In my view, networking is one of the most productive ways to move your job search forward. In this article, I cover four tips to help you get the most out of your networking experience.

Choose your networking events wisely. Target your networking events to line up with your ideal job in your preferred industry where your target company employees are likely to attend. The people you meet here are better positioned to help you network in to you targets.

Include networking events that employed people attend. Employed people will have better insight into jobs before they get posted on company web sites and will act as your internal champions.

Be prepared with your 30-second introduction as well as your two-minute drill. For those of us who are introverted and uncomfortable introducing yourself to strangers, having a structured approach will help you break the ice until you’ve practiced it enough to have it come naturally.

Network with a buddy that you can share contacts with. One conversation opener is “Hello, I’m Gerry, do you know my friend Mitch? Let me introduce you after we chat.

Develop and use a personal networking process that suits your personality and achieves your networking goals of expanding your network with quality contacts that can make your job search go faster.

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