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Networking Info Guide

Apr 05, 2018



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    Networking and Informational



    Uncover the Hidden Job Market Create a Networking Strategy Plan Your Networking Meeting Explore Other Networking Opportunities What Is An Informational Interview? Prepare for Your Informational Interviews Sample Phone Script For Setting Up An Informational Interview Follow-up After the Informational Interviews Ask Good Questions During An Informational Interview

    Prepared by the

    Weston Career Center

    Olin Business School

    Washington University in St. Louis

  • 8/2/2019 Networking Info Guide



    Uncover the Hidden Job Market

    Networking is the best way to tap into the hidden job market - an immense underground

    marketplace in which jobs open up and are filled through word-of-mouth and personal

    referrals. More than 70% of the people who succeed in landing a job do so through

    networking. Whether youre entering the workforce for the first time or switching jobsmid-career, cultivating a network of contacts will yield benefits throughout your career

    and your career changes. In fact, the average person will change jobs seven to ten timesin a lifetime, a number that has increased in recent decades.

    Expand Your OptionsSkillful networking reveals positions that have not yet been posted or that will never be

    advertised. Networking can get your foot in the door before a position is available. When

    the job opens up, if youve established a relationship with the hiring manager, he or she

    will remember you before pondering the heap of faceless rsums that comes fromHuman Resources.

    Cultivate Contacts

    Networking involves gathering a list of contacts that might be able to help you with yourjob-hunting process. Networking begins with the people you already know and expands

    into an interrelated web of contacts by means of introduction to others.

    Through networking, you can:

    Get your message out and publicize your availability.

    Gather marketplace information and industry trends.

    Accumulate information on target organizations.

    Get advice and ideas.

    Locate sponsors, mentors, and job leads.

    Generate referrals that further build your network.

    Develop life-long contacts that may help you later.

    An important distinction exists between two different types of networking: The first isthe type of networking that focuses on finding a specific hidden job. The second of

    informational interviewing, is an approach that emphasizes learning more about a

    career. In the former, you are publicizing your availability and seeking potential job

    leads. In the latter, you are not looking for a specific job, you are gathering informationand advice to screen for potential careers and jobs before you decide to pursue them. We

    will review both of these vital tools in your job search strategy.

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    Create a Networking Strategy

    Networking is one of the most misunderstood dimensions of the job search process.Networking seems to come naturally to some people, but many job seekers are unsure

    about the process. This handout provides tips for getting you started with effectivenetworking.

    Build Your Contact List

    First, make a list of people you know, but not just people in the specific career field in

    which you are interested. Include them regardless of what they do or where they work.

    Dont exclude people just because you cannot see how they might be able to further yourcareer objectives. Be open to all possibilities at this stage. Include:

    Former high school and college classmates


    People from your family telephone directory - friends, relatives, doctors, dentists,

    insurance agents, accountants, your childrens soccer coaches

    Names in the rosters of organizations you belong to - alumni associations, fraternal

    groups, social clubs, athletic clubs, religious organizations, and neighborhood


    Start with people you know because common interests form the basis of connecting with

    people. Whether you share hobbies, ethnic or religious background, school attachments,

    or neighborhood concerns, these common interests motivate people to be willing to talkwith you. Also, people who have feelings for you, or for members of your family, want to

    see you succeed. Once you start contacting the people on your list, many will introduce

    you or refer you to other people. Your contact list will grow.

    PrioritizeRank the people on your list according to how comfortable you feel contacting them. At

    the top, put the person you feel most comfortable speaking with, then the person you feelnext most comfortable speaking with, etc. Continue prioritizing until you reach the point

    where you would feel a bit awkward contacting that person. Draw a line. Then continue

    to add names below the line until you have added everyone you can think of. If you

    remember more names later, insert them in the appropriate place on your list. Supposeyou have 30 names on your list and the line appears after number 12. The first 12 are

    people you know you can call and ask for a meeting with little discomfort. Youll

    approach the other 18 differently.

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    Overcome Your Fears

    Try not to be intimidated by the process. Most people enjoy and are even flattered by anopportunity to help. To a great extent, you will be networking with people you know or

    people with whom you have something in common. If you ask a friend or acquaintance to

    help you or give you some information, most will gladly comply if they can. Others have

    helped them in the past in their own job search process. When you contact people forinformation, they usually appreciate help theyve received from others and recognize that

    it is their turn to help someone else. This principle holds true even when the economy is

    sluggish, and the job market is depressed.

    Develop Your Positioning Statement

    Youll want to introduce yourself to everyone you meet. Dont memorize yourintroduction or positioning statement. You dont want to sound like a robot. Instead, keepyour introduction conversational in tone and draw from your education, experience,

    skills, achievements, and career goals. Above all, you should tell an interesting story

    about who you are. Include any of the following items that present you in a positive light:

    Undergraduate Education

    School, degree earned, extracurricular activities, scholarships, awards

    Previous Work Experience

    Number of years of experience in an industry or professional field

    Brief summary of two or three significant accomplishments, or contributions that relateto your future career goals and objectives

    Special projects, unique training, or international work assignments


    If you have completed CareerLeaderTM

    , use your results to talk about your interests,

    (i.e., Managing People and Relationships, Quantitative Analysis, Counseling and


    Use examples of how these interests have been used in your academic, professional, orextracurricular activities, and how they relate to your future career goals and objectives.


    If you have completed CareerLeaderTM

    , use your results to talk about your key skills

    (i.e., Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, and Managing People).

    Use examples of how these skills have been used in your academic, professional or

    extracurricular activities, and how they relate to your future career goals and objectives.

    Talk about your unique skills. This could include language, technical skills, special or

    unique training, travel, or interesting hobbies.

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    Future Career Goals and Objectives

    Talk about your future career goals and objectives. This could include industry interests,career fields of interest, skills you bring to a new position/company, or contributions you

    hope to make.

    Positioning Statement ExampleMy name is John Smith, and Im a first-year MBA student at the Olin Business School. I

    earned my bachelors degree in business administration at Emory University. As captain

    of my soccer team, I developed skills in leading and motivating my team to earn a spot inthe regional championships my senior year. I have worked for the past four years in

    change management with a large consulting firm where I worked with a variety of

    international clients. I led teams of up to ten people on projects ranging from six weeks tosix months. We consistently completed our projects within budget and with superior

    client satisfaction ratings. I am very interested in international business development and

    with the opportunities your company may have. Could you tell me a little more about

    business development and how it fits with your companys future objectives?

    Make Your First ContactsBuild confidence by first calling the people at the top of your list - the ones with whomyou feel comfortable. As you progress down the list, you will reach the line that separates

    those you feel comfortable contacting from those you dont know as well. At this point,

    try a different approach. Initiate contact by writing a short letter or email to introduce (orreintroduce) yourself. Explain your purpose for wanting to meet briefly and close by

    saying you will call to set up an appointment. When you call to follow up, your call will

    be expected, and the other p

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