The process of creating connections

Networking is a great way to gain information and advice about your chosen career field, learn about potential opportunities, inform people about your interests and create opportunities for yourself. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 80% of jobs are now found through networking. The best jobs often go to people who network and sometimes, jobs are created for those people.

Basic networks are broken down into four categories:

  • Strategists: Advice-givers, mentors, insiders to industry information
  • Targets: Individuals at organizations where you would like to work
  • Allies: Idea-generators and those who can facilitate connections and key information
  • Supporters: Recommendations and references

It’s possible that individuals in your network may fall into multiple categories. Try to develop a blend of people who you can turn to for advice, connections, ideas and recommendations. Having problems thinking of where to start? Consider these groups:

  • Friends and family
  • Fellow colleagues
  • Former classmates
  • Foundations/associations
  • VCU alumni
  • Faculty and Advisors

Each represents a potential source for networking. Talk to those you know and tell them about your goals. They may be able to introduce you to someone new who can help.

Networking tips

Not sure what to say or how to prepare for a networking event? Check out our Electronic Networking Guide for some pointers.

Networking tools 

Networking happens everywhere and takes many shapes and forms. How you network is largely a personal decision based on your level of comfort.