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An image of a road to the horizon with text career


Networking is the ongoing process to secure job leads, advice and additional contacts. Experience shows that many job opportunities are not posted and visible to the public.

Skill Definition:

  • I purposely seek people to put me in touch with employers and to improve job search skills.

Key Learning Points:

  • Networking is typically the top source of job leads.
  • Many people feel outside their comfort zone in networking. With practice, you’ll find the right approach and words to engage people on an ongoing basis (not just when unemployed).

Learning Path:

  • Develop your TMAY (tell me about yourself) or “elevator pitch”.
  • Make a list of your potential networking contacts. Add them to the tracking template (below). Include family, friends, co-workers, career counselors, neighbors, volunteer contacts and people you meet at a trade association or other meetings.
  • Make a list of questions you can ask of your new contacts.
  • Follow-up on each lead and continue to practice and get comfortable with networking.

Deeper Topics:

  • Networking Sources. Source: 36 Sources of Networking Contacts by Tom Denham on blog.timesunion.com. Your networking list can be divided up into 4 categories of people:
    • Hiring Authorities – people that have the power to give you an offer.
    • Job Lead Providers – individuals that can generate job openings.
    • Connectors – people that can open doors to other people that might be either Hiring Authorities or Job Lead Providers.
    • Advisors – contacts that motivate and give candid advice about job searching, the field, your resume and cover letter.
  • Networking Tips.
    • The two most important networking skills you can develop are listening and asking questions. Source: Money.com by Lahle Wolfe
    • Join professional or trade associations and attend their meetings.
    • Ask each person you network with for further contacts or job search advice.
  • LinkedIn. This is an essential social media site for business professionals to discover and maintain important connections. It has similarities to Facebook but is usually focused on work-related topics.

Exercises for Older Teens and Adults:

  • Design a business card for yourself. What identity do you want to project?
  • Practice networking with 1-2 people. Introduce yourself and ask for job leads.
  • Make an initial list of potential networking resources and add them to the template. Make a list of questions you want to ask. If time permits, do a short role-play.
  • Click here for a long list of icebreakers and short exercises on Glasstap.com.

Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:

  • How can I act on the knowledge that networking is critical and make it a comfortable and natural part of my job search process?

Tools and Templates:

Word Definition:

  • Networking is the practice of gathering of contacts: the process or practice of building up or maintaining informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities.

 Web Articles/Short Stories/Essays:


  • Need recommendations.



  • “It’s not what you know but who you know that makes the difference.” – Anonymous
  • “Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for.” – Christine Comaford-Lynch
  • “The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.” — Bob Burg

One-Point Lesson:

  • None at this time.

 Related Skills:

 Summary 2-page Lesson Examples, coming soon:

  • Job and Career – Networking (handout).
  • Job and Career – Networking (with instructor notes).