Interview questions and structured interviewing
Username: Password:


Nancy Halpern

The Three Keys of Successful E-Networking
Reproducing this critical career search strategy on the Internet can dramatically expand your circle of contacts and help locate that next great opportunity even faster. In order to achieve the best results, it is essential to answer three basic questions before you begin:

What is the advantage of E-Networking?
Many people feel awkward with the concept of networking. They are reluctant to pick up the phone and call a stranger, even if there has been a personal recommendation from a mutual friend. The dialogues feel forced, strained and artificial. Some people are very comfortable doing this, but for many, it is the most dreadful and difficult part of the job search process. On-line interactions, however, do not involve a phone call or necessitate a personal meeting, thereby eliminating most of the fear surrounding that first "encounter". When you feel more comfortable networking, you will do more of it, thereby generating new leads on a continual basis from a growing circle of contacts.

Where do I go for E-Networking?
There are many sites devoted to business networking, and other sites that have strong networking components. Professional associations, alumni organizations, message boards and other on-line communities are all places that you should visit with E-Networking in mind. The same is true for ISPs and browsers, which often host career clubs segmented by industry or area of expertise. Always investigate the links of sites you visit to see what other places you should visit for E-Networking leads.

How do I network on line?
When you identify an E-Networking prospect, you should use an email template that you have developed for your job search. The template would include how you found that person (e.g., both members of the same networking web site, both alumni of the same university, referred by another virtual contact, etc.), what your common areas of interest are (e.g. both worked for a specific company, experience in the same field, a shared goal, etc.), and a request for further information (e.g. information about a particular industry, advice about an objective, etc.). It is also a good idea to personalize your template with something about yourself that you feel comfortable sharing - it helps create a mutual bond and makes the recipient more at ease.

There are some differences between traditional networking and E-Networking. These include:
E-Networking does not require an introduction from a primary contact on your networking list. The person on-line is the primary contact and can also refer you to others.
E-Networking gets immediate responses. There is no telephone tag to be played on-line. People who are email fluent check their email frequently, and tend to respond within 48 hours to an inquiry. Someone who is not interested in E-Networking simply won't respond at all.

Everyone on the Internet is accessible to you. The publication of their email address means that you have an opportunity to initiate contact and build a relationship. That sort of availability simply doesn't exist in traditional networking.

Managing your circle of contacts is greatly simplified. You can use contact lists that are internal to many sites, or your own electronic address book to manage your growing circle of E-Networking contacts. There is no need to collect numerous business cards with hastily scrawled reminders about each individual.

Many sites sponsor networking circles and events. Some of the best E-Networking sites are traveling throughout the country, hosting presentations and seminars for their members. The assumption is that you have met colleagues virtually, and now want to cement those relationships at an evening dedicated to further networking and perhaps even professional development.