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Who Is in Your Network?

Your network includes the people you feel comfortable contacting, including:

  • family, friends and neighbours
  • people you’ve worked or gone to school with, past and present
  • people you know socially and through religious and community groups

Other network opportunities to consider include:

  • alumni groups, unions or professional associations 
  • professional associations or unions

Many industry, alumni and professional associations and some unions offer networking services to their members through their websites. Even as a non-member, you may be able to access an organization’s online newsletter to identify potential contacts and opportunities.

To locate websites for organizations in your field

Professional Networking Sites

Professional networking websites such as LinkedIn are similar to social networking websites but the focus is on business. You create a profile on the website that functions like an expanded resumé.

When you invite your contacts to join the service or connect with you, you gain the opportunity to connect with their contacts as well.

To use a professional networking website for work search, try these suggestions:

  • Include information on your profile that will help you connect widely; for example, past employers and the university or college you attended.
  • Allow your profile to be widely accessed.
  • As with social networking websites, if you’re currently employed, don’t ask your network directly for job leads. Instead, ask general questions about occupations, industries and organizations.
  • Use services offered by the website that increase your visibility and connections, such as question and answer groups or applications that allow you to check job postings against your network, to see if you have any contacts in companies posting the jobs.
  • Contact professionals you deal with, like dentists, doctors or lawyers.
  • Contact former employers, teachers and instructors.
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