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Network your way to a job

Focus your search on networking referrals.

While it’s still possible to find jobs through online and newspaper postings, many employers have enough applicants without advertising. And they often prefer to hire someone who's been referred by someone they already know and trust. They find applicants through personal referrals and social media.

How do I use networking?

Networking is a key part of job hunting. All it means is connecting with others about your job goal –in person and in written communications. Before you begin networking, think about what you want to say or write to others about yourself, and what you want to ask them. Try filling in this script, and practice until it sounds natural:

"Hi. My name is ____________. I was referred to you by (contact name) who said you may be able to help in my job search. I'm looking for work as a (type of job) in (a company, industry, or location). I really enjoy (aspect of the work you want to do), and I'm good at (job skill)."

After you’ve briefly stated these facts, you can ask for help or advice. For example:

  • Do you have any suggestions for me?
  • What can you tell me about this company / occupation / industry?
  • Do you know anyone who knows about (occupation or industry)? or who works for (company you’re interested in)? May I use your name to contact them?

How to develop your network

  • Use school sources. If you are a school or training program graduate, contact the school career center, alumni offices, and department or program faculty to help you find contacts. 
  • Join a professional, industry or business association. They are one of the best ways to learn about trends and unadvertised jobs. Many members are eager to help job seekers and often know employers with open positions. Association listings can be found online or at your local library, or visit Professional Associations.
  • Review your volunteer and community activities. List contacts you have made through unpaid work and involvements. Send follow up thanks or greetings and let them know your job goals. Ask for contacts or recommendations they might have in your field.
  • Target employers – send a resume or try to get contacts inside the organizations to request a meeting. Keep the attitude: you are seeking to help them solve their problem, and meet their need, not asking for favors.

Helpful tips

  • Networking is about helping other people as much as it is about getting people to help you. A reputation as a helpful networker goes a long way. The more you can help others with job leads and career advice, the more willing people will be to help you in return.
  • Having a recommendation from someone that you both know is very valuable.