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The Riley Guide

The Riley Guide: Network, Interview, & Negotiate

Networking Advice


We also have information on Networking and Support Groups,
Networking and Your Job Search, including How to Network Online, and The Internet As a Job Reference.

Be sure to have your 30-Second Elevator Pitch ready to go!

More networking tips can be found under Job Search Advice.

Networking Tips and Pointers

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Why Networking is Your Best Strategy, Tony Lee (CareerCast.com)
"Networking should be a fully integrated component in the life of every business person. It will lead to stronger contacts and friendships that can help in every aspect of your work. And during the early stages of job hunting, networking for information about career opportunities should become your primary interest and given more attention than any other aspect of your search. It isn't until you start interviewing that networking can take a smaller, but still critical role." Tony shares the true story of a successful connection that almost didn't happen but just goes to prove that networking happens all of the time, even in your local gas station.
Is Your Networking Effective?, George Zeller (careermovesjvs.blogspot.com)
"One of the many pitfalls in networking is not meeting your network contact in person. [...] It may be quicker, but the old adage of "quality, not quantity" comes to mind. There are several advantages to meeting in person, starting with the ability to make a true human connection. Why is this so important? For one thing, you are more likely to be remembered." It's true. You can connect online or even by phone, but the in-person meeting with a hand shake and maybe an opportunity to talk over coffee will take that connection from high-tech to high-touch in no time.
Why Should Anyone Network with Me?, George Zeller (helloimlogistics.com)
"Many job seekers voice skepticism about networking. They often ask, "Why would anyone speak to me?" or, better yet, "Why would anyone take a time from his/her schedule to help me? " There are several possible answers to those questions:..." George outlines several reasons why others will want to meet you as much as you wish to meet them, so yes, get to those association meetings and networking support groups!
15 Ways to Define Networking, Brent Peterson (interviewangel.com)
What exactly is networking? It is collecting business cards, connecting via LinkedIn or Facebook, or even drinks with the perfect contact? Check this list which really defines your network. Brent's entire blog is filled with great discussions you will enjoy reading.
Stand Out in Your Job Search by Giving Clues, Judi Perkins (careerrocketeer.com)
"... job seekers are too "me" focused when the buyer, which is the hiring company, wants to know what's in it for them. [...] Failing to consider the other person's side extends to following up on resumes." Advice on how to get someone to not only remember you but to actually notice you when you call or email to follow up on a resume. Her bottom line: "Pay attention. Think your communication through from the other person's viewpoint. Don’t take it for granted that they know who you are." This also applies to LinkedIn and Facebook connection requests.
Your Relationship and Reputation Credit Score: How You Earned It and How It Affects Your Relationship Karma, David Lee (ere.net)
This is a pet peeve of mine. I don't care how many people you know, when someone calls you or emails you with a tip or pointer or someone takes the time to help you, you respond! You say "Thank you!". You do not leave them wondering if you got the file, if you called the HR VP, or if you have completely fallen off the face of the earth. David Lee talks about this, and his examples are well worth noting with regards to networking.
Adopting the Mentoring and Networking Lifestyle, John Kobara
"I discovered that mentoring and networking are more than popular techniques to broaden your thinking about your career and your life. To be effective as a mentor/mentee or in networking you have to integrate these into you life. You need to mentor and network in everything you do." Currently the Sr VP of External and Donor Relations for the California Community Foundation, John has spent over 30 years leading and managing diverse and complex non-profit and for-profit organizations. His blog discusses how the adoption of a lifestyle of connecting with and guiding others at all times can benefit your career as well as you personally. This is really an extension of the idea that "Networking is something you do all the time, not just when you are job searching". He just explores this as a way of giving to the community around you and reaping rewards that you did not expect. It's a wonderful commentary.
