Utilizing your network of friends and associates to assist in your job search, is nothing new. The relationships you have built in these areas are extremely valuable, offering a number of new contacts and warm referrals just a degree away.

However, whenever you are networking for new opportunities, there is some etiquette to keep in mind to ensure your relationships last:

  • Keep in touch without asking for anything—You don’t want the people in your network to think you only contact them when you need something. Make regular contact with your network just to chat or catch-up.
  • Be clear—Make sure the people in your network know what you’re doing and what help you’re looking for. General requests without specific information make it hard for even those with the best intentions to be of real assistance.
  • Don’t be pushy—Your friend might work on the same floor as the company executive with whom you’d love to meet. Rather than asking the friend to introduce you, talk to him about how interested you are in the company and hope he suggests it himself.
  • Get professional recommendations—Ask people you have worked with for endorsements. Better yet, endorse one of your professional contacts on LinkedIn and hope they return the favor. These written references could be all the proof a potential employer needs to make the hire.

Networking can be fun – if you remember that it is, at heart, an effort in building relationships. Have genuine interactions and you will garner genuine advantages.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative