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Creating a Successful Career: Networking

You have it heard it, “knowing someone” is the key to getting a job. Making connections, better known as networking, can not only be used to obtain a job, but it is a good tool to use to boost yourself up the corporate ladder or become aware of new developments in your field. It creates a community of people who support and provide information to each other.

Added benefit—you may have the satisfaction of providing the key piece of information that makes a real difference in the life of one of those in your network. “Networking can lessen feelings of isolation,” said veteran jobholder Coleen Chrystal. “It also ensures that you have access to, and knowledge of, current contacts in your field.”
 
Forming the Connection
So how do you get to “know someone” in your career field? Easy, you meet and greet everywhere. Whether you are waiting tables, at an event, or interning for a company, make sure to engage in small talk; that person may be able to help you out down the line.
Staying in touch and reaching out to these contacts is the key to networking, so don’t forget to leave a way for them to contact you or for you to contact them. This includes people at an internship, a former employer, people you meet at a conference, or former classmates and professors.

“Although I knew I had plenty of valuable experience through internships, I spent a lot of time applying for jobs online with no success,” said job seeker Justin Herrera. “Meeting people during those internships really helped me after college.”
 
Keeping in Touch
E-networking can be a helpful tool in keeping contacts. Simple short messages letting someone know what you have been up to or to saying hello keeps contacts in the loop and you in their minds.

According to Sandra Kerka in her work Virtual Networking for Career Development: Trends and Issues Alert, this transformation of networking eliminates the fear of making initial contact and the stress of first impressions, it overcomes restrictions of location, time, or money, it makes responses faster and easier and it facilitates management of a large number of contacts.

Basically, the Internet, through e-mail and social networking, has allowed for greater opportunities and a wider array of possibilities for job seekers in the respect of keeping in contact with old employers, classmates, professors, and friends. These are the people that will give you the inside scoop on jobs that are not listed yet. That “in” is a foot in the door for you.
However, networking can also be done in person.

“Nothing can substitute for meeting in person, whether you attend formal seminars, or informal luncheons,” says Chrystal. “Telephone conferencing is another form of networking I enjoyed.”
 
Use Networking Resourcefully
Always use a professional voice when getting in touch with former people that you have worked with and new contacts. It is important to update your network buddies with formal language, correct grammaticism and spelling and a professional tone of voice, so that you are taken seriously.

Update contacts with any resume building things you have been involved in since you last talked with them, mention your goals and ask how they are doing. For an added touch, ask about personal things you learned from when you met them. This will not only help them remember you but will remind them how much they liked you!
 
Go for it!
Forming and keeping a network can be hard at times, but it is impertinent that you keep in touch with your contacts to pursue your career goals. You never know when a contact will be able to help you out.

“Always make time to network,” says Chrystal. “Doing so can help with burnout by reigniting your enthusiasm for your field and it provides you with people with whom to commiserate and to celebrate. Networking keeps your finger on the pulse of what’s happening.”

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your career field?

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