Education Career Services

December 3, 2009

Optimize Your Network!

Published author and writer with Education Career Services

As I caught up with a dear childhood friend this past holiday weekend; we discussed many career-related topics.  Our conversation spanned possible future career choices to going back to school and so on.  It was the topic of networking which inspired this particular blog entry. 

She understands networking very well and in fact utilized it to advance in her career.  My work with her will involve defining her next career goal and assembling a resume which positions her in the best possible light.  But I got to thinking about how so many people overlook the resources they have at their immediate disposal.  I want to get readers thinking outside-of-the box when it comes to networking. 

After all, you just never know who might introduce you to your next big opportunity.
Let’s look at five possible networks:

Business Associates: When you think of professional networking, this is probably the first category which comes to mind.  It’s a good place to start.  Former and current associates can be a great source for career opportunities, but this is just a beginning.

Professional/Social Associations: This is a very large group of potential networking contacts.  Many of them might not know the details of your career, but they are likely open to looking over your information and passing it along to someone they might know.  But don’t limit this category’s possibilities.  Professional and social associations could include the following:

                Industry Associations
                Interest Groups
                Alumni Associations
                PTA Groups
                Church Organizations
                Neighborhood Watch Committees
                Hobby Groups

Friends and Family: Some people have no problem asking friends and family for favors.  But if you are like me, this is the last group you want to hit up in a job search.  Yet this group might be the best suited for providing you valuable direction in your career search.  Since your friends and family may know what you do but not be well-versed in your accomplishments, don’t feel shy handing them a resume highlighting your career details.  In fact, you should provide a resume to all networking contacts.  Don’t assume that knowing you equates to knowing what makes you valuable as an employee.

Online Networks:  If you are not a member of a professional online network such as LinkedIn, consider putting a profile up today.  However, don’t underestimate the value of online social networks as well.  Reconnecting with old high school friends means connecting with people who developed careers in the years since you last saw or spoke with them.  As you reminisce about football games and evil teachers, if you discover they are in a career field which interests you – don’t be afraid to let them know you are looking for a new opportunity.

Old Professors:  If you think college instructors were just there to give you a grade, you were wrong.  They are vital sources for career advancement.  Think of the number of people who pass through their classrooms an onto industry success.  Students – cultivate relationships with current and past instructors!  Everyone else, contact old professors and see if they remember you.  Strike up a conversation about your career and your goals.  They likely will be able to put you in contact with someone who can help you, but expect to repay the favor someday.

Hopefully this blog has given you some new ideas about someone you can contact in your career search.  Remember to prepare a dynamic resume highlighting your accomplishments and value so they can pass it along with their recommendation or introduction.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

1 Comment »

  1. Old friends and colleagues is a good source of network to earn trust from companies too. I really like that idea.

    Comment by Job Duties — December 18, 2009 @ 5:53 am

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