How many times have you heard the phrase “It's not what you know, but who you know”?
When it comes to career success, knowing the right person or people can make the difference in getting a job lead,
scoring the interview and landing the right job. So you might be asking yourself “who are the right people to know?”
and “how do I meet them?” The answer is through networking!
There are many ways to build your network:
First, tap into your Service Provider’s network! Employment Networks (ENs) and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies work with many organizations and employers.
Your service provider can help you connect with information and opportunities from within their networks.
Second, leverage your personal network. Your personal network includes all of your family members, friends, neighbors,
people you have worked with and even casual acquaintances. Start a list of people you know, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly that list grows.
Then start contacting those people! Let them know that you’re looking for a job. Be specific about what kind of work you are looking for and
ask them if they have any information or know anyone in a relevant field. Don’t assume that certain people won’t be able to help.
You may be surprised by who they know and the connections they might have.
Finally, network online! Social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Plaxo are made specifically for professional networking.
Basic membership is generally free and these sites can help you grow and expand your professional network by connecting with prospective employers,
people they know, the people those connections know and so forth. Now, word of caution: when you sign up for online social networking sites, you are in a public domain.
Unless you are able to put a filter on some of your information, nothing is private, and it can be difficult to erase once it is posted. So share responsibly!
Practice effective communications. Keep your conversations friendly, but businesslike. You should be able to explain what you can bring to the job and what you hope to get from it.
Consider the concerns you have about your disability (if any) and the concerns you think others might have and how you will respond to them.
Write out your goals, your strengths and your plans for overcoming obstacles. This makes you more believable when talking to others.
Maintain your network. Keep your contacts informed about your efforts in the job search through phone calls, e-mails or brief handwritten notes.
And always remember that your ultimate goal is to develop cooperative relationships. That means giving as well as receiving.
Be sure to send a thank-you note within 24 hours of a conversation, ask them about their family, e-mail an article you think might interest them
and check in periodically to see how they’re doing. By tending to the relationship through your job search and beyond,
you will establish a strong network of people you can count on for ideas, advice, feedback and support.
Be sure to visit the resources embedded in this training module for more detailed networking tips. Click the right arrow to continue.