Statistics show that only 10–20 percent of jobs are ever published. This means that 80–90 percent of jobs are hidden in the job market. This is the reason why networking is so important when looking for a job. A network is a group of supporters who are a professional resource for someone in their job search and in their career. A great network connection is someone who can provide you with career information or advice.

The Career Resource Guide provides eight keys to networking. Follow these tips and you will be on your way to starting a strong network with professionals.

  • Be prepared. Gather information you are looking to obtain from a networking connection so you are prepared when you find one.
  • Be targeted. Identify whom you already have in your network. This can be anyone from friends and family to bosses or classmates. You can then move forward by figuring out who you would like to add to your current network.
  • Be professional. Remember that you are asking your connection for advice, not a job. Focus on one thing at a time.
  • Be patient. Do not get discouraged if the people you reach out to do not respond right away. Give them time to get a response together that will benefit you the most.
  • Be focused on quality. It is better to have a few meaningful connections with professionals who can really help you than 50 hasty connections.
  • Be referral-centered. The key is to exchange information with your connection and then expand your network by obtaining additional referrals each time you meet someone new.
  • Be proactive. Stay organized and keep lists of your contacts. Do not forget to send them a thank you note or an email thanking them for their time and help.
  • Be dedicated to networking. Networking should be an ongoing process. Make networking part of your long-term career plan.

If you need help getting started on your professional network, make an appointment with your career advisor. Begin creating your network early. Who knows, your next connection could help land you a job!