and then find the correct product number in the lower left corner.
  • Type in the information you want on your card in the text box and hit “New Document.”
  • You can then format the cards exactly as you want them to print.
  • Print the final versions (on a high quality inkjet or laser printer only!)


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