Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Networking: How To

Networking is not about developing contacts. Networking is about accessing people who already have the contacts, favorably impressing them, and getting them to act on your behalf. Networking is not something you should begin when there is a job loss. Networking is a womb to tomb proposition. Who knows about your capabilities is more important than what your capabilities actually are.

Be prepared when you meet people. Develop a short, two-minute introduction profiling your functional level, major areas of expertise, unique attributes, capabilities and experiences. This two-minute presentation normally takes about two weeks to perfect.

The ideal networking contacts are: high-stature people; individuals with varied backgrounds; people who may have a business interest in your well-being, such as vendors, consultants, people you do business with. Follow your money. There may be people you don't even know who you will be able to link into through other contacts.

Networking is about getting in front of influential people who are connected, favorably impressing them, asking for their advice and possible referrals, nudging them to act on your behalf...getting them to serve as conduits to other influential people. - ROBERT CASSIANI

Robert Cassiani is a consultant with Scherer Schneider Paulick, a Chicago-based corporate outplacement and executive coaching firm.