Networking 101

Networking is an important part of building a successful career. The old saying, “It’s not what you know—it’s who you know,” holds more truth than you might think.

Why Network

Consider the fact that 80-90 percent of jobs are never advertised or placed with an agency. How do they get filled? Through networking.

Networking is essential when starting up a new business or just looking for a job. The more people you know, the more potential prospects and opportunities you have.

How to Network

While it seems complex or intimidating, networking is nothing more than considering each person you meet—and currently know—as a contact.

Keep a “rolodex” of all these contacts. It needn’t be the traditional rolodex. Store your contact list on your laptop, your Blackberry or even your cell phone. It is easy to get started. Just begin by listing all the people you know…family, friends, professors, workplace contacts, professionals you use in your personal life (doctors, lawyers, contractors, etc.). As you meet new people—whether you are at a client meeting or out to dinner—add them to your list.

Networking is important for starting a new business and acquiring new clients for your firm, but on its basic level, it is essential for enhancing your performance in your current position. Think about it: the more business people you meet and talk to, the more best practices, strategies and new ideas you have to incorporate into your current work

Where to Network

You should consider every event or interpersonal encounter as a networking opportunity. Conferences, tradeshows and work-related functions are ideal for developing new contacts, but any person you talk to, for any reason, represents a potential contact.

Don’t forget professional associations. AICPA and state CPA society conferences, seminars and events represent outstanding networking opportunities. As do other rotary club or association events. Anywhere you can meet and speak with other CPAs or business professionals is an opportunity to network. Visit the AICPA and your state CPA society Web site for local events and training opportunities.


Networking: What you should know about who you should know

"Networking for Career Success"—an article from Robert Half International

"Participating in Professional Associations"—an article from Robert Half International