In this electronic age, networking has taken on a whole new meaning—reaching people around the globe is mastered with a keystroke. Job search networking is important and you can take advantage of this. You never know when someone State-side is about to take a position overseas, or vice versa. Nor do you know where you’ll meet your contacts. You might find them at your gym, post office, your kids’ school, the grocery store, waiting for your car to be serviced, or at social activities you participate in—the list is as broad as your own interests.
Here are a few tips to get started:
- Tell everyone you’re looking. This includes friends, family, former co-workers, professors, everyone in your network. You never know who might know someone in the field you’re interested in.
- Keep your resume updated and your business card handy. If you don’t have a business card, get one. Cards are inexpensive from the copy store or go online to www.vistaprint.com. Some kind of card is a must. You’ll look much more professional and, when an opportunity arises, you can easily pass along your information.
- Alumni connections are a networking source often overlooked and are a great resource for offline and online searches. There is usually a database accessible to graduates, and most colleges and universities have alumni who volunteer to help with career networking.
- Another resource that goes unnoticed is professional associations specific to your industry. Membership in these trade-related associations may be free, and if not, their websites offer a wealth of information. Numerous business-to-business sites, such as the Business Marketing Association (BMA) flourish on the web and post a wealth of company data nationwide. Some even post job openings.
- Don’t be shy about referrals: Simply ask for the referral. People are usually happy to help, and the worst they can say is no. And don’t be afraid to ask for that letter of recommendation or testimonial. Also, have a list of names handy to write in the “referrals” spot of your job applications and be sure to keep their phone numbers and email addresses up-to-date and on file.
- Follow-up is a must. If someone refers you to someone who lands you paid work, a temp gig or especially a full-time job, don’t forget to thank the person who referred you with a handwritten note of appreciation. Keep them in mind as someone whom you may want to do something nice for in the future.
- Most importantly, be yourself. You want a job that suits your style, personality, and unique skill set, right? The best way to find one is to simply ask—put it out there and see what comes back. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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