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Building your Professional Network: Part I

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In today's job market, networking is vital to the success of achieving your career goals. Networking can be as formal as attending a networking reception and handing out your business cards, or as informal as talking with a friend's dad at a backyard barbecue.

In any case, networking is about effectively communicating who you are, the career path you are pursuing and the skill sets you have to offer a school district. Then, ask your networking contacts to share this information with those who have hiring authority and/or relay news back to you regarding teaching/coaching/leadership opportunities within school districts that are hiring.

Identify Your Contacts
Make a list of people to develop your network and add names to your list with every new contact. Below is a list of suggestions regarding who should be included on your networking list:
• Family and friends, especially those that are connected to the field of education
• References - 4 to 6 people who have agreed to talk to potential school administrators about your skills and accomplishments as an educator
• Professionals your references suggest you connect with--ask them for at least 2 names they think you should contact
• Professors, coaches, former employers, members of community organizations and anyone they recommend
• School district volunteers who may be willing and able to help you make a connection with those who have hiring authority
• Members of professional associations (Kappa Delta Pi, Association of American Educators, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, etc.)
• Community service agencies (especially ones connected to education)
• Alumni contacts
• Credible networking/job search groups (LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)

Next week we'll take a look at some methods for reaching out to your network contacts.

--Douglas Reichenberger
Director of Alumni Career Services
Malone University, OH, on behalf of AAEE

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