Diverse group of people gathered in office

Sixty to eighty percent of all jobs are filled through networking, according to the Job and Business Academy’s Blanca Baquero who led a recent workshop on networking. Baquero spent most of her career in human resources.

Networking helps us to maintain quality relationships, interact with people, exchange information, open doors to opportunities, and gain the opportunity to learn new things. It’s a give and take process, she explained. There are many reasons to network, but the most important may be that it provides exposure to job opportunities and possible job leads. It gives us a chance to receive advice and assistance, get new perspectives, gain positive influences, and make new friends. The older we get, the smaller our social circles get, so networking is a great way to counteract that trend. 

Employers prefer known individuals, such as employee referrals. Many jobs may not be advertised. One network connects to another. These are all facts that explain why networking can be successful for job searchers – but networking should be a continuous and ongoing process. To prepare, check the Internet for events in your neighborhood, such as on Eventbrite.com or Meetup.com. You can also use sites that employers browse such as LinkedIn. Put together a networking list, organize your contacts, compose a brief introduction of yourself, and develop an action plan. Your contacts can be colleagues, school friends, and even family members. Your introduction is your elevator pitch, what you’d be able to say about yourself in the time it takes to ride to the sixth floor of an elevator. This will convey a strong idea of what you’re interested in, so that your networking can be focused. 

Baquero advises not to assume certain people cannot help you and shared an anecdote in which a woman had been looking for work for a long time. The woman’s building superintendent came to her apartment and mentioned he’d just been in another apartment where someone was saying their company was hired – and this led to a job for the woman. Opportunities come from unexpected sources. Start your networking with people who can endorse your abilities and track record. Ask them for suggestions and advice. Always be considerate by thanking them for any referrals and assistance and be sure to provide feedback by letting them know the outcome, whether anything comes of their suggestions or not. 

Networking requires you to strategize and present your best self. Having confidence is key. Remember what transferable skills you have and what you can offer. Understand who you are so that you’ll be authentic. Develop a unique personal brand, if possible, and always focus on the future. Avoid making negative comments about past experiences. 

Baquero offered several pieces of advice for networkers: in addition to showing enthusiasm and confidence, she recommended being clear, concise, engaging, and distinctive. Keep your conversation focused and clear on what you want to accomplish. Remember to network with a goal in mind. Always write a thank you note. 

After you have been networking for a while, it can help to evaluate and review your network. Who is providing realistic and truthful – in other words, useful – feedback? Your network should represent the future you are trying to build. Do they challenge you? 

Communication skills are also essential for networking, especially effective listening. Focus on the speaker, avoid interrupting, and show interest. You will convey more through nonverbal communication than you do through speaking so pay attention to your facial expressions, eye contact, body movement, gestures, and posture – even when networking virtually. It’s also key to be mindful of your tone of voice, to make sure your appearance is professional, and to be careful how you react in a conversation. 

Networking is a great way to find opportunities you might not know about on your own. Be prepared to network at any moment and on the spot because a casual conversation could lead to a new opportunity. Remember to keep networking a continuous process that you do not only when you are laid off or in need of a job, but in all situations to keep building your connections and knowledge. 

Join the Job and Business Academy for more opportunities to grow as you advance your career, including workshops on branding and interviewing. See other JBA programs on our calendar


Job Search Strategies for Mature Workers 

Mature workers can face a struggle when it comes to searching for and obtaining employment. This class will define the mature worker, describe obstacles such workers may face, and explain how and where to search for jobs. Join here: https://queenslib.org/2Z2OWuf Password: October2021

Thursday, October 28, 12pm 

Identifying Your Work Skills 

In this competitive job market, it is vitally important to know your work skills and market those skills to potential employers during a job search. This workshop will explain the benefits of knowing your work skills and identifying them. Join here: https://queenslib.org/3oUJvse Password: November2021

Tuesday, November 2, 12pm 

Reinvigorating Wise Lives: Golden Goal Setting

Discover, highlight, and set goals for 2022. Make the year ahead a memorable one.
Join here: https://queenslib.org/3A98zOJ Password: goals

Friday, November 5, 2pm 

Steps to Successful Interviews 

In this workshop, you will learn how to prepare for an interview, successfully deal with difficult questions, and follow up properly afterwards. Join here: https://queenslib.org/3vtINTO Password: November2021

Tuesday, November 16, 12pm

Reinvigorating Wise Lives: Personal Branding Workshop

Have you ever thought about how others perceive you? What is branding in 2021? In this workshop, we will discuss the four steps of branding and how to make them work for you. Join here: https://queenslib.org/3AbxIs7 Password: November2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2pm