Networking is a lifestyle, not a job hunting activity, Ken Soper (LifeSteward Group)
"Networking is all about building community, then nurturing it for the benefit of all who are part of it." A very short reminder to all that networking begins long before a job search from this career coach. Ken is a Facebook Fan of The Riley Guide!
It's not who you know - it's who knows you, Brian Gordon (theglobeandmail.com)
"A connection who isn't interested in connecting beyond hitting the 'accept as friend' button is not adding any business value to a network. As professionals though, it is important to know who is in your network and who you can turn to for advice. In short, it is necessary to identify who knows you. Mr. Gordon also notes that, just as in the days before Facebook, to build a real relationship, you will have to take the connection offline.
The 8 Keys to Networking, Tom Denham (blog.timesunion.com)
Dr. Tom offers a list of 8 concepts which you should consider and incorporate into your networking plan. They are quite simple and will help you to keep focused on the reason why you are doing this. In addition, he offers a list of questions to ask individuals during networking meetings along with a few do's and don'ts. Print it out, think about it, and keep his advice in mind as you prepare for your next opportunity to meet new people.
25 Networking Opportunities for Expats, Susan Musich (passportcareer.com/blog)
Literally a list of 25 different opportunities for networking for those international opportunities. I would think this should work for expats looking to return home as well as persons searching for opportunities in other countries. Check the Comments for yet one more suggestion...
36 Sources of Networking Contacts, Tom Denham (blog.timesunion.com)
I have been saying this for years -- your network includes family, friends, people you know from your church, and even the other parents with kids in the soccer team. Now Tom Denham has actually listed several sources (yes, 36 of them) for networking contacts you might not have considered. And then he offers advice on how to prioritize and categorize your list and finishes with a reminder that "Networking is conversation with a purpose - a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, positive energy, advice, referrals, leads or contacts." Excellent article!
Networking Gone Wrong & Tips to Make Right, Lauren Martiello (BizMe.com)
"In a society where 'it's all about who you know' social networking sites like LinkedIn are capitalizing on the fact that 'relationships matter.' But for most, networking is a daunting task. So what happens when you're headed for a networking disaster?" This article relates a few of those "networking disasters" and offers some suggestions for avoiding or even getting out of them. (Full disclosure -- I'm quoted near the end.) BizMe is a website for the young business woman and includes info and advice on careers, business manners, finances, fashion, and fitness.
Connecting ...The Forgotten Art of Social Interaction, Randy Hain, Managing Partner of Bell Oaks Executive Search [PDF format]
"First and foremost, this is not another article on networking. Most business people have been inundated bycountless tips on how to meet people and exchange business cards. This is also not an article on building relationships. I'm talking about the often-overlooked, elemental skill you need before you can form a true relationship or become adept at productive and meaningful networking … the forgotten art of connecting." Really marvelous article that gets to the real meaning of networking.
Effective Networking
"Effective Networking Inc. teaches successful networking techniques to generate opportunity and growth. Based in Boston, our company was established on the premise that everyone can achieve professional and personal goals through this essential survival skill for today's fast-paced, competitive world." Diane Darling, founder and CEO of this group, has authored several articles and books on networking. On this website you'll find links to her articles which appear regularly in The Boston Business Journal as well as free archived copies of The Net Effect Newsletter, all of which offer great advice on networking tips, tricks, and techniques.
A Good Network is a Circle of Friends, Nick Corcodilos (AskTheHeadhunter.com)
