Build Your Network

Networking is all about relationship building.

Despite the frequent use of the internet to job search, face-to-face contact is still the best way to land a job. At at least 60% - some report even higher statistics - of all jobs are found by networking. Develop a networking list - friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, people in associations - anyone who might help generate information and job leads. Then work to build these relationships, always keeping in mind to give before you take, and reciprocate when someone gives to you.

(Before networking):  Craft Your Elevator Speech

Find and Join a Professional Organization

It is especially good to join a professional organization while you arestill in college. Organizations typically give college students asignificant membership fee discount. Some organizations will continue the discount for "new professionals" during the first year out of college.

If you are wondering what organizations exist, check out the following directories. You will find that there are organizations in just about every industry and function, from the well-known to the small, unheard-of.

The ASAE Gateway to Associations Directory is easy to use and is updated daily to help you make networking moreconvenient. This directory service takes you directly to many of theassociations currently operating on the World Wide Web. The search resultsprovide a list of associations that meet your selection criteria.

Here are some other online directories:

And don't forget to simply Google to search for organizations.

Online Social Networking a.k.a. "Social Media"
 

Article:   How the Web Has Changed Job Searching

Learning how to network is crucial to your career. Building relationships with others is an important aspect of any job search. Today, online social networking is common for job seekers and recruiters. Don't be behind the curve. Watch this basic video to learn how online networking works. Then, explore LinkedIn below.

Social Networking in Plain English

LinkedIn

Over 75 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities. Job seekers as well as employed professionals are encouraged to join LinkedIn. Recruiters are using Linkedin to find job candidates. The Mercer Career Management Professionals are using Linkedin and there are various Mercer groups in Linkedin.

Enhance your career by using Linkedin!  

Go to www.Linkedin.com

Linkedin Learning Center for College Graduates - videos, tips and adviceon making the most of Linkedin for college grads

Learn how to tap into your network to connect with Mercer alumni, employers, and professionals to help you unearth opportunities and build your personal brand. Your LinkedIn profile represents your definitive professional image on Web and is discoverable through millions of searches on LinkedIn and Google.

Article:  10 Ways To Use Linkedin - by Guy Kawasaki

Here are some instructions for effective Linkedin use:

  1. Build a Professional LinkedIn Profile
  2. Professional Networking on LinkedIn
  3. Conduct Essential Employer Research in LinkedIn
  4. LinkedIn Etiquette Guide
  5. How to Find Your Career Passion (using Linkedin as a tool)
  6. Job Hunting Tips (using Linkedin as a tool)

 

Twitter

Using Twitter for Career Networking - Article by Daulton West, Jr.


Clean Up Your Digital Dirt

Now that you've learned about social media, let us mention something called"Digital Dirt."  Digital dirt is any negative information that you allow to be a part of your online profiles, no matter what networking site you use (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.). Employers can and will find your digital dirt simply by Google'ing your name. These days, employers are forced to look for anything that might help them screen the multitudes of qualified applicants. If they don't like what they see about you out there in cyber land, you're history.

As much as digital dirt can hurt you, having a polished professional profile on Linkedin can absolutely help you. We know for a fact that employers search for candidates in Linkedin and are attracted to professionals with quality profiles. We also know for a fact that employers are looking for candidates' Facebook and Twitter profiles to learn more about a person. Even though you mean for those sites to be personal, they too are apart of your professional image. Keep it clean!

Our message to you is to be concerned about your image. Be on your best behavior (or at least only publish things about your best behavior). Be careful who you befriend online. Your online friends can destroy your image just by posting inappropriate things. And remember, having NO photo of you is better than having an inappropriate photo! So, until you can make an effort to have a professional photo taken of you, just don't post a photo. 

Tip:  Decide what your goal is for using an online networking site. Then, strategically choose who will help you with that goal. Choose your network accordingly.

 

Do You Have a Personal Business Card for Networking?

If not, now is the time to get one. In today's job market, it is a fact that jobs are landed as a result of networking connections. Having a personal business card is a smart and inexpensive job search tool.

Creating a business card that looks professional and sends a "selling" message can be tricky. Check out these samples:

  • Sample Business Cards for Experienced Job-Seekers
  • Sample Business Cards for College Students with Minimal Experience

Get 250 quality business cards FREE through VistaPrint.
VistaPrint is a company that offers free business cards (among many other printied items). There doesn't seem to be any "catch" other than being willing to pay about $6 in shipping and clicking "No Thanks" to all of the advertisements that they offer during the checkout process. You will choose your card from a selection of 45 templates. Be sure to choose a simple, professional design.
Mercer Career Services gives VistaPrint a "thumbs up" on their business cards.

 

Resources to Learn More About How To Network: