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Types of Networking

What are the different types of networking?

The word "Networking" describes many different types of conversations. Networking may be a casual, quick impromptu face-to-face or a proactive email exchange. It also can be a formal meeting with an agenda and specific questions. Any type of networking is an opportunity to ask for ideas, resources and referrals to other people. Each communication exchange needs to be strategic, well planned, and involves you being mindful of the perception you are projecting.

  • Casual Conversation

    Networking can be as simple as catching up with someone you know, talking with someone you meet at a social or business meeting, or introducing yourself at a job fair or conference. The objective is to catch up on projects, roles and current interests. Casual Conversations can be an opening for more in-depth conversations or informational interviews.

  • Proactive Email Exchange

    It could be with a hiring manager or recruiter. The objective is to briefly introduce yourself and your interest in a role or business area, highlighting your skill set and possibly arranging a 15 minute conversation. Email can also be used to contact people you know or have been referred to.

The following are all informational interviews but each has a different focus. The overall goal is to engage one of your contacts in a focused conversation that provides key information you need in your job search.

  • Fact Finding Meetings

    This is an exchange of information about a field, industry or position that interests you. It is an opportunity to compare your skills and interests to the true nature and environment of the area with someone who is more involved. You are engaging the person's expertise to help you decide on a focus for your search as well as getting feedback on your ideas.

One on One Networking

What are the different types of networking?

  • Strategy Meeting

    Once you’ve decided on a direction, this type of conversation can help you develop a plan of action to reach your goals. In speaking with people that know what it takes to succeed, you can do a reality check on how you’re planning to proceed. It's helpful to develop relationships with contacts that naturally provide a specific type of advice:

    • Technical Advisors - experts in technologies, markets, trends, strategies
    • Cultural Interpreters - provide insight into norms, guiding assumptions of an organization
    • Political Counselors - help you understand political relationships

    From The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins

  • Referral Meetings

    This type of conversation is an opportunity to ask for referrals to people, information, and resources that may be helpful in your job search. Obtaining referrals can come from contacts you have previously met with to gather facts or ask for feedback. Many times your contacts will put you in touch with the people they know, thus assisting you in expanding your own network when you meet with these new referrals.

  • Consultative Meetings

    When a contact is in a decision making role, your meeting may be an opportunity for you to focus on how you can help them find solutions. Though still an informational meeting, not an interview, this meeting is your opportunity to "soft sell" your knowledge and interests. Use this consulting process to let your contact see you as a solution provider with skills they need. Talk to your consultant about developing a 'Pitchbook' - a tangible way to illustrate how you will add value.

Event Networking

How do I network at events?

If you don't have a lot of experience, the first couple of events may feel uncomfortable. It's important to learn from your experience and the experiences of others. Here are some techniques the best networkers use when they are at a networking event.

  • Have an opening line
  • Ready with 20-second commercial
  • Research the event - know who the speaker is as well as audience
  • Have a list of "get to know you" questions
  • Have a list of small talk topics (current events, etc.)
  • Get in line - whatever line there is where others are going
  • Plan to meet the speaker
  • Walk up to a small group and ask to join the conversation
  • Introduce themselves to the host or greeter and ask to be introduced to others
  • Start a conversation with someone sitting next to them at the dinner / lunch table
  • Create an exit strategy for leaving long-winded conversation
  • Set a goal / outcome for every event attended and reward the accomplishments

List some "get to know you" questions you would want (or wouldn't want) to be asked.

What are some current events or topics of interest you can create small talk around?

On-Line Networking

What is on-line networking?

One way to find the individuals who can be most instrumental in your job search is to utilize on-line networking sites that link you through your own contacts. One such site is www.linkedIn.com

LinkedIn.com is one of the more popular professional online networking sites. It's a method to keep in touch and build an extended network by finding out who your contacts know. All people connected to your 1st degree are now your contacts.

It also provides for searches of professionals, has a job board that highlights your connections, and provides opportunities for recruiters to find you. LinkedIn users can search for contacts allowing you to look for members who have a common friend or interest by reading their profiles. From there you build relationships through e-mailing and informational interviews like traditional networking.

These networks give you a much broader reach. They quickly connect you to people who may work at a company you have an interest in or even to unadvertised positions. Many Executive Recruiters are using these sites to find possible candidates for their open searches.

It is a very convenient way to market yourself.

How does it work?

  • Create a password and your career profile
  • Search for contacts
  • Build up your connections

Why should I get involved?

On-line networking can also be your most valuable way to give back to your contacts. Through these sites you can help your contacts find others who may be able to help them with a business challenge, or expand their own networking for career support.

Additional On-Line Networking site include: