Step 2 to Your New Career:  Networking

Step 2 to Your New Career:  Networking

Have you ever heard that it’s not just what you know, but also who you know that can help you find success in your career? According to a report from ABC News, 80 percent of jobs today are landed through networking.1 Networking is the art of using contacts in your personal and professional life to help you advance your career. Is this a skill you have?

Reach out to people you already know. Your family is your very first network! Let them know what you’re doing now and what your plans are for the future. Whether you’re looking for a new career, or hoping to advance in the one you already have, you’ll want as many people as possible to know what your professional goals are. Tell family, friends, and coworkers that you’re ready for a new career and reach out to those you know who may already work in the profession you’re going to pursue. Ask them questions about what they do, where they work and what advice they could offer to you.

Prepare your elevator pitch.  An elevator pitch is a short, 30-second speech that tells someone who you are, the qualifications you possess, and what kind of job you’re looking for. It needs to be clear, quick, and concise. Before you can build yours, you need to know what it is you want to do. Are you looking for a job in healthcare or one in computers? Your pitch needs to be tailored to the job you want and the skills you have. Just remember, the best pitches make it seem like you’re doing someone a favor and not asking for one. Demonstrate how your skills might solve someone else’s problem.

Get on social media. Prepare a professional resume and digital portfolio and utilize the social networking sites that can broaden your own network. LinkedIn is especially effective when it comes to a career search. It allows you to connect to people you know, but also to see who they know. You can even choose settings to be notified of job postings that meet your individual preferences. Be careful about what you post; to be taken seriously in your new career, you need to be serious about the image you put forth on social media.

Attend job fairs and networking events. Even if you haven’t completed your career training, you can begin your job search and expanded your network. Job fairs and events sponsored by career services can help you perfect that elevator pitch and hone your networking skills. Consider asking someone in your chosen profession to serve as a mentor. People who are passionate about their careers like to share what they know; why not let them share it with you?

If you’re serious about your new career, you’ll want to meet and get to know as many people in it as you can. To obtain skills you’ll need for a new career and advice on how to network, contact Porter and Chester Institute. We offer 10 career training programs at our campuses in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Let us provide you with the skills of a new profession and tips about networking that can help you get hired. For even more Steps to a New Career, check out next week’s post on crafting a great resume and cover letter.