- Plan your career
- Discover who I am
- Learn about your personality, interests, values, skills, and abilities; start to define your career goals; and begin to shortlist your options
- Explore my options
- Learn how to conduct occupational research, options for studying and working, and trends in the world of work
- Choose my direction
- Learn how to evaluate your options, make a decision, and take action
- Achieve my goals
- Learn how to define and reach your goals through goal setting exercises, work and volunteer opportunities, extracurricular involvement, networking, and professional development activities.
- Join the workforce
- Learn how to write a resume, develop your interview skills, network like a pro, and find the hidden (and not-so-hidden) job market
- Continue to develop
- Learn about re-careering, relocating, leaving a job, losing a job, and professional development
- Home page
- Go to the Plan My Career home page
Step 5: Network! Network! Network!
Networking is critical for a successful job search. Networking is the process of establishing contacts for the purpose of gathering information, seeking advice and opening doors to new opportunities. Networking has a ripple effect—you contact your friends and associates, they contact their friends and associates, and so it continues. As your circle of contacts expands, so does your chance of finding a job.
To begin networking, identify your core network of people and work outwards. Ask yourself “Who do I know?” Essentially, your network is everyone you know (family, friends, professors, etc.). Everyone is in a position to help you. You never know who and what other people know—this is the key to networking! If you talk to enough people you will begin to see how inter-related society really is. The beauty of networking is that it can be used both to search for employment as well as to uncover information about different occupations, industries and applications for your skills and interests.
Some of the people you might include on your network list are:
- Relatives & family friends
- Acquaintances & friends
- Co-workers & former co-workers
- Neighbours (current & past)
- Teachers & professors
- Previous employers or those to whom you are applying
- Teammates from your athletic/sport teams
- Classmates or other students
- People from your church or community groups
- People with whom you volunteer
- Business people (bank manager, insurance agent, etc.)
- Professionals within your desired field
- Members of professional organization(s)
- Chamber of Commerce staff
Once you have identified your core network, start talking to people. Be prepared for rejection, as you are likely to encounter disappointments frequently. Move beyond the core group of people and arrange informational meetings, using referrals they have given you to further build your network.
Using the Telephone
“Hello, my name is Anita Career. May I please speak to Mr. Job?”
“Hi Mr. Job, my name is Anita Career. I am a new commerce graduate from the University of Saskatchewan. May I take a few moments of your time to ask a few questions?”
If yes: “Your name and number were suggested to me by Mr. Network. I understand he is a colleague of yours through the New Futures Community Organization. He mentioned that you are looking to fill a marketing position within your company.”
If no: “Would there be a more convenient time when I can call you back?”
The telephone is one of the best tools you have for your job search. People are generally willing to help and share information if you are courteous, respectful of their time, and grateful for the help you receive. Many people resist using the telephone when looking for work because they are uncomfortable calling strangers and fear being rejected or making a mistake.
The key to success in using the telephone in your job search is to plan what you want to say, and then practise handling these situations before they occur. Using the telephone will prepare you to:
- Gather information about jobs and companies
- Develop a network of contacts
- Tie up loose ends in your job search
As you practise using the telephone, you will improve your communication skills and increase your confidence. Learning to use the telephone effectively will greatly improve your chance of finding a job. When initiating a telephone call always introduce yourself, state the reason for your telephone call, and ask if the person has a moment to speak with you.
Advantages of Using the Telephone
Some of the advantages of using the telephone include:
- Immediate feedback – you can contact many people in a short period of time
- Verifying contacts – you know immediately if the proper person has received your application
- Interactive contact – you can tailor your presentation to the contact’s interests
- Demands attention – a ringing telephone is usually answered immediately
Informational Calls (to seek information in regard to your job search)
- Might lead to a networking call
- Might lead to an information meeting
- Three-quarters of the conversation will be your questions
Networking Calls (to access the hidden job market)
- Talk with people or organizations that may have openings in your area of expertise
- If asked, or if you feel it is appropriate, talk about yourself—a 30 second summary