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By now you've probably heard all about the importance of networking to enhance your career search. However, asking someone for their assistance can be difficult at first. And many job seekers limit the effectiveness of their efforts by believing in myths more than they believe in themselves. Overcoming these ideas will help you make the most of your activities.

The Truth Behind Common Networking Myths

By now you've probably heard all about the importance of networking to enhance your career search. However, asking someone for their assistance can be difficult at first. And many job seekers limit the effectiveness of their efforts by believing in myths more than they believe in themselves. Overcoming these ideas will help you make the most of your activities.

Below are three falsehoods about networking and the truth behind them:

Myth #1: You should only focus on people who are in a position to hire you.
Include everyone you know in your network. Family, friends, professors, and current and former supervisors and coworkers may all have information or know another person who can assist you. That said, you must still reach out to those who can directly make a difference. This typically requires more time and dedication on your part, but it will prove worth your while.

Myth #2: It's all about who you know.
The point of networking is to gain access to the “right people,” but it can be a very deliberate, step-by-step process, which requires you to be proactive and diligent. While not everyone will be able to assist you right away, developing a broad base of contacts will serve you well throughout your career and help put you in touch with those that make hiring decisions.

Myth #3: People get annoyed when you ask for help.
Even those you don't know well will be glad to do what they can — if you approach them appropriately. Always say thank you for any assistance you receive and reciprocate when possible. If one of your contacts is preparing for a job interview, for example, offer any information you know about the company and pass on recent news articles that may be helpful. Not only will people be more open to working with you in the future, but they are more likely to introduce you to their colleagues who may be able to assist you as well.

© 2003 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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