How to network in order to find a job ?

Many people perceive networking as a new trend even though it has always been used. Every person has a network of friends, colleagues, teachers, managers, career consultants, business contacts, and more. We don't always think of it as networking although referrals stem from networking. The people that know how to network gain the most benefits in the long run. Apart from building solid relationships, it also enhances career possibilities, business expansion, and general goodwill. Even when you attempt to build a career, you will notice how knowing the right people can be a benefit.

There are a few things that people assign to networking that are not true. Many persons regard networking as a work method when it is actually an integral part of our lives.

If you want to know how to network, you should start with who you already know. Make a list of people that you know and people you once knew. Include neighbors, school friends, colleagues, business owners, teachers, lecturers, and people in your support group, the parents of your children's friends, suppliers, clients, and service providers. The list will get longer as you start to remember. Use your old address book, emails, correspondence, business cards, and greeting cards.

Function of the reference list
Update the list at least once a week. Note birthday dates, addresses, interests, business types, positions held, expertise, level of acquaintance, and names. You will use the list to bring people in contact with each other and you may sometimes have to make use of one of the contacts for something you need. It is however not always about what you can get from the contacts, but how you can assist people.

Expecting something in return
If you do something for another person, don't expect that he must return the favor. Refer people in goodwill and you will eventually reap the benefits. If you however need assistance, a product or a service, you must ask help. Others cannot be expected to know what you need if you don't ask for assistance. If you need assistance then ask in such a manner that it is possible for the person to say no without being embarrassed but also makes it a pleasure to say yes. This is what people who know how to network do.

Treat people as valuable and not merely as tools
Networking isn't a term for using people, but rather for assisting people. Persons, who know how to network, do it in a manner that enhances their relationships and brings advantages to all parties. Make two lists. The first list is for those you have done something and the second list is for those who did something for you. Most people want to return a favor and will gladly assist you when you call in the marker in a polite manner. Start returning favors, lunch, tickets, advice, or assistance, and referrals for those who already did something for you. Networking is about sharing and returning favors.

What do you have to offer?
We all have some knowledge, skills, and resources that we can share with others. Make lists of the things that you can do for others. You may for instance be an excellent hostess and can host an event for a friend or colleague, or can do sign writing, build a website, take pictures, have an extra couch available, or can proofread a document. The list can become endless.

The do's of 'how to network'

  • Give recognition for assistance, gifts and referrals.
  • Keep in contact with the people on your lists.
  • Share your resources, skills, knowledge and ideas.
  • Be someone who is involved.
  • Deliver on your promises.
  • Sometimes just surprise someone with a gift, note or even lunch.
  • Recommend people and be sincere in your compliments.
  • Keep your contacts updated on new events.
  • Always follow up on conversations and referrals.

How to network - never:

  • see networking as sales
  • judge people too quickly
  • name drop without the knowledge and permission of a contact
  • force a relationship on others
  • force your opinion on others when they didn't ask for it
  • accept recognition for the work and ideas of other people
  • just take without giving something in return
  • blame others for your mistakes
  • ask personal questions
  • make a nuisance of yourself
  • pressure people
  • stand too close to people
  • forget to admit when you are wrong
  • tell lies or exaggerate
  • discriminate on any basis
  • fear to risk

These guidelines on how to network should help you in building a large network of reliable contacts.