They say in job hunting, who you know can mean all the difference. For that reason, networking to find a job is an excellent way to spend your time. Like most things in life, however, quality is better than quantity, so creating a networking plan to help identify where you need to focus your efforts will help you find better results by cultivating effective working relationships with the people who are most able to improve your business life. These networking tips will help you refine and improve your job networking to yield effective results.

1. Invest in Business Cards

Business cards are a must-have for every networker. Keep them in your purse or wallet to hand out anytime an opportunity presents itself. They last much better than a hastily scribbled napkin.

2. Learn to Make Conversation

Whether you are standing in line at the grocery store or on the bleachers at your child’s soccer game, the ability to strike up a conversation with those around you can lead to big rewards. You never know if the next person you might talk to could be hiring for just your specialty.

3. Sign up for LinkedIN

According to this article on Forbes, a whopping 97.3 percent of recruiters polled said they used LinkedIN to help with their recruiting in 2012. If you have not signed up to use the business networking site, you are missing out on many potential connections.

4. Make a List of Potential Contacts

You know many people who are potential networking contacts, but you might not realize it without a list. Jot down everyone you can think of and transfer the most promising ones into a spreadsheet you can use to track emails and other details.

5. Keep Track of Leads and Followups

Adding to number four, once you have your list of contacts, keep track of all interactions with them so you do not repeat emails or forget important details.

6. Join Discussion Boards and Niche Sites

Be active in online communities that center around your career choice or area of expertise. Those fellow members can offer valuable insights and, with luck, job leads.

7. Use Other Social Networking Sites

Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can all be excellent resources for the job networker, so if you can manage more than one, add these sites to your repertoire. Join groups and participate in discussions to get your name out there.

8. Focus on the Quality of Your Contacts

It can be tempting to play the numbers game and add more names to your list just to win by sheer volume, but you will see more results for less effort if you focus on quality contacts over the quantity of them.

9. Track Results and Adjust Accordingly

Your networking efforts are only as strong as the results. Keep track of not just your efforts, but also the payoff you get from them. If a contact consistently offers to help but does not follow through, refocus your efforts elsewhere.

10. Recognize Efforts

When one of your contacts makes an effort on your behalf, be sure to recognize them. Follow up in writing with a note of thanks or a token of gratitude; this encourages more of the same.

Networking is the best way to find a high quality job in your career field, but successful networking requires a plan, consistent effort and tracking of results. By following these tips, you will increase the quality of your contacts and the results they gain you.

create resume