Secrets of Successful Networking

SAN MATEO (07/03/2000) - Networking can offer tremendous opportunities for job hunters -- if done properly. Meeting people, letting them see your face, and hearing what they have to say can often be a tremendous advantage when looking for a career. Jobtrak Corp. offers an online job-listing service for students and alumni of top universities. Ken Ramberg, the company's co-founder, provides the following tips for successful networking.

1. Find the hidden job market

Informal networking can be a very rich source for finding job leads and learning about those unpublicized gems. Many times the best jobs are the ones that aren't advertised. "What you don't want to do is just rely on jobs that are posted on Web sites or in classified sections of newspapers. You want to use those as possible leads, so even if the job you are looking for isn't listed, use that to call the company and see if the position you are looking for is open," Ramberg says.

2. Develop a hit list

Many times networking is simply a matter of knowing the right people and getting access to them. Secure the names of specific individuals by any means possible. "Contact alumni first because they are a great resource," Ramberg advises. He also lists friends, relatives, former employers and co-workers, professional association members, human resources directors, and user groups as excellent contacts.

3. Interview ... a lot

Informational interviewing can open a variety of doors and offer great perspectives about potential career opportunities. "The more you interview, the more polished your presentation is going to become. You're going to get a sense of whether or not you are going to fit into one company's culture by meeting a variety of companies and different people," Ramberg says. "With the job market so good right now, the job candidate is really in the driver's seat."

4. Be persistent

Networking often requires putting in the effort without getting quick results.

It takes patience to meet people but not get immediate feedback in the way of referrals or leads. But if done effectively and a with little extra effort, networking will eventually yield results. "If you find a company that you really want to work for, you need to be persistent and follow up with phone calls and thank-you letters. And if you really want the job, you are going to end up getting it," Ramberg says. The key is to maintain a positive attitude and keep digging: Eventually you will strike your gold.

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