"Networking" is an unfortunate term because it implies connections but ignores the importance of true relationships. Networking isn't about the quantity of contacts you make; it's about the quality of relationships you enjoy. This is an excellent 2-part article about networking, what makes it "bad", and how to make it work for you. The problem is that good networking takes time and it takes a personal investment in the relationship. But, as Nick says at the end of part 2, If you want others to open doors for you, open the door to them first. Give before you expect to get, and you will develop a good network: a circle of friends who will always be glad to help you because you're one of them.
Find the Job You Like Through People You Like, Duncan Mathison (unlockthehiddenjobmarket.com)
"We can get side-tracked when we restrict ourselves to an exploration of skills and knowledge. We miss the importance of people and the nature of our work relationships. People can be our true compass to finding the right job for us. Think of people not as a means to an end but rather as the goal within itself to achieve that ideal job and career." Marvelous article with ideas on how to think about what you like and don't like about what you have done and helping you identify those with whom you should be networking to find the most satisfying organizations and opportunities. Other posts on this blog are excellent. Mathison is a highly experienced consultant in career change and author of Unlock the Hidden Job Market: 6 Steps to a Successful Job Search When Times Are Tough (available through numerous outlets). You can read a sample chapter on the website.
Step-by-step Guide: Networking Your Way Into a Dream Company, Hannah Morgan (youtern.com)
A good primer on how to network yourself into a great job. The writer gives several scenarios where the job seeker has either found a desired job posting or company. She gives specific examples of how to find and connect with the right contact using social and search tools like LinedIn, Facebook, Google, and more.
Networking Techniques for Introverts, Walter Feigenson (brand-yourself.com)
Walter offers some good options for those of us who often freeze in the sight of a large meeting group. For example, introduce yourself to someone who is standing alone. Pick a regular networking venue that meets on a regular basis, and go frequently! Have your personal branding statement ready to go to make your intro go more smoothly.
Articles from The Strategic Business Network
This is a good collection of articles on networking and other facets of the job search from a leading resource for business networking services, expertise and opportunities. In particular, look at these
Network Internally, Judy Austin (Strategic Business Network)
Think about it -- how well do you know the folks you work with every day? They are a part of your network, an important part because they can help you each and every day of your work life, not just when you are looking to make a change.
The Art of Following Up (Strategic Business Network)
"For the rest of you who want to continually advance and forge relationships, I strongly suggest you fulfill the most critical part of networking - The Follow Up. (insert dramatic theme music.) Appropriately re-connecting with people shortly after you meet sends the message "I am serious about a relationship, proactive and willing to invest the time and effort."
What to Say When You Follow Up, Ilse Benun (Strategic Business Network)
A few ideas to help you build on the momentum of meeting someone in person, face to face, to reinforce the impact of your personal presence.
Networking and Your Job Search
My own advice on this topic, gleaned from everything good that I have read or heard.
Networking Smart: How to Build Relationships for Personal & Organizational Success by Wayne E. Baker (McGraw Hill 1994. Available in paperback iUniverse, 2000)
No, not an online source, a book. Dr, Baker is a professor in the Business School at the University of Michigan. This is one of the few resources that discusses networking outside of the job search process. The reality of networking is it is most effective if it happens long before you start searching for new opportunities! If you can't find this in a local bookstore or library, ask about Interlibrary Loan. You may also want to check out his more recent book, Achieving Success Through Social Capital: Tapping the Hidden Resources in Your Personal & Business Networks (John Wiley & Sons, 2000).
Manners That Sell by Lydia Ramsey
This site offers advice from this business etiquette instructor. You can read several short articles she has written on a variety of topics including how to manage messy foods, top email mistakes, and successful meeting-and-greeting.
You may also want to review our resources for Workplace Etiquette

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Tips for Working Conferences and Meetings

Something I like to do when I'm preparing to attend a conference or professional meeting is contact people I only know from email / discussion groups in advance of the meeting and schedule breakfast / lunch / coffee.

Making the Most of Professional Conferences, Allison M. Vaillancourt (chronicle.com)
10 great tips for making valuable connections while attending a professional conference.
How to Work a Reunion: Career Networking & Job Search Advice, Vickie Elmer (glassdoor.com/blog)
Marvelous article from Vickie outlining networking concepts from Gordon Curtis, executive coach and author of Well Connected: An Unconventional Approach to Building Genuine Effective Business Relationships. He offers 3 key (and simple) approaches to use at a reunion of any kind. Your goal: "Surprise them with your interest in them - more than just obligatory questions." [...] "One of the most important things is for them to walk away with an ‘Oh - I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed that person' feeling." I have had the good fortune to work with Gordon on a couple of occasions many years ago, and I can honestly say he has terrific ideas and is endlessly enthusiastic about your career and options.
Plan for Success When Attending a Conference, Thom Singer (ThomSinger.blogspot.com)
Excellent article with tips for making the most out of a conference, from bringing lots of business cards to planning ahead (review the conference schedule in advance) and much more. Excellent advice for both extroverts and introverts. One tip of his: don't spend all of your time catching up with people you already know. I contact friends and former colleagues in advance of the conference and schedule a time to meet (breakfast, coffee, or dinner). That way you save the active meetings for meeting!
15 Conversation Starters That Make Networking Events Great, Jacob Share (JobMob.co.il)
Excellent article with great suggestions on how to make those meet-and-greet events easier, starting by approaching folks who are standing alone (so you aren't interrupting conversations). He also gives you 15 opening lines to use (none of which will get you a date).
Articles from The Strategic Business Network
This is a good collection of articles on networking and other facets of the job search from a leading resource for business networking services, expertise and opportunities. In particular, look at these
Working a Room: A Guide for the Introverted, Judy Austin (Strategic Business Network)
...nice article with tips on surviving those major meeting events if you are not comfortable.
Seven Ways to Connect at a Networking Event, Dean Lindsay (Strategic Business Network)
"So your going to a networking function that you have never been to before (or maybe even one you have) determined to crack the networking code and start building priceless business relationships. Be aware that it's possible to go to a networking event and not have any "networking moments.' It is not just about showering and showing up. It's about connecting with people and finding ways to help them progress. Here are seven proven strategies for making contact at networking events."

We also have information on Working a Job Fair.

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The Art of Netiquette

Business Email Etiquette
Operated by Judith Kallos, an author and online business expert, this site is a blog on the very topic you'd imagine -- business email etiquette. Judith has written several books on the topic and her blog covers not just email communications outside of your organization but also internal use. And no, not everything you think of as "common sense" is actually considered by people before they hit "send". Judith also runs the NetM@nners.com site listed below.
Master the Basics: Netiquette
...a few pointers from Learn the Net.com. You might also want to read the related article on E-Mail Etiquette
The Core Rules of Netiquette by Virginia Shea
Excerpted from her book Netiquette, this is a list of ten general guidelines to follow in communicating effectively online.
NetM@nners.com
..."Because Netiquette Matters." Unsure how to behave online? Can't remember the proper way to address someone online? Check here for the answers. Operated by Judith Kallos of BusinessEmailEtiquette.com, above.
E-mail Guidelines and Etiquette in Your Job Search (and on the job, and in life generally)
...written by the folks who run the Career Services at Virginia Tech, this is a marvelous guide to email communications for all (not just students!). It's divided into 2 general sections -- What's okay to send and How to send it / e-mail business etiquette -- with each covering several topics like First Contact, Responding, Your E-mail Alias ("sexgod" is not so good), and even Naming Attachments ("RRobertsResume.doc" instead of "MyRes2948.doc").
You may also want to review our resources for Workplace Etiquette

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Social Media and Online Networking

