“Networking”: the term is everywhere in job search advice, but how exactly do you go about it? Get started with these three pointers:

1. Connect

The first step in any networking endeavor is to meet and establish relationships with others in your industry. To do so effectively, you need to consider three questions:

What am I looking for? A network’s size does not determine its worth. Social media has made it possible to form hundreds of associations overnight, but keeping in touch with them all is impossible. Instead, meet as many people as possible, and narrow it down by value later. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Does this person work for a company I want to join?
  • Can I count on them for useful, objective advice?
  • Is my success important to them?
  • Do they reply to my emails?

Who should I add first? Think back to the apprenticeship, training, or relevant coursework that prepared you for your career. Contact mentors and professors, especially those who inspired or pushed you to succeed. Then look up your peers from that time and reconnect with those whose current positions are relevant to your job search.

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