Networking may be seen as establishing a large number of personal contacts who can help in such ways as recommending one for:

  • A job
  • Purchasing goods or services from you and offering good prices
  • Giving you advice when needed  
  • Recommending competent employees to work for them
  • Assisting with difficult job problems  
  • Providing emotional support  

This tactic, used by most successful people, is based on the idea that you can earn the trust of a number of people who know you personally. Networking has become a standard practice for advancing one’s career.

Developing Networking Relationships

To develop networking relationships, you must be:

  • a people person
  • willing to get involved, and
  • to participate in formal and informal activities
Sources of Network Contacts

To use networking effectively, it may be necessary to create contacts aside form those you already have.

Potential sources of contacts include almost anybody you know:

  • Co-workers and previous employers
  • Friends and neighbours
  • Faculty and staff
  • Graduates of any school you have attended
  • Former employers
  • Political leaders at the local level
  • Members of your club or athletic team
  • Community groups, churches
  • Trade and professional associations
  • Student professional associations
  • Career fairs
  • People met in airports and on airplanes
  • People met at aerobics classes, etc
  • Attend professional meetings, workshops and seminars with people in your area of interest

Using Networking to Secure Jobs

People can unlock the hidden job market! In fact, it has been estimated that fully 85% of all jobs are never advertised. Your own friends and acquaintances are the beginning of a strong network base which will prove beneficial to you.

It has also been estimated that up to 95% of successful job campaigns stem from personal contacts.

A key advantage of networking is that it taps you into the insider system or internal job market.

This internal job market is the large array of jobs that have not been advertised and that are usually filled by word of mouth or through friends and acquaintances of employees.

Once you have identified the various resources available, you will then need to target specific jobs within an organization that appeals to you. Networking can be the key to learning more about the needs of the company; what new projects are underway, what products are currently being developed.

Maintaining Network Contacts

To develop and maintain social contacts it is necessary to possess good human relations skills, that is getting along with people. If one is unable to get along with others you will find it difficult to advance in your career.

In fact, human relation skills, or the ability to get along with others, benefit you in many aspects of your life. Strategies:

  • Teamwork – each team member must fulfil her or his assigned role
  • Respect rules and territory – respect the space and property of others. Also follow the rules or else others will resent you.
  • Be supportive of other team members – show interest in what others are doing. Show an appreciation of how their tasks contribute to the goals that are to be accomplished.
  • Be appreciative and accepting of others – Let your co-workers and others know that you believe that what they are doing is important by going out of your way to tell them so. Be tolerant of people’s differences. People come in all sizes, shapes, colours, and socioethnic backgrounds.
  • Be loyal – Do not gossip about friends to others. Thoughtless conversation will usually catch up with you. Be tactful, monitoring what you say.
  • Be flexible – Be willing to adjust to changes in the status of things as quickly as possible, without complaining.
  • Participate in social activities – As often as possible, attend office social activities even though doing so is sometimes inconvenient. Seeing your co-workers, friends and acquaintances in a more relaxed frame of mind will help you to understand them as individuals.
Winning Friends and Influencing People

Dale Carneige in the book ‘How to Win Friends and influence People’

According to Carneigie the essential theme was that the way to success is through winning the co-operation of others. He advised:

  • Make others feel important through a sincere appreciation of their efforts;
  • Strive to make a good first impression;
  • Win people to your way of thinking by letting others do the talking, being sympathetic, and “never telling a man he is wrong”;
  • Change people by praising their good traits and give the offender the opportunity to save face.