Networking Advice

What is Networking?

Networking is the process of connecting with people who can either give you information about potential job openings or connect you to others who have this information. The ultimate goal of networking is to be introduced to the person who has the authority to hire you for the job you are seeking.

Why Network?

One of the most effective ways of finding out about jobs is by getting leads from people you know. Even when positions are advertised, often, the person who gets hired is the one who has connected with someone who knows the hiring manager, or the actual hiring manager before the interviewing phase begins.

Attending ALA Midwinter Meetings or Annual Conferences provides the perfect opportunity to take advantage of natural networking situations. There are hundreds of meetings, programs and social activities that allow you to make new acquaintances.

The ALA JobLIST Placement and Career Development Center hosts an Open House/Job Fair on Sunday, from 10:30 am - 12:00 noon during each conference. There is no cost to participate. Attendance is on an informal, drop-in basis.

Visit the ALA Conference web site for details.

Social Media

What About Social Media? Being active and engaged on various social media sites can certainly boost your networking efforts.

  • ALA Connect
    ALA Connect is a free social media site designed specifically for library workers. ALA Connect enables you to join existing ALA groups or create a community and add them to your network. A key group for job seekers is ‘Career Connections’, a peer-to-peer initiative of the New Members Round Table that provides insights and advice on resumes, interview techniques and networking tips. Search for ‘Career Connections’ in ALA Connect to get started.
  • LinkedIn
    LinkedIn is another free social media site. Use it to inform your friends and colleagues that you are searching for a job.

    LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site mainly used for professional networking. The purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. The people in the list are called Connections.

    LinkedIn can be a great tool to search for current and former employees or organizations you would like to work for. As a user you can see if you have any connections or possibly have a friend who is connected to someone at the company you would like to contact.

    Once connected you can ask your new connection about the work environment or the culture of the organization, or any other questions you would like to know about the company. Keep in mind that this information is only this person’s opinion.

    If you would like helpful hints on what a “good” profile looks like or “do’s & don’ts," take a look at these articles:

    Join the ALA Members Group on LinkedIn and start making connections.  Visit to connect with hundreds of library professionals in an active, informed and helpful setting.

  • Facebook
    Facebook is another free-access social networking website. Once you join Facebook you can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves.

    Users can inform their “friends” that they are currently seeking a job through updating their status. Posting interesting and useful articles can also be a way of introducing value to your friends. Updating your status to indicate that you are looking for a job and your areas of expertise is another way to inform others of your job search.

    Be careful of what private and personal information you include on your Facebook profile. There are privacy settings that you can invoke to limit access to your information.

  • Meetup
    Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies. Enter your ZIP code (or your city outside the United States) and the topic you want to meet about, and the website helps you arrange a place and time to meet.

    Join an existing Meetup job search/networking group or start your own in your area. These groups can offer networking events, tips and workshops. Sometimes guest speakers give presentations on job search topics such as interviewing, resume writing, using social media or developing elevator speeches.

  • Twitter
    Twitter is another free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read other users’ status updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts with a limit of 140 characters in length. These tweets are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers).

    Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends by selecting this option or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website and text messages. While Twitter, like Facebook, can be about the mundane details of people’s lives, it can be a useful networking tool connecting users with others who have similar interests. While on the job search consider creating two identities for Facebook and Twitter, one for your personal friends and one for the job search. Or manage your privacy settings to ensure that future employers are not privy to your personal life through your updates.

    Don’t know who to “follow” on Twitter, take a look at the Twibes (Twitter Groups) and search for groups:

Here are other resources to help you with your networking efforts.

  • Tips on How to Build Your Network
  • Networking Made Easy: 8 Conversation Starters For Those Who Don't Know Where To Start
    Just going to a networking event is not enough. You need to be engaged and ready to mingle. But what happens when you show up to an event and just can't find ways to engage with others? This article gives great suggestions for handling networking situations so that you feel prepared.
  • Owning Your Own Job Search: Networking
    After getting your resume ready, the next step in a job search is to start networking. The article explains three types of networking and how to do them effectively.
  • Learning the Art of Small Talk
    Networking with people you do not know or are casually acquainted can sometimes present a challenge. The author suggests the key to succeeding with small talk is preparation.
  • How To Network
    Author discusses quick ways to start developing your network while you are working or in school.
  • The ALA JobLIST Placement Center held a webinar on January 11, 2011. A list of resources was developed as a result of questions asked during the session which might help in job seekers' networking activities.
  • Where to Network
    Tips on where to start
  • Whom to Network With
    Tips on who to start with
  • Networking Led to a Job
    How networking really can lead to a job
  • Desperately Seeking a Job: My Experiences at the Job Placement Center
    An ALA Conference attendee gives helpful tips she gleaned from her time at the Job Placement Center.
  • Job-Search Strategies (brief video)
    Caitlin Williams, a career development consultant and coach in San Jose, California, talked with AL Focus at the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting about some important things to keep in mind for job-hunters in this tough economy.
  • Should Over-50 Job Hunters Join Facebook?
    Author says that anyone looking for a job would be doing himself a disservice not to have a profile on a networking site in the current job market.
  • Networking Online Works: Head to the Internet for the Latest Technique in Networking
    Author provides numerous ways to help you take advantage of resources on the internet.
  • Networking Guide
    Many people think of networking as a negative form of schmoozing, but the reality is that networking is the best way to land a job, especially in a tight economy. Guide gives information to help make the process of networking easier and more productive.
  • Guide to Networking
    It’s Not About Who You Know… It’s Who Knows About You! This is a detailed guide on how to develop a network and use it successfully.
  • The Dos and Don'ts of Networking
    It's human nature to trust people we know or who are referred to us by someone we know--thus, the need to network. Building up a good network doesn’t happen overnight. This article gives 10 do’s and don’ts of networking that should help you get started with networking.
  • How to Become Comfortable Networking
    Author says the rule of "who you know" has long been a key job search component. Statistics have consistently shown that over 80% of jobs never get advertised because they are filled through the vague technique of "networking". Author gives simple steps to get the networking process started.
  • The Secrets of Effective Networking
    Author says "Your next job will probably come either from your friends or from their friends, so networking—building personal relationships—is vitally important." Gives steps to follow in building relationships.
  • The Basics of Good Networking
    Author explains that networking isn't about the quantity of contacts you make; it's about the quality of relationships you enjoy.
  • The Art of Career and Job-Search Networking
    Networking is one of the most important -- if not the most important -- activities that job-seekers need to master to be truly successful in your job-search. Find lots of resources to help you master this skill.
  • Skip Haley's Networking Tips for Introverts
    Includes an interview with a successful job seeker.


Last rev. Oct. 2015