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When adults talk about "making connections" does it actually help you get a job? When has a connection ever helped you find a job, or advanced your career in any way?

Hi! My name is Anina and I'm a high school senior interning at CareerVillage. One of my best friends wants to major in Business and always talks about making connections. I don't see how having a bunch of acquaintances can help you with your career. If you meet someone once and give them your business card, is that actually going to really do anything for you? I don't even feel safe making a Facebook friend request if I don't know you for at least a few months. To those who have been helped by networking, how (and when) does it work? #business #networking #linkedin

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Subject: Career question for you

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Luis Fernando’s Answer

Connections are extremely important. When looking for a job you need to have an advocate for you within the hiring organization. It can be either a recruiter or a reference. When you see a job posting, most likely hundreds of resumes will be sent in but only those that really stand out or come in with a recommendation will be reviewed. In my case, fortunately, I have never had the need to look for a job, except my first one. After that, the job opportunities have come to me via the relationships that I developed throughout my career and of course, my reputation as a solid performer.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice! It's pretty cool that you didn't have to go job hunting at all. Anina
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Steve’s Answer

Every job I've ever gotten (except the first) were gotten via people I knew. Colleagues and friends would hear about a job they thought was perfect for me. Or would take a job and realize they needed my skills.


Don't think of it as "networking" or "connections" but as "making friends."


And it has to be sincere. One "friend" calls me every few years to reconnect and that's when I know she's looking for a job. She never sends me a new connection or job lead; she's a taker.


It's karma. Make a friend and be a friend when you can. You'll hear about things for your friends and they'll hear about things for you.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice! If you don't mind my asking, what are some of the things you can do to be a friend to other professionals, even if you aren't looking for a job? Anina
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Cristel’s Answer

Hello!


I think you are asking about how to make authentic connections: I agree that just handing out business cards is probably not the best way to network.


Here is a way I have found to work well: look for a shared interest, if possible a professional shared interest, but personal ones are important too. Do you share similar job duties? a similar vision on where your industry is evolving? a similar frustration on a problem you wish were solved? same customers? same partners? If you can find such a topic, you will find that conversation flows easily and you will then have fewer hesitations sharing business card or accepting a connection on social media.


You can never guarantee that any specific interaction with a human being will lead to your next job, but most of us have experienced that at least one such conversation/connection did indeed open up doors to the next job.

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Edward’s Answer

Making connections is important and even leads to many friendships over the course of a career. It also has value in many times you will find a mentor that will help you. Many jobs are referred by your connections, my friend John gave my name to a recruiter recently that just called me up today. Really! John is one of my connections that I made over ten years ago and we have continued to stay in touch referring each other periodically when a recruiter calls or we hear about a job. Yes, the value in connections is job referrals but it is also the network of people you will meet and work with over the years. You will be amazed when you get older at the friends you have made over the years just through work connections. By the way just yesterday I referred John to another friend of mine that works at Aruba Networks for a job he was trying to fill. Have fun building your network!

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Angie’s Answer

Making connections or networking doesn't guarantee a job but it can give you a lot of background information with the types of jobs you are applying for. Plus you can see if one of those connections can become your mentor to help you learn more about the industry. The more you know and the more passion you show will help you stand out amongst the other applicants. I would also recommend setting up a LinkedIn profile if you don't feel comfortable using Facebook to network.

Angie recommends the following next steps:

Find a mentor that works in the industry you are looking to get into.
Set up LinkedIn profile.
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