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If you’re on a career search, or are trying to advance your career, you’ve heard it’s “all about who you know” and that you need to be “networking.”  But if you’ve never consciously networked before – what does that even mean?

I use the term “consciously networked” because whether you know it or not, you already have a network (unless you’re a reclusive hermit, which I doubt you are if you’re reading a blog about networking).  Your network is simply made up of people you know, personally or professionally: Family, neighbors, friends, church congregations, former coworkers, and anyone else in your contact list.  Most people don’t think that personal contacts can help them professionally, but you never know until you ask!

Since you have a network, now it’s time to network (as a verb).  Networking is all about growing your existing network by asking for introductions – NOT asking for jobs.  If it really is “all about who you know”, it’d be beneficial to you to try to know as many people as possible.

First, share your story and explain why you’re asking for introductions (I’m looking for a job, I want to make more business connections, I just moved to an area and I need to meet more people).

Next, ask for introductions, and be specific about the kind of people you want to meet.  For example, you can ask to meet people in a city you’re moving to, or people who work in the field you want to work, or at companies you have an interest in.

  • I’m moving to Indianapolis, do you know anyone in that area?
  • I’m looking for HR positions in Grand Rapids, do you know anyone in HR there?
  • I’d really love to work for Purple Ink – do you know anyone that works there?
  • I’m trying to connect with distribution managers, do you know anybody in that role?
  • I’d love to talk to other parents who have taken time off to raise kids and have since gone back to work, do you know anyone who’s done that?

Once you meet someone new, repeat the process: share your story, learn someone else’s story, and ask for more introductions.  If you really want to actively network, ask everyone to join your Networking Team.

To network is:

  • To connect with people you already know
  • Ask for help/introductions
  • Meet new people, share your story
  • Ask for more introductions

Stay tuned to our Purple Ink Career Consulting blog for more tips on being successful in your current position or on a search for a new opportunity!

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is Purple Ink’s Director of Client Services and is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Catherine has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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