Make a Networking Plan
You will be more successful if you make a networking plan. It will also help you keep track of what you've accomplished.
- Set goals for networking. Are you preparing for a future job search in the same career field? Do you want to make a career change? Are you looking for mentors? Want to meet other self-employed people? Deciding who to contact will largely depend on what your goals are.
- Identify your networking needs and interests by doing recommended activities in Learn About Yourself, Learn More About the Jobs that Interest Me, Learn about Occupations, and Identify Your Motivated Skills.
- Learn about formal and informal networks. Decide how they will fit into your network plan. To build an effective network, you need both formal and informal networks in place.
Formal networks are the type your 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 an annual holiday party, friends from a former job, people from your church, mosque, or synagogue, or people you met while white-water rafting. A good network contains both types and has a health mix of business and social conditions.
- Become familiar with networking resources. LinkedIn is a popular, essential online choice but will not be enough. College career centers, unemployment offices, and professional career counselors can help. Doing information interviews (see next section) will also help you find the best networking resources for your industry or a career field you want to get into.