We all know networking is an important part of conducting a job search.
You can informally network by talking to family, friends and acquaintances who may know something about the area you’re targeting. Doing so provides a way to find out what skills are needed where, what jobs may be opening up, and where you might be able to fit in.
Ultimately, it’s all about building new relationships and finding an opportunity that’s right for you and your career.
Network to gather information
Talking to people because “they might know of something for me” rarely works. With that in mind, remember that through networking, you are also trying to build lifelong relationships. If a target area interests you, get to know the people in it and let them get to know you.
As you develop a relationship, don’t just tell them you’re interested in a position; show them. To do so, you need to become the interviewer. People will be more willing to help you, after all, if you are sincere about your interest in getting information from them and if you ask them appropriate questions.
These are the top questions you may want to ask about the following topics:
About the industry
- What are the most important trends or problems?
- Which parts of the industry will probably grow (or decline) over the next few years, and at what rate?
- What are the industry’s most important characteristics?
- Where do you see this industry 5 or 10 years from now?
- What do you think of the organizations I have listed on this sheet?
- Who are the major players in this industry?
About the company or organization
- Does the organization have any particular clients, customers, regulators, etc.? If so, what are they like and what is their relationship to the organization?
- Who are your major competitors?
- How is the company organized? What are the growing areas? The problem areas?
- What important technologies does this organization use?
- What is the organizational culture like? Who tends to get ahead here?
- What important challenges is the organization facing right now and in the near future?
About the job or function
- What are the major tasks involved in this job? What skills are needed?
- How is this department structured? Who reports to whom? Who interacts with whom?
- What kinds of people are normally hired for this type of position?
- What are the advancement opportunities?
- What skills are absolutely essential for a person in this field?
About the person with whom you are meeting
- Could you tell me a little about what you do in your job?
- How does your position relate to the bottom line?
- What is the most challenging and frustrating aspect of your job?
- What advice would you give to someone in my position?
- What do you like or dislike about your job?
- How did you get into this profession or industry?
- What major problems are you facing right now?
Get connected with a Five O’Clock Club coach to learn more about making the most out of networking and finding your next job!