Leiden University Career Zone

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Networking

Professional networking is the process of purposefully making and maintaining contact with people or groups who are, or could be, of importance to you in achieving your goals. It’s the best way of gaining information about interesting employers and job positions.

How can I use my network to get a job?

  • Tell the people around you what kind of job you’re looking for.  
  • Make an inventory of where all your contacts work. 
  • Approach your relevant contacts: can they tell you anything about the corporate culture, job positions and availability of work in their field? 
  • Ask your contacts if they know anyone who might be of interest to you in your job search. 

Be aware that you may be able to help other people in just the same way. Maybe you did an internship or part-time job at an organisation where one of your contacts would like to work. By being a good network contact to others, you can also extend your own network. 

Networking online: tips!

  • After making their acquaintance, add new contacts on LinkedIn (with a personal message).
  • Follow interesting and relevant people on Twitter.
  • Use social media to invite people who may be of interest to you, career-wise, to join you for a coffee.  

Networking interview
The purpose of a networking interview is information gathering, orientation and advice. It isn’t a job interview. 

  • Have a brief but clear personal introduction ready (who you are, what you want, what you can do).
  • Research the company and position well in advance and think about the type of question you want to ask. 
  • Consider what information you don’t yet have about the organisation. Draw up a few questions. These can serve as a guideline during the interview. 
  • After the interview, send a message of thanks and let the person know how much, and in what way, you benefited from the meeting. 

Do's

  • Make sure to network every day. Interesting people and information can be found in the most unexpected of places.  
  • Everyone is approachable. Make sure others can approach you too (be a good contact to others). 
  • Keep at it! Networking is a long-term strategy. 
  • Send a message of thanks to people who have assisted you. 
  • Keep an overview of who you spoke to about what and when; who they referred you to; and whether you sent a message of thanks. 
  • Maintain your network: make sure people hear from you now and then. 
  • Send a reminder to people who have indicated that they can do something to help you. Use email or social media to do so.  

Don'ts

  • Approach people in whom you have no personal interest for a job. If people feel you’re only contacting them because you need something, they are less likely to help. 
  • Immediately ask your network contact for a job. Networking is about information gathering. 
  • Go ill-prepared to a networking meeting. You won’t get the help and referrals you were hoping for and you’ll make a poor impression. 
  • Fail to maintain your network, even if you don’t have a job. 

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