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Networking for a job

In the context of a job search a network means “an extended group of people with similar interests or concerns who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support.”

A large component of a job search is networking. Networking skills will help you throughout your career in identifying new opportunities for career growth. Networking involves meeting people and talking to them about your field of interest or industry in an attempt to get information, such as locating possible job vacancies.
Networking is not a process of making cold-calls to people you do not know. It is a process of talking to people you do know or asking them to introduce you to others they know.

Networking is consistently cited as the best way to get a new job. 80% of the jobs available never get advertised because these vacancies are filled through referrals that come in via the networking channel.

Start by preparing a list of people you know and you may be surprised by the number and different types of people you have on your list. It is likely that one of your contacts from this very list can help you get a job.

Your contacts - friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, and people in associations - anyone may provide you information, advice or job leads. Contact everyone you know, through phone or email. If you are writing an email or a letter keep your message brief and to the point and be sure to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Industry people you may have met while researching your prospective field of interest can offer you an insider's view and constitute a contact network that can open doors which you may not even be aware of.

Online networking also works. If you are a part of a discussion group or email list, you can post your queries related to your job search. Usually list members are very forthcoming and help fellow list members. Always keep a track of whom you have emailed and where you have posted your query so that you can follow up.

Your college alumni can also be of great help if you can get in touch with them. Always thank your contacts for the leads provided by them even if nothing materialises from the leads they give.

Employers like to hire individuals who are connected in some way to people they know because this way they are hiring a known entity rather than risking time and money to train and retain an unknown entity.

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