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The Career Key By Lawrence K. Jones, Ph.D., NCC
Your Personality
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Networking

Networking can be very helpful to your career. The idea is to develop a network of friendly people who share information to help each other. It is best known as a strategy for opening the hidden job market, for getting a good job. Since many jobs (some would say most) are not advertised, it is essential that you develop friendly relationships with people who can tip you off to job openings -- perhaps even introduce you to the person who is doing the hiring. There is some truth in, "It's not what you know, but who you know."

Networking has other benefits. You are creating a community of people who support each other, who provide emotional support and information that will help each other. You will learn of new developments in your field: new tools, processes, leaders, training programs, products and services. You may discover the solution to a problem you face at work. And, you may have the satisfaction of providing the key piece of information that makes a real difference in the life of one of those in your network.

Networking is a planned, and ongoing effort. You set goals, develop strategies for achieving them, take action, evaluate how well your plan is working, and make changes as necessary. It is something that you do throughout your career.

To build an effective network, you need both formal and informal networks in place. Formal networks are the type you actually join, usually with dues and regular meetings. These could include a professional association, a group like the Lion's Club, or an association of school graduates. Informal networks may include friends you run into at an annual holiday party, friends you keep up with from a former job, people from your church, mosque, or synagogue, or the people you met while white-water rafting. A good network contains both types and has a healthy mix of both business and social conditions.

Here are five steps for building your network:

  1. Plan your network;

  2. Make contact;

  3. Organize your network;

  4. Take action; and

  5. Practice networking etiquette.

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Work is basically an exchange -- labour for pay. You are hired to perform skills to provide a service or produce a product. Having marketable skills that you enjoy using is the key. More...

 

 

 

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