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Networking Conversations

Talking the talk

Jobseekers are often reluctant to network because they are uncomfortable striking up conversations with new people or find it awkward to talk about themselves in ways that may feel like bragging. Fortunately, there are strategies to help job seekers overcome these obstacles. In fact, jobseekers might find comfort in the fact that the most important networking skill is not talking about oneself - it's asking relevant questions and listening.

Your professional introduction: the 30-second elevator pitch

The first step in holding a productive networking conversation is providing a new contact with information about your professional background and goals in a quick and effective manner. This can be accomplished by providing what is called a 30 second elevator pitch. Your Elevator Pitch can help you create one that is effective

Once you've successfully introduced yourself to a new connection, you should switch to fact-finding mode. Adapt and use the following questions to sustain productive conversations with linkers, sources, recommenders, and hiring decision makers. Go to Identifying and Building Your Job Search Network for descriptions of these four types of network contacts.