One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll receive in any job search is, "Network, network, network!" But people who give this advice aren’t always clear about what they mean by it. What is a network, and how can you develop an effective one?

Networking is about being genuine and authentic. It’s about building trust and relationships. When you’re in need of a job, instead of thinking, "I don’t know anyone who’d want to hire me," the concept of a network gives you the ability to say, "I have access to a whole network of people, any of whom might have information that could lead to my next job."

With all the holiday events taking place before the New Year – I want to help you build connections, see the opportunities and support success.


The word "network" sounds pretty official and businesslike, but it really just means an informally connected group of people. This can mean friends, family, colleagues, former teachers, vendors, customers, supervisors, subordinates, and even competitors – or all the above. You’re networking every time you get together with someone for coffee, every time you chat with someone while you’re getting a haircut, and every time you bump into an old friend on the street. In short, networking simply means building and maintaining relationships – any of which may connect you with helpful information.

Evaluate your Network

Your network can be built from your friends, hobbies, volunteer groups, sporting or social events, not only those in your work environment. You never know where that next career opportunity will come from. Networking is a distinct way of thinking about your social connections. It means making meetings, and talking with people with whom you share a valid connection. It doesn’t have to be carefully choreographed, and it doesn’t even require that you have a specific goal in mind.


Let’s say in the next few weeks, you have opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with familiar associates. Part of becoming a successful leader and having this process work for you, requires time to follow up with new contacts, as well as maintaining those you already have. It could be as simple as saying hello in an email and sharing an article you read, which made you think of them. One hour a week should be dedicated to connecting with others.

Netiquette: The Fine Art of Correct Behavior on the Internet

This brings me to networking on social media accounts. When you think about networking on the Internet, the most obvious places that come to mind are sites like LinkedIn and Facebook – but you can actually expand your network on a wide variety of different discussion boards and social networking sites. Professionals in a vast array of industries use these channels for networking, discussing recent developments in their fields and asking questions of each other.

Stop, take time to learn the rules of behavior for each group, and follow them.

Look for a list of Frequently Asked Questions (the FAQ) so you don’t ask the same questions that everyone else has asked many times before.             

Never post your resume or ask for a job unless the group is specifically set up for that purpose.

Keep in mind that your online behavior can impact your offline reputation in more ways than you might expect. Many employers will search for your name on Google at some point during the interview process, and you’ll obviously want them to like what they find.

When you are on a social networking site, stick to contacting people with whom you can claim a valid (if limited) connection – for example, you’re both former employees of the same company, graduates of the same school, or members of the same association, mailing list or discussion group. If you can’t make any of those claims but have a network connection in common with the person you want to meet, ask that mutual connection to introduce you.

Categories: Job Tips with Phil Blair