Employment Networking: what, why and how

This article is  to help you understand why it’s important to improve your employment networking skills and how to get started in a few easy steps.  Submitted by the NFB of Maryland Employment Committee in preparation for the Networking for Employment Challenge, the career fair and networking opportunities at the NFB National Convention.




At the core, networking is finding and building relationships. It is a skill that nets tangible and useful results quickly. Employment networking is more than just finding new friends to socialize with because it focuses on making intentional connections that will help you in your current or future career goals. You can use your network to consult or collaborate on career decisions, obtain advice on challenges, support your job search, share ideas with people in your field, broaden your exposure, learn new skills, build your confidence and provides you an opportunity to do the same for others. Successful relationship building is a mutually beneficial process so you have to give support as much as receive it. Networking can be accomplished in groups or individual to individual. It can also be accomplished through a variety of ways including at industry events, while attending training, joining associations, with mentors & coaches and also informally while working on cross functional projects at work or chatting with teammates at lunch.



I’m sure you’re heard the phrase “It’s not what you know but who you know” and that is very true in attaining your career goals.  Sometimes the decision between you and another person for a job is which of you has interacted effectively with the right people. In addition “When people know what you’re interested in, they can help you find opportunities that you may have otherwise missed” says Erin Eatough from Better Up.


Employment networking is a skill that combines other skills and the more you use it the more your abilities will improve.  Networking includes active listening, effective oral and written communication, relationship building, identifying needs, collaboration, brainstorming,  receiving and providing feedback, self-motivation and helps you to polish your elevator speech and question and anser skills similar to those in an interview.



The easiest place to start when you want to career network is to first make a list of those already in your network. Consider your current and former supervisors and coworkers, college professors and classmates, those in your clubs or organizations, family friends and contacts made during volunteer activities and internships. The second step is to consider who your current contacts can put you in touch with in your chosen field. For example, if you have identified an organization that you are interested in then think who might know someone in that desired company or who you need to meet that can put you in touch with the right contacts. Third, consider where you can meet the best new contacts.  Do you need to attend an online networking event or go to a conference or sign up for a project at work. Fourth, make your career networking into goals with   details like who, when, why, how much and y when. For example, my goal might be – I will proactively introduce myself to new people during the convention until  I have at least 5 new contacts who can help the employment committee  deliver the best employment skills training to support the career goals of all federationists. The fifth step is , prepare to meet new acquaintances by writing down and practicing a 90 second statement about your career, what you are looking for and what you have to offer to others. For example, my introductory statement may be “Hello, my name is Pam Goodman. I currently work in HR for the Veterans Administration and I’m the co-chair of the Maryland Employment Committee. I have over 25 years of experience in human resources and I enjoy teaching others on a variety of technical and soft skills and helping my fellow federationists obtain their career goals.  I’m eager to meet people who are also good at teaching others skills that will help achieve employment goals. It’s nice to meet you.  May I ask what your current role is and what skill you like to teach?” You also have to be prepared for how you will document this new contact.  You can have your slate & stylus ready to note their name and email or you can share your contact cards by phone or use an app to scan their business card into a database.  To learn about creating contact cards the Muslim  Group of the NFB is offering a training class on June 10.  Sixth, find a career networking buddy who will help you stay accountable to the goals you set for yourself.  Maybe even challenge that networking buddy to see who can get the best and most new contacts in their career field.


For a detailed description of how to create a networking plan, including questions to consider and setting a positive mindset, Click Here for an article by Erin Eatough, PhD on Better Up.


One great way to practice your  Employment networking skills is during the Networking for Employment Challenge July 1 – 7, 2023 and at the NFB 2023 National Convention.


With some preparation and practice you will expand your career contacts, knowledge, relationships, opportunities and exposure soon – and you may even have fun doing it!


Visit the Maryland Employment Corner often for more tips and resources to help you with your Employment Networking skills.



Submitted by Pam Goodman of the NFB of Maryland Employment Committee nfbmd.employmentcommittee@gmail.com.





What is networking and why is it so important? Better Up. https://www.betterup.com/blog/networking#what-is-networking?


A Networking Plan: how to create one in 7 steps. Better Up. https://www.betterup.com/blog/networking-plan


10 most valuable networking skills.