Sometimes people underestimate the power and scope of their own network. Former and current work colleagues, contacts from professional associations and clubs, people you may know through volunteering with different organizations, friends and family members are all part of your network.

If you are currently looking for work, make a list of the people who are in your network and don’t hesitate to let them know you are looking for work.

Here are a few other suggestions to maximize the power of your networking opportunities:

  • Look for opportunities every day. Not all work-related networking happens at business-related events. Don’t discount the potential of a chat at the gym or grocery store!
  • Be prepared. Practice your “elevator speech” where you can succinctly summarize what kind of job you are looking for and what talents and skills you bring to the table.
  • Always ask for business cards or contact information. It will help you build your own personal database of contacts.
  • Don’t forget to follow up. If you talk with someone about potential job opportunities, don’t forget to follow up, mentioning what you enjoyed about your conversation and thanking them for their time. Even if they can’t help you with your job search immediately, you don’t know what the future holds.

After all, being known can mean being employed.