Networking for a job continues to be the number one method people use to find employment.
Networking For A Job: Your Day To Day Encounters
If the word "networking" sends shivers down your spine, relax! You network every day and may not even realize it. Think of all the people you know from work, the gym, any clubs or associations you belong to, any team activities you or your children participate in, your church, your neighborhood association, trade associations, doctor, dentist, etc. People you interact with in your day to day life may just come across a great opportunity for you.
Take time to talk to people you encounter to find out what they do, if they like where they work, what the company does, etc. When you're ready to start looking for a job, let some of your friends, former colleagues, relatives, or neighbors know that you're looking for a job, and briefly explain what you're looking for. Ask them to let you know if they hear of anything or know of anything available that might be well-suited to you. Many employers encourage employee-referrals, so most people will be glad to pass your resume along.
Networking For A Job: Structured Networking
Structured networking may be a great tool to utilize in your job search, especially if you're new to an area and seeking a job, or if you have plenty of time for a job search.
Local chambers of commerce, networking companies, and other associations hold structured networking events from time to time. You almost always have to pay for these events, so make sure before you pay and attend that it will be worth your while.
When using structured networking for a job search, it might make sense for you to attend a networking event where several Fortune 100 or 500 companies are represented. If you're seeking professional employment, it might not make sense to attend a networking event geared towards small business owners.
If you decide to attend one of these events, don't expect immediate results. Relationships are built on trust, and that takes time. To make an event beneficial for you, take plenty of copies of your resume, and get business cards from people whose companies you're interested in working for. Be sure to follow-up with the contacts after the event with a hand-written note expressing your pleasure in meeting them. If you really connect with someone, make sure to stay in touch and meet for coffee.
Networking For A Job Online
Discussion forums focused on job searches or employment may be a great tool to use when networking for a job. If you belong to a specific profession or trade association, use any online forums to network with others.
If you do decide to use the internet for networking, make sure not to reveal too much personal information to anyone you don't really know.
Networking For A Job: College Connections
You may still be paying off your student loan, so make that money continue to work for you!
Most colleges and universities offer career services to alumni. Services vary from school to school, but range from job search assistance to career-help seminars.
Check with your school to find out if they provide any career services. If you belonged to a fraternity or sorority, this may also be a great way to network for a job.