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Networking Your Way to Job Leads with ‘Face-Time’

Each category listed below offers suggestions on how to grow your contacts, develop your professional network, and discover job leads. Finding a new job is more than just applying to job boards, its relationships working in your favor. 

Join Professional Organizations:

Join various organizations related to your goals, and start attending local meetings. Learn beforehand about the meeting’s agenda and prepare a few questions or topics to bring up. Face-to-face networking is never about asking for a job, it’s about exchanging ideas with key players in your field.  For effective networking you need to be seen as a colleague rather than a job seeker.

Stay off the Couch:

Join groups not only related to your industry but join groups related to your interest. Meetup.com is a good place to look to see what is taking place around you. Join activities related to sports, hobbies, as well as your career.  The best connections are formed when you have a common goal or interest which links you to another individual. Attend functions at the local library, town hall, or charity events. Be involved and productive.

Use LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is my favorite place to find and connect to professionals.  Under the ‘’More’’ tab, click on “Events’’.  You can view the complete list of activities listed in your area and see who is attending. If you click on the ‘’attendees’’ it breaks down those names into the companies and industries they work for. You should attend these meetings to meet these professionals, but also request informational interviews over a cup of coffee with one or two key attendees before or after the meeting.

Attend Activities Hosted by your College’s Career Center:

Stay in touch with your University’s Career Center and attend networking events they offer. Look online at your school’s website to see their calendar of events. Colleges also offer various workshops and job fairs with alumni as speakers or representatives. Alumni are a great resource to connect and build relationships with. A referral from a successful alumnus is your chance of landing that next job.

Master the Art of Small Talk:

If you take no other advice, remember it’s very important to learn how to schmooze. It’s a skill that will come in handy with clients, colleagues, and especially when in-between jobs. Go have a conversation while on the grocery store check out line or on the train ride into New York City. I’ve done this and have met authors, talented musicians, and even a few leads for my clients.  If I said nothing I would never have met people outside of my circle. Networking is never about asking for a job. It’s about starting a relationship. Seize every opportunity you can to connect with those around you.

If unemployed or a recent graduate, your job search needs to go hand in hand with developing different levels of connections. So join a few circles of influence today and let others join you in yours. Have a business card ready to hand out with your branded message when appropriate and always attach a branded signature to the bottom of your emails.  Place in them a link to your virtual resume or use the URL to your Linkedin profile. 

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