By Judy Beaver, Part-time College of DuPage Instructor & CCC Board Member/Volunteer


Do you like to network? OK, so it’s not my favorite thing to do, but I do it. Would it help you to change your approach to networking?


As a teacher, I know my students typically dislike getting up in front of the class to speak, although they feel comfortable talking from their seats. Isn’t that similar to networking? People dislike going to networking events, although these same people talk to strangers all the time—waiting in lines at the grocery store, at the bank, or at a fast food restaurant. Why is that any different from being at a networking event?

The purpose of networking is to meet new people. So, while my instinct is to look for people I know, I’m not reaching my goal of meeting new people. Here’s a strategy I’ve adopted. When I see someone standing by himself or herself at an event, I’ll introduce myself to that person. I find it easier to approach one person than a group of people; I think a group is more intimidating. Then, I ask the person a question or two: Have you attended this event before? How did you hear about this event? What other events do you attend? After the icebreaker, we get around to finding out about each other—what we’re looking for and what we can do to help each other.

Networking is about connecting with people, helping others, and building relationships. Even if a group doesn’t seem to be a good fit for you, be open to opportunities; you never know who you might meet. I’ve heard people say they’re not interested in a particular group or they’re not interested in attending a particular event. Wait! How do you know? A person you meet at the event might know someone who needs you. (That was my philosophy about dating when I was single. Friends would say I didn’t go to places where I could meet men. Well, I countered by saying I might meet a woman who would be able to introduce me to Prince Charming!) If you’re given an opportunity to network, take it. You might meet somebody who works at one of your target companies or who knows someone who works there. Go to events to expand your possibilities.

People get jobs through networking; statistics of finding a job through networking range from more than 70 percent to as high as 85 percent. Whatever the percentage, you have a better chance of landing a job through a person than through a job board. Lots of success to you! 

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