Networking Can Jump-Start Your Career

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There are a number of ways that you can acquire the job you want. You can go the traditional route of finding an ad and applying for the job, or going through the temp agency where you can get your feet wet in certain fields. But another great way to get a job is through networking. Whether you have a family member who can make recommendations for you, or you join an organization where you get inside tips on companies, meeting the right people help you get you the job you want. Let’s look at some ways you can make networking work for you. Talk to Your Friends and Family If you’re really looking to find work and the want ads haven’t been very good to you then you may want to start networking with people that you trust the most: your friends and family. Not only can they surprise you with the information they know, they have your best interest at heart, which is always a plus. Since your relationship with them is more likely to be casual, you can simply ask if they know of any job leads or people that you can link with for opportunities, without having to worry about being professional. You may just find that by networking close to home, you can find your next job lead in no time. Join Clubs, Organizations or Advisory Boards Making strides in a local or national club is another route that you can take to network your way to a great job. For instance, if you’re in the IT field, you might want to join The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) to make connections and learn the ins and outs of your field. And if you career choice is accounting, you might want to join the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). If you’