Over 80% of jobs are never advertised and are filled through personal contacts and referrals. Therefore, during a job search, networking is key. Networking is about building useful relationships and fostering mutual support with people. During a job search, networking can help you maximize your exposure in the market. It is also an effective way to gather information that can lead you to job opportunities.
Networking is not about asking for a job. Leading off a conversation with "Do you have any positions?" is usually deadly. This situation forces the networking partner to make a quick judgment about you without any knowledge of you or your capabilities. The answer is usually negative, even if jobs do exist. It takes time to build trust and credibility to allow for helpful action. If, after getting acquainted, the partner finds you a likely and credible prospect and there is an opening, it will eventually come out in the conversation.
If you keep in mind your goals of each networking meeting and follow the guidelines we propose in our How to Network section, you can increase your exposure in the market, uncover opportunities and make friends along the way. Learn how to leverage the Darden and UVA Networks and find out about Networking Groups and Online Networking Tools. If you still need more help, we've suggested a few of the many Books available on the subject and you can always contact us to schedule an appointment so speak with a career counselor.
We also encourage you to view the Networking Darden Online Module. The "Networking" tutorial is a comprehensive visual and audio presentation that provides information about the process of effective networking.