Blog Post #445 – Networking 1

Coaching for Life Success:  Networking – part I

Today we will start looking at networking.

http://ischool.sjsu.edu/career-development/networking/what-networking

When I was young and naïve, I seriously thought it was “What I know not who I know” that made the difference.  After 38 years as a professor, I understand that knowledge is important, that thinking and being able to adapt is very important, but having a network is also very important.  So, who I know – and who I network with is important.

Overview:  What is networking?

According to San Jose State University; “Networking is simply an information exchange between you and another person. It involves establishing relationships with people who can help you advance your career in many ways” (see the beginning link)

You can network with anyone.   You can ‘network’ with your roommate, your classmates, your professors.  Let’s look more at the purpose of networking

Purpose of professional networking:  The SJSU definition says “establishing relationships with people who can help you advance your career in many ways”.

Who to network with for a career?

As you have been thinking about who you are and where you are going, this is a good time to meet with people in that field.  Let’s say you are thinking about going into computing – you should be finding people to talk to in that field. Within computing, there are several areas – programming, vendor liaison, networking (computer networking, not people networking), architecture, ERP, CRM, security and much more.  Most students who are thinking of computing may not be thinking of all the options and talking to some computing professionals can help you understand the field.

There are many sources for networking – your neighbors, your parent’s friends and people they know, even your high school career counselors will know people to talk to.

How to get a networking appointment

Call or email the person to see if you can ask them questions about their field.  Make an appointment of approximately 15 minutes. If you are going to the person’s work site, be very understanding of their time.  A CEO or high-level professional making $200,000 a year on an hourly basis is about $100 an hour. Not that you will need to pay for the time spent with the person, but be careful of their time.  The time they spent with you is the time that they could be making million dollar decisions for their companies.

Have an agenda – ask specific questions – do your homework before you met.  Questions you might want to ask in a networking session:

  • How did you choose this field?
  • What is your average day like?
  • What professional organizations are you part of and why?
  • What advice might you have for me?
  • If you could start over, how might you do it differently?
  • Why do you like what you do?
  • Did you always want to be in a position like this?
  • Who has made the biggest impression on you and why?
  • (And … don’t ask embarrassing questions – like how much you make)

 

Take notes in the interview.  Follow up questions with related questions if appropriate.    And … definitely THANK THEM for their time.

Things to do:

  • Find a person to  interview, make the initial contact
  • Dress for success (that is, dress appropriately for the interview)
  • How did you determine who to interview?
  • Did the interviews help you towards – or away – from a particular field/job?
  • Who else should you interview?  Why?
  • Could one of the people you interviewed become a mentor?  Why or why not?

Quote for today: “Becoming well known (at least among your prospects & connections) is the most valuable element in the connection process.”  ― Jeffrey Gitomer

Posted by Bruce White

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