…NetWorking vs. NOT working…

“There is only one letter difference between “networking” and “not working.”
Joe Sweeney, Networking is a Contact Sport.

That’s how important networking is. Research showing the abysmally low percentage of job seekers who are successful through job boards backs this up.

Joe writes that networking is about giving and not getting. This may seem hard to grasp as someone with little experience or who is entering a new field or industry. Human nature tells us however, that people like attention. Receiving thoughtful, researched questions about career, job, field and accomplishments can be at the center of this attention.

The key to successful networking then is determining what will prove interesting and impressive to the individual with whom you’re networking. Conducting research on topics and forming good questions is the foundation for a successful interaction.

Sample Questions

  • “Can you tell me about the challenges your organization faces in your industry?”…even better if you build off something you know about their organization or field…
  • “I understand that it’s difficult to recruit top engineering graduates with both communication and critical thinking skills—how does your company address that in your university relations and training programs?”

The more specific the better…

  • “When planning the agenda for that MCA Water Resources Conference last May, how did you determine the key topics for speakers? What were the challenges in getting both the scientific and community issues addressed?”


Identify an organization you’d like to work for–and formulate 3 questions which show someone in that organization that you both know something about their field and are interested in learning more.

Thomas Bachhuber, Ed.D., President of the Board and Executive DirectorThomas Bachhuber, Ed.D.
President of the Board and Executive Director for The Center for Life Transitions. Tom is responsible for overall Center leadership and strategy. His individual coaching/counseling as well as workshops and retreats focus on integrating leading career development ideas with spiritual exploration. Read more.