Networking means many things and can take many forms.
In simple terms, networking means creating relationships with other people and harnessing those relationships to help you gather information for your job search.
Part of networking is sending out enquiry letters. You have questions about a position or wonder whether a company has an opening? Why wait for that company to post the opening online or in the newspaper? Do you really want to have to compete against possibly hundreds of other candidates? What if you feel you could really contribute something to the company? How would they know about it? What if there was a hidden opportunity?
It doesn't hurt to inquire, either by asking for an informational interview or sending out an enquiry letter. What's the worst that can happen? You may receive a "sorry, we are not interested" or "sorry, we don't have time" response... Big deal! You'll have to deal with rejection at some point in your job search, why delay the inevitable?
Before sending out enquiry letters, keep the following tips in mind:
- Send out the enquiry letter to the right person.
- Be professional and polite in how you draft your enquiry letter.
- Give some background about yourself. If you want an informational interview, explain why. If you are offering your services, give them a reason to call you or to probe further. Yes, the fact that you enquire about them may prompt them to want to know more about you!
- Be clear as to what you are asking for.
- Don't insist.
- Make sure to thank the person to whom you addressed the letter for his or her time.
Don't leave things to chance in your job search. Set yourself concrete goals and try to reach those goals. If you don't believe in yourself, nobody will.