One of the most powerful tools you can use in your job search is networking with other people. It is not just networking with other professionals within your industry-networking can also take place with friends, family and acquaintances who will put you in touch with people who can help you with your career. However, networking must be done with an element of finesse. It can be so obvious to others with whom you network that you are just using them for their knowledge, contacts, and their career positions. In order to prevent this perception, you must be willing to reciprocate, to help the people with whom you network, either now or in the future.
You also have to be careful about distributing your resume to those with whom you network. Feel out the situation. How is the conversation going? If you feel comfortable, ask the other person if he is willing to receive your resume in case he knows of an available position. If you are doing an informational interview that you arranged with a contact, you should not be pushy and try to turn that interview into a job interview. Use this type of interview to find out about career trends, types of companies that may have job openings within the next six to 12 months, and to learn about other people with whom you may network.
Be careful-people who graciously agree to speak with you in an informational interview may get offended if you try to push your professional resume at them-if they are interested in you, they will let you know. Always be prepared by carrying a copy of your resume and other job related documents with you-a good tip to remember wherever you are out networking.