The Importance of Networking

Form your network.

With a career in information technology, it is vital to have a strong understanding of computers and the Internet. However, technical skills alone might not get you the job. It is equally important to be able to demonstrate those skills in a social and personable way when job hunting, applying to positions and interviewing. Job boards are a good jumping off point, as they provide a convenient place to see what jobs are available, but they shouldn't be the sole place you seek employment. A recent survey by Millennial Branding found that 71 percent  of human resources professionals give referral candidates top priority

Networking Methods
Getting off the job boards and interacting with people can be a tough step, but it doesn't have to be painful. If you find a job listing on a job board like Monster or Indeed, odds are the job description is also listed on the company's website. Websites usually have a more complete job description and at times contact information for the hiring manager. Exploring a company's website is a strong means of learning more about your potential employer and proving that you are invested in their company. Research the companies you want to work for, and don't be afraid to contact present employees with questions. 

When it comes time to network in person, make sure to use good posture, make eye contact and present yourself confidently. Engage in substantive conversation rather than small talk. Discussing subject matter outside of work will make you more memorable. Stay off of your cellphone and other electronic devices to demonstrate interest in the discussion.

How to get a referral
Acquiring an employee referral when applying for a job may necessitate more than having a current in with an acquaintance, friend or family member. While having and using these connections is incredibly important, networking requires continual dedication to meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone. Ways to do this include attending job fairs or other events your desired employer is attending. Another method is to email people within a company who used to have the job for which you are applying and request an informational interview. An informational interview is a good opportunity to ask questions, gain job insight and demonstrate your interest in the company. 

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. To find out more about WGU's online degree programs, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers

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