Levett Career Center

Assessing Networking Skills

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Job search experts estimate that about 75% of jobs are filled through the "hidden job market" or networking. While that might sound daunting, it needn't be: networking is more about developing specific interactive skills than in having, say, high-powered friends. It might help to know that your contacts will likely find it satisfying to help you if you follow proper etiquette with them. If you are grad school-bound, connecting substantively with faculty in the program you hope to enter might also be valuable.

Evaluate the strength of your networking skills:

For each skill, use the slider to indicate range of your skill strength between low and high. Try to give an honest and accurate assessment of your strength on each item. Those in italics are considered essential for mastery of this competency.

The closer to low your rating, the less accomplished the skill (e.g. incompletely, unsuccessfully, or never).

The closer to high your rating, the more you have accomplished the skill (e.g. completely, successfully, or every time).

Low Rating High Networking Skill Factors
Before Networking:
You have developed a list of people you know (no matter what their employment field or status), drawn from your friends, friends of parents, parents of friends, volunteering, work experience, college connections, and all extracurricular experience. From the list, you have identified those whose advice you trust most.
You have a strong resume ready to provide to your contact on request.
You have done research about the field you hope to enter, and have specific questions you would like to have answered about it.
You have a clear sense of what you hope to happen as a result of making this contact, which you can share with the person.
You have developed an elevator pitch that you can use to introduce yourself to people you hope will help you enter your chosen field.
During Networking:
You know not to ask for a job or internship explicitly, but instead to request advice and leads in finding one.
You are courteous, keeping careful note of your contacts' advice and thanking them for their time.
You understand that networking is mutual, and are willing to give some time to updating your contact about a mutual friend or recent events at the college if they ask.
After Networking:
You follow-up, letting your contacts know how your search turns out.
You have established a professional profile on LinkedIn and joined appropriate LinkedIn groups including Hanover Career Alumni Network.
You keep in touch with friends, past co-workers and classmates.

Additional tips to build your networking skills:

  • If you are uncomfortable about networking, read the Career Center's tips!
  • Refer to the Career Center's Job Search Guide for a worksheet to help you identify and interact with your network. Attend a workshop.
  • Come to events with alumni, career fairs, and other networking events.
  • See the Career Center's Informational Interviewing brochure for tips on quick conversations you can have with alumni and others who can answer many of your job-related questions and provide you advice to get started.
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