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The Networker’s Guide to Building a Career

November 26, 2015

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How is it that some people can land high paying high profile jobs without having to hunt for it in the first place? The answer lies in the simple truth that they were well informed about the opportunity by someone. This is the direct result of a series of interactions with people in the know that led the job seeker along the path to success. This is known as networking and acquiring its skill is critical to your career development.

But where does one start to build relationships with people that will influence the finding of opportunities in the future? Networking like charity begins at home. You begin with those closest to you – your family, friends and co-workers. The goal of networking is not the expansion of the circle of people you know. But it includes a deeper research and information gathering component that you need to learn how to do.

Building a portfolio of reliable contacts whom you can turn to for job leads, career advice, and even insider information on a company you may be interested in will be the proverbial fruits of your networking efforts. To seriously make networking work to your advantage, follow the outlined steps below.

Step One: Brush up on your basic job hunting skills. Find out if you’re searching for a job in the right way or whether you need to adjust your course of action.

Step Two: Prepare a critical analysis of your main strengths and define for yourself the most appropriate type of jobs you will be suited to. At the same time know your limitations if any and how they will cause you to avoid certain jobs. Know thyself as it were, as it will predetermine your eventual career choices.

Step Three: Brush up your CV to reflect how your new found understanding of your perfect job choice matches your personality. Remember though that the goal of your CV is not to land you the actual job in question, but rather to lead you to the final networking step of an interview.

Step Four: Set up a system that will help you network most effectively. This could be a spreadsheet or database you implement on your own to keep a record of people you need to know. You can structure it, so it is easy to refer to for names, numbers, email addresses, and even keep track of meetings and past engagements. Jotting down such imperative information in a journal will also prove useful if you prefer not to use your computer for this.

Step Five: Make it a point to keep in touch with people on your network listings. Since you have their contact details it should be easy to reach anyone at a moment’s notice should you need to. The most important factor is that you remain open to the idea to turn to them for assistance. If you express your needs and career expectations in an honest and professional manner, you will find many who are eager to help you progress further.

Step Six: Connect with those people who are already employed in your desired job space or industry. You can learn a great deal about the field you intend getting into simply by having close contact with people on the inside. The primary purpose is not to wave a job seeking flag in front of these people, but to develop the knowledge that will see you succeeding in the field when the right opportunity comes your way.

Step Seven: And lastly do not forget to follow up with your established network. People appreciate it when you give them updates and remind them how their assistance has played a positive role. Showing them your gratitude will strengthen the relationship even more and motivate them to render you assistance without your asking in future.