A Guide to Networking for Business Professionals

Networking is very important to professionals looking to break into new industries and those looking to improve professional connections. There are many different ways to network, including online networking, as well as more traditional methods. With the increased presence of the Internet, professionals have recognized the importance of Internet networking, but have failed to implement creative networking forums with staying power that function to benefit professionals. Networking is a means of sharing information between group members with a common interest. For the purposes meeting new business professionals and marketing one’s self as a professional, networking is very useful and can help prospective employees find the right business opportunity to suite their skills. Studies have shown that people who effectively market their skills set through professional networking are at least 12 times more likely to get positive result than those who only answer employment advertisements. With positive results such as this, it is understandable why people are so eager to utilize the Internet as a networking tool. During a time when joblessness is a problem for many Americans, marketing one’s skills set can make the difference between getting the job you want, and getting passed over for job.

Successful professional networking is not achieved without immense effort and commitment on the part of the prospective employee. Continual updating and revising are important to ensure that perspective employers have access to necessary paperwork to judge a potential employee’s potential. However, employers can not find quality employees by sifting through paperwork alone, they need to get to know potential employees in order to distinguish the worthwhile applicant from the less desirable applicants. To separate one’s self from the stacks of paperwork that employers receive, it is important to leave more than just your application with a potential employer. Consider utilizing web-based networking tools to create your own professional site with a working resume and work samples for potential employers to view. Using online resources can help make your professional portfolio easy for employers to get a better idea if you are a good fit for their company. Also, depending on your field of interest, an online portfolio can act as a means of further displaying your skills set. Face-to-Face meetings are also an important aspect of networking. Putting a face to a name is important to make a connection with a prospective employer, allowing them to not only get a sense of your work abilities, but to also see how potential employees might function in a professional environment. Preparedness is crucial to making a good impression in the professional world. Carrying business cards, a few copies of your resume, and contact information is a good idea in case an unexpected opportunity arises.

There are some aspects of networking that do not always translate from traditional networking strategies. For example, traditional networking often involves face to face conversation, interpersonal communication, and interviewing skills which do not easily come through via online networking. However, there are many online networking tools that can benefit job searchers, such as programs to help users build a resume, templates to construct a cover letter, search job applications, and connect to professionals in specific industries worldwide. Websites, such as LinkedIn and other networking hubs compile resources and allow users to sign into networks in an effort to touch base with prospective employers and other professionals. Consider utilizing some of the many networking resources available online to improve your chances of finding a job that is the right fit for you or make the connections to advance your career. Also, take advantage of local job fairs and other opportunities to use your traditional networking skills in your search for a better or different career.

Why Network

  • The Career Network - Understand the benefits of networking and how it effects your career development
  • Networking Know How - The basics of networking for students looking to jump start their career.

The Steps

Electronic Media

Building A Professional Identity

  • How to be a professional - Tips for how to sound and act like a professional. Includes email and phone etiquette, as well as networking.

How to Get a Job

  • Getting a Job – It Takes Work - Information every professional should have to help them be successful in their career search. Includes cover letter, resume, and interview advice.