Networking is the single most effective method of gathering career-related information, developing contacts within a community or an industry, and uncovering the hidden job market.
The Hidden Job Market
Approximately 80 percent of available positions are never advertised. Most employers prefer informal and personal methods of identifying employees and believe personal contacts result in more in-depth, accurate, and up-to-date information. Networking does not eliminate the need to use other job search methods, but it will produce helpful referrals from approximately 60 percent of your contacts.
The way to develop your network is by talking to people. Networking allows you to tell people about yourself and enlist their support and helps you gather information about available opportunities. The discussion can be formal, such as a meeting at the professional's work site, or casual, as it might be if you met an acquaintance at a party. Join LinkedIn! It is a great professional resource to network, find opportunities, and research companies.
How To Network
Determine the types of referrals you need—are you seeking information about career options or specific employers and positions? Start by compiling a list of initial contacts and the questions you would like to ask them, such as:
- How does one learn about job opportunities in this field? In this organization?
- What skills and experience do you look for when you hire?
- Can you suggest anyone else in the field I might speak with?
- Would you please let me know if you hear of an opening?
- Do you know anyone working in this field?
- May I use your name when I call?
- If you hear of an opening, would you please let me know?
Tips for Successful Networking
- Make courteous initial contact, requesting a reasonable amount of the person’s time.
- Send a brief email stating how you got the person’s name, why you would like to speak to him or her, and that you will call to arrange a meeting time.
- Include a copy of your resume, noting that it is for background information only.
- Ask for information, not a job. If you make a good impression the contact will let you know of any openings.
- Arrange face-to-face meetings whenever possible.
- Use affiliations to enhance your networking, such as professional and community-based organizations, fraternities, and sororities.
- Be politely persistent. There are many reasons a person will be unavailable on the first or second try.
- Try to obtain several referrals from each person you contact. Organize your contact information to remind yourself when to make make a phone call, write a letter, or send a thank-you note.
- Follow up on leads and keep your contact informed of your progress. If you do not pursue a specific suggestion, let your contact know because he or she may have already made a call on your behalf.
- If you meet someone in person, give them a business card.
More Ways to Develop Networks
- Participate in an internship or externship and use that opportunity to interview for information.
- Call an organization's human resource department directly and ask for the name of someone who works in a department of interest to you.
- Chambers of commerce, community service centers, and membership rosters of professional associations are sources for career-related information.
- Cornell Engineering Alumni are an important resource. Join LinkedIn. Use CCMentors to identify alumni willing to assist. Meet alumni through on- and off-campus career events and social activities. Identify Cornellians in news articles and request information interviews. Join your local Cornell Club after graduation.
- Find more information on networking and building your professional network (including a networking plan and a who do you know worksheet).
Big Red Bulletin Board, New York City
The Cornell Metro New York Regional Office invites you to join the Big Red Bulletin Board, a Yahoo! groups page that offers an on-line forum for alumni and students to post messages to others in the Metro NY region. Tap into Metro NY Cornellians to network, job search, find or list apartments, learn about volunteer opportunities, buy or sell items, invite alumni and students to events, ask advice, and more!
To join the group:
1. Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/big_red_bulletin/ and click "join this group."
2. You will need to create a Yahoo! user ID and password. Please include your full name and class year when you submit your membership request.
3. You can specify how you would like to receive messages: as individual messages, a daily digest or by visiting the website.
4. You can post messages by visiting the web site or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org from the address subscribed. Please include your full name and class year in your message.