Top 10 Social Media Do's and Don'ts, Alison Doyle (about.com)
Excellent article on the best (and worst) ways to use social media in your job search. "Social media when used the wrong way can backfire and jeopardize a job offer or even your current job. It's important to be careful and consider what you shouldn't do, as well as what you should do, when using social media to job search. "
How to Use BeKnown, Alison Doyle (About.com)
I know you are looking at it, so you might as well know how to utilize it properly. BeKnown is a networking app developed by Monster.com to integrate with Facebook. I will say that I have not done any real examination of this tool, but I personally wouldn't want my professional life to overlap my personal Facebook profile (Alison says privacy settings are respected and you should be careful making connections), but I leave it to you to decide how comfortable you are with it.
Be on LinkedIn or BeKnown? No Contest!, Susan Joyce (Job-Hunt.org)
Susan tested BeKnown and wrote an article about her findings. I will just say she was not happy. My advice -- read several articles, then if you decided to use BeKnown, verify your privacy settings before going forward.
How BeKnown Fits Into The New World of Work, Tom Chevalier (MonsterThinking.com)
Monster's explanation of this tool, why they created it to do exactly what Susan Joyce thought was problematic, and a lot of comments. Again, my advice -- read several articles, then if you decided to use BeKnown, verify your privacy settings before going forward.
CareerFriend app for Facebook
Created by InsideCareerInfo.com, this free app scans your list of Facebook Friends, and for those who have not made their profiles extremely private, it will pull up name, current employer, and job title. You can then use this information to contact that friend and say "I am really interested in the work you do. Can I pick your brains about this?" or "I am really interested in your employer. What is it like to work there?" It will even suggest some similar or matching career profiles you might consider if you just love the fact that someone is listed as a "Recording Artist". What it will not do is let anyone else know you are using it. No posts on your Facebook page and no messages to your friends asking them to "sign up". It integrates connections to Indeed for suggested job searches.
Facebook Apps for Job Search, Alison Doyle (About.com)
She lists and discusses all of the various apps inside Facebook that you can use to job search and/or network. Heed her advice at the top: "Before you start, be sure to adjust your privacy settings so professional connections and potential employers aren't viewing too much of your personal information."
6 Steps to Expanding Your Network With LinkedIn Company Search, Stephanie Sammons (SocialMediaExaminer.com)
Terrific article with step-by-step instructions on how to expand your LinkedIn network utilizing LinkedIn's Company Search. As Ms. Sammons explains, "Why is this important? Not only can you search for companies by attributes such as location, industry and size, but also by how you're connected!" Yes, you can use your 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd degree connections to get closer to companies you may want to work for. (Remember, employers love to hire folks who come recommended by someone already on their payroll!)
20 Common LinkedIn Mistakes Online Job Seekers Make, Kevin Cormac (New Grad Life)
"In case you don't know about LinkedIn, get busy immediately building your branded profile, connecting with people, expressing your executive brand, and leveraging LinkedIn to full advantage. But don't make these 20 mistakes:" Very good list of common problems many people make in LinkedIn, and no, these mistakes are not limited to new grads or new members of LinkedIn. Items 13, 14, and 15 are personal pet peeves that I see far too often. The format of the New Grad Life site is somewhat busy and might even be annoying, but this article is too important for you to skip.
How to Build and Nurture a LinkedIn Profile Network, Veronica Fielding (TheLadders.com)
"This professional social-networking tool can be a powerful aid to career management — if you treat your fellow users with respect and keep an eye on your objectives." Veronica is an expert in the use of social media.
Social Networking for Job Hunters, Greg Kirkland (quepublishing.com)
"In today's job market, you need an edge. For most jobs, you can forget about reading the employment ads in the newspaper. The edge you need is social networking, the online interaction you get from professional networking sites. Believe in the old adage, 'It's not what you know, but who you know.' " Yes, it is a repetition of much of what you have heard, but then he points out one major point in networking that so many do not appreciate - -"Here's an important fact about networking—you're not asking for a job. Your task in networking is only to ask for information that may lead to a job."
Seven Steps To Power Up Your LinkedIn Profile, Vickie Elmer (glassdoor.com)
"If your LinkedIn profile is sitting there, as untended as most farmland in January, you're missing out on some powerful opportunities to harvest connections and positive impressions." Seven steps to improving your LinkedIn profile.
Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube: Which Tools to Use, Kevin Fogarty (theLadders.com)
...job seekers talk about how they utilized these resources to help them successfully transition into new opportunities.
Social Media & Job Search, Job-Hunt.org
This section of Job-Hunt.org defines social media and then discusses how each resource work before offering numerous suggestions for including them in your job search. LinkedIn and Twitter are discussed in great detail, Facebook a little less.

You should also look over our information on The Internet As a Job Reference.

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