The Importance of Building a Career Network | Career Training | The Salter School
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The Importance of Building a Career Network

Category(ies): Job Search Tips

Young women in casual conversation with a potential employer at a career networking eventNetworking is one of the best ways to find a new job

Did you ever wonder how someone was hired even though they had the same qualifications as you and you never even got a call? The difference may have been your personal networks. Who you know can help you get your foot in the door.  

While no method of job hunting can guarantee success, networking has been the most effective method for five years in a row, topping Internet job sites (which were only half as effective), search agencies, and directly contacting employers, according to a 2013 survey of more than 46,000 individuals who received outplacement services from Right Management.

While you never want to rely on one job search tool, learning to reach out to people you know is a must. Employers said they prefer to hire referrals because they are faster to hire, perform better and stay longer in the company, according to LinkedIn’s 2017 Global Recruiting Trends report.

Now that you know the importance of your personal network, how do you build it up? We’ve compiled some tips to get you started, so you can start connecting with the people who can help you get that new job!

Identify your goals

Before you begin creating or expanding your network, you need to establish your goals. What type of position do you want? Who are some of the key employers that you would like to work for? What do you envision over the next 5 to 10 years? Once you have your purpose, it’s time to start reaching out. You may be surprised at how many people you know who can help you.

Create an online presence

While your connections can help you get a job, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the Internet to help you. In fact, technology is increasingly becoming an important tool and can be combined with traditional networking. If you haven’t already created a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to get started. LinkedIn provides many resources to help you connect to others:

  • Make connections. Search for people you may know in your field and send them an invitation to connect. It can be anyone you’ve gone to school with or worked with or may know through friends. Also, accept invitations with other professionals when they invite you.
  • Follow companies. If you have targeted places where you’d be interested in working, you can follow those companies under the tab called “Interests.”
  • Join groups. Also under the “Interests” tab you can join groups. Search for your job title, such as medical assistant or massage therapist, and see if any groups look interesting to you.

Meet new people

Many people find it challenging to network, but you just have to put yourself out there. If you are looking for new ways to meet more people, try the following suggestions:

  • Attend networking events in your field. Networking events are for networking, making it easier for those who are uncomfortable meeting new people. To make the most of these events, try to find a friend to go with you, so you feel more comfortable. Always go with a goal in mind, such as meeting five new people. If you have business cards, be sure to bring them or make sure you keep a contact list. Follow up with the people you meet after the event by adding them to your LinkedIn network.
  • Go to an industry conference or trade show.  Industry events are the perfect place to meet people who share your interests.
  • Join professional organizations. Not only will you meet people in your field by joining organizations, but they often have many volunteer opportunities.  Volunteering provides an easy way for you to connect with others and build a stronger bond because you will be working closely with others in the group.
  • Reach out to old teachers, students, and colleagues. Look on LinkedIn for other students who have attended the same training program as you. You share the bond of coming from the same school, and people often like to help those who came from the same school. Also reconnect with former co-workers if you have any. Update them on your new training and explain what type of job you are seeking.

Conduct information interviews

If you are having trouble getting interviews or just want practice before you start interviewing, setting up informational interviews can be helpful for you to meet new people who can tell you more about the field. Making that in-person contact can help them remember you if they have an open position in the future or hear of an open position and think of you.

Use Career Services

The Salter School commits to helping our students as they venture on their career path. Be sure to discuss your goals and see how the career development office can help you. You can take advantage of career fairs, references and referrals, and its connections within the business world.

Help others

Remember that networking is a two-way street. It can help strengthen your bond with connections if you help others. For example, you may introduce two of your connections to each other or offer some insight on a hot industry topic. Networking may seem more authentic and easier to do if you feel like you are helping as well as seeking help.

Express gratitude

Anytime one of your connections helps you out, it’s important to thank them. People tend to want to help more when they know that their assistance is appreciated. If you have people who have helped you along the way, think about reaching out to them to thank them and tell them what they did for you and how meaningful it was.

Once you’ve built up your network, continually work on strengthening it. Take the time to update your online profiles, continually seek new connections, endorse colleagues, and share articles of interest online. Your personal network will only continue to grow as you advance in your career.


This post is part of The Salter School weekly blog where we aim to support our students by providing useful job-searching advice. If you are interested in our career training programs, please explore our options, request information, schedule a tour, or call a career advisor at our Malden, MA, campus at 781-324-5454 or our Fall River, MA, campus at 508-730-2740.

The Salter School Malden campus is no longer accepting new enrollments.