Debra Feldman

Accelerate Your Job Search

Use these four easy steps to advance your career.

October 2, 2008
by Debra Feldman

Considering networking still holds the number-one position for finding new jobs, you'd think there would be abundant resources providing explicit instructions on how to network. While there are some excellent Web sites, the challenge remains: after you identify someone, what do you say to encourage a meaningful dialogue leading up to getting the information.

What Is Networking?

Networking is more of an art than a science, a gift blending communication and interpersonal skills. If you haven't been blessed with the networking gene, it's a skill you can develop and you should, given that over 70 percent of executive-level jobs are filled through personal connections. In fact, networking can be labeled mission-critical to career advancement, where who you know outranks what you know swaying decision-makers to choose between candidates.

Networking 101

Build and keep an active network as a form of career insurance. Networking delivers a competitive edge in the job market by providing you with inside leads. So how do you begin?

  1. Establish both strategic and practical networking expectations. Start your business network as you would launch a project. Take the lifecycle approach by specifying the stages and benchmarks to keep it moving in the right direction towards your goals and objectives.
  2. Set networking goals and objectives for yourself. Build business relationships with depth, commitment, value, frequency, trust factor and more in mind. To accelerate these and help a networking relationship flourish, it takes effort, purposeful actions to cultivate and nurture the right qualities. Always emphasize good manners, being empathetic and paying careful attention to the give and take of the relationship.
  3. Determine what you want or need and then identify ways to obtain desired results. Purposefully networking means designing a network that includes relationships to further your goals. Forming connections, sharing experiences and gaining insights from others with similar goals, interests and beliefs will benefit you because people with similar traits are more likely to assist and support you. Make a lasting positive impression and keep in touch. Remember that it's a two-way street of give and take. Be sure to send a thank you letter. Don't measure, just give generously.
  4. Use your time judiciously for networking. If you focus your efforts on opportunities that fit in with your plan, then you will be able to establish a few strong relationships that are both dependable and productive. You want to be on an influential, well-networked contact's radar.

Follow the easy steps listed above and before you know it, your network will include the "connected" individuals who will be instrumental in helping you land your next job.

© 2008 Debra Feldman

Rate this article 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor).
Send your responses here.
Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic, and customized senior level executive job search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision-makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques profiled in Forbes magazine. In addition to her private practice, writing featured columns and conducting exclusive workshops, Debra is a recommended resource to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.