A network is a group of people who exchange ideas, information, and contacts. Networking involves adding people to your own personal network and interacting with them, it is the best way to pursue and acquire a career.
The purpose of networking is two-fold:
1. Remain Prepared. Always have an updated resume and business cards with you. Prepare a sixty second “elevator pitch” in which you can quickly explain who you are and what your goals are.
2. Know who you are. Take self-assessments and join groups (including online groups) with people who have similar interests or have been successful in the area you are pursuing.
3. Volunteer. Volunteer positions are a great place to build connections and they allow you to meet new people, gain experience, and make a positive contribution to a cause you believe in.
4. Be intentional about meeting people and staying in touch. Take a genuine interest in those around you. Understand that networking is a way of life, not an activity. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, invite someone to coffee or lunch, and ask questions.
5. Express gratitude. Extend your thankfulness and continue communication by writing a personal thank you note. Personable and relationally rich actions give honor and respect to other people.
The common connection between networking in person and networking online is people.
Networking in person begins with a great first impression and continues to build lasting relationships. Networking results in unlimited benefits such as identifying potential employers, researching field interests, and collaborating with career partners. Relationship building is the primary goal of networking.
Research is the focus of online networking, and it can open doors to potential employers, investors, or contract workers. Online networking alleviates the frustrations of time and geography in job searching. Online networking goes beyond social media, companies may host interactive content or participate in forums you can use to learn more about your potential employer.