The power of networking for your job search, on- or offline, isn’t simply who you know but also who the people that you know know. A lot of opportunities can come from those second- and even third-degree connections. If you look back at your own career, you’ll find that your friends and/or colleagues are the ones who introduced you to other people who were of great help to you.
One way to start networking and assessing the value of the people you know is to look at the various categories of people in your life and make note of who you know in each category. Following are some basic categories most people have in their life; take a few moments to write down the people you know in each one.
Friends: You hang out with these people casually. You may meet them at parties or speak to them frequently, or they may be parents of your children’s friends.
Family and family connections: Within this group, you may have close or distant relatives and their business associates. Most people have relatives who’ve established strong careers for themselves, and their connections may be able to help you.
Current or past business associates: Include former colleagues, assistants, or staff in this category. Also think about businesses you currently use; as a customer, you have a powerful business relationship you can leverage.
Professional associations and conferences: You may already be a part of an organization that encourages networking. The contacts you make there are valuable even if you see them only occasionally. The same is true for any conferences you may have attended.
Fellow club or organization members: Your alumni association in particular is a great place to network. After all, you naturally feel comfortable with people you share similar interests with. In this category, you may also include any athletic club members from clubs you or your children participate in.
As you begin to build your network, you may want some way of organizing your contacts so that their information is easily accessible to you when and where you need it.