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Rules for Networking

How to Make The Most of Your Professional Contacts

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Experts have long stressed the importance of maintaining a strong career network. Through networking we can learn about job opportunities particularly those we wouldn't have had access to otherwise. However job searching should not be the primary focus of your efforts. Your network can prove to be a very useful tool when it comes to other aspects of your career. Your contacts can give you advice and provide information. Follow these rules to help you maximize the benefits of networking.

Everyone You Know is a Potential Member of Your Network

When it comes to networking everyone you know can be a useful contact. While someone may not be directly involved in your field, he or she may know another person who is.

Be Willing to Ask for Help

In order to get help you have to ask for it. Don't be shy. If you need advice call someone in your network.

Be Willing to Give Help

Your network doesn't exist only for your benefit. You should be willing to offer your help to others as well. So, if someone in your network asks you to speak to his nephew about your job, you must be willing to do it. If you hear news that someone in your network can benefit from take the time to share it.

Don't Use Your Network Only for Job Hunting

Many people have the misconception that networking is only for job hunting. They attempt to utilize it only when looking for work. Well, guess what? If you only get in touch with your contacts when you are looking for work, your network may dry up. Not only that — your contacts may come to know you as "that person who's always looking for a job."

Keep in Touch With Your Network Contacts

Check in with your contacts every now and then. Find out what they're up to and let them know what is happening with your career. It will be much easier to track someone down after not talking to them for a couple of months than it will be after being out of touch for a year or longer.

Thank Your Contacts for Their Help

When one of your contacts gives you advice or provides you with a job lead don't forget to send her a thank you note. You can use email to do this.
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