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Advice / Job Search / Networking

Become a Networking Master: Your Step-by-Step Plan

This guide is part of our January Job Goals series. Share this Job Goal on Facebook or Pinterest (hey, a little accountability is always a good thing!), then share your progress in the comments section!

You know networking's important, but—it just always seems to fall to the back burner.

But not this month! This January, you're determined to network your face off, and we're here to help with a week-by-week plan. From plotting your elevator pitch and conversation starters to turning brand-new people into helpful professional contacts, you'll have everything you need to become a networking master in just 31 days.


Weeks 1 and 2: Learn the Networking Basics

We know: Of all of the job-search related skills out there, networking isn't one of the easiest. So, we're going to start you off gently: Your task for the first part of the month is to take our free, email-based networking class (yes, there's homework, but we promise, it's easy!).

Over the course of two weeks, you'll learn how to get over your networking fears, craft an elevator speech, start a conversation with anyone, and follow up with new people you meet. All skills that you'll put to use in the second half of the month!

Read More: Become a Networking Master Class


Week 3: Find 4 Networking Events

Now that you have the basics down, it's time to get serious. This week, we challenge you to put four networking events on the calendar, where you can put everything you learned in the first two weeks into action.

Not sure where to start looking? Try this:

  • Check out your alumni association, industry organizations, or Meetup for events that interest you.
  • Schmoozing not your style? See if there’s a conference you can attend, a hackathon or similar event you can participate in, or even a project you can help with.
  • Host your own event! Email 10 of your friends, suggest a place and date, and ask each person to bring someone new.
  • If you love to try new restaurants, joining a social dining site is a great way to connect with others. Sites like BlendAbout revolve around group dining experiences with people who share common interests.
  • Read More: 21 Ways to Make Networking Less Scary and More Fun


    Week 4: Organize Your Network

    Meeting new people and making great connections is only half the battle: The real goal of networking is forging long-term, career-advancing relationships.

    And the first step is keeping track of your contacts and following up with them regularly. So this week, set yourself up for success: Start a spreadsheet or list where you'll keep track of all of the contacts you'll be meeting. Every time you meet new people, add them to this list, and you'll have a living document with all of your contacts in one place.

    Then, make tending to your network a priority by actually putting time on the calendar to do it. It may sound silly to formally schedule keeping in touch with people, but if you don’t, it means you’re not really prioritizing it—and it probably won’t get done.

    Read More: Simple Ways to Keep Your Network From Growing Cold


    How are you doing with your January Job Goal? Share your progress in the comments section!