Studies have shown that only about 5-10% of all new jobs are posted in the classified ads or on the Internet. The other positions are filled by word of mouth.
So whether you're looking for a new job or changing to a new career, networking is a vital tool for gathering information, talking to the right people and achieving your goal.
Networking can be done anytime, anywhere -- a train ride home, at a job fair, or in a social setting. So the most important first step in networking is to smile and be friendly. You never know with whom you might strike up an important conversation.
Here are some other tips on how to get the most out of networking:
Know what you're looking for. Speak succinctly about your talents, skills and goals. This makes a strong impression on your networking contacts, and lets them know you're serious about your future.
Be assertive. Networking means that you are working towards your goal -- advancement in your career -- so don't be afraid to promote yourself. Use your time with new people wisely. You need to give the unshakeable impression that you're confident. Say what you want, using as many specifics as you can.
Curb the desperation and start listening. Job-hunting can be stressful, but you don't want your own stress to make you appear pushy. Instead of asking someone for a job, listen to their advice. Most people love talking about themselves, so use this to your advantage by asking questions about their backgrounds and professional choices.
Your most valuable tools. Keeping an up-to-date resume, as well as business cards with your contact information, will make it easy to give people access to your information. After you meet with new people and gotten their contact information, follow up by making a call or sending an email telling them how much you enjoyed your meeting. This will keep you at the front of their minds.
Stick with it. Networking can be full-time work. The best networking produces contacts that can benefit you in the long-term. So don't get discouraged if you're not immediately satisfied by your results. Instead, concentrate on new ways and places to network.
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