Networking: You, Me, & We

What is networking, really? Networking is the act of building relationships, of sharing new ideas and giving & receiving support. Being part of a good, supportive network can provide new perspectives, fresh ideas, and access to new opportunities. By being proactive in your network, you no longer have to wait for the perfect job ad to be posted. You can instead tap into a hidden job market, another 30% of the available job openings that haven’t been publicly advertised.

Your network can and should consist of many different people in your life. From family and friends to neighbors to work colleagues to your connections on LinkedIn, all of these people can form part of a strong, helpful network. Networking is about sharing, not taking. It is about forming trust and helping each other towards goals. Regularly engaging with your contacts and finding opportunities to assist them helps to strengthen the relationship. By doing this, you sow the seeds for reciprocal assistance when you need help to achieve your goals.

Keep in mind what networking is not. Networking isn’t asking someone to give you a job, nor is it a job interview or a race to collect as many business cards / LinkedIn connections as possible. Networking, rather, is the act of talking and listening, of offering to be a part of someone else’s network, just as you are asking them to be a part of yours.

Nervous about networking? Here are some strategies to overcome your nerves:

  • Attend an event with a friend or colleague.
  • Give yourself a reward for taking the risk.
  • Set a goal: I will attend __ event/week.
  • Give yourself a set time to leave. Remember, it’s okay to leave early.
  • “Book End” the event. Touch base with a trusted friend prior to event. Touch base again after the event to process and evaluate.

Networking is an important step in growing professionally. It puts you in a good position for potential job offers, and allows you to hopefully provide them for someone else, one day. So go forth, readers, and network! Are you considering a career change, or looking for more networking strategies? Email us at We offer free initial consultations that will help you understand the job search process in greater detail.


By: Leslie Arnold, Career Solutions Group