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Networking is one of the most important career building tools you'll ever use. It's the process of connecting with the people you know and asking them to help you directly or refer you to someone else.

Skillful and appropriate networking can help you

  • research career options
  • find out about training and education programs
  • find mentors and coaches in your field
  • find work

Building your network

To start building your network:

  • Use the suggestions in the Networking Online article to contact people you might never meet through traditional networking methods.
  • Follow the links on this networking page to brainstorm your network, learn how to use social networking websites to build your career and more.
  • Network in person at job fairs, employer connection sessions and other career events.

7 Steps to Effective Networking

  1. Treat everyone you contact the way you like to be treated.
  2. Be open-minded. You never know who might help you or how.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help - just remember that you'll be asked to help, too.
  4. Be specific about what you're looking for.
  5. Share your contacts openly, and others will do the same.
  6. Don't overuse your contacts. Avoid asking for too much or asking too often.
  7. Always say thanks.

Through networking you may meet someone willing to mentor you. A mentor is an experienced, trusted advisor who supports, guides and encourages you in all aspects of your career. Check out the Find and Work With a Mentor article. 

Adding contacts to My Network

  • Think about individuals you would feel comfortable asking for information, referrals, support and advice.
  • Make a list of the people in your network including the name, organization, email and phone numbers.
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