Career Advice Opinion

Building your Professional Network: Part I

By AAEE — September 19, 2012 1 min read
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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

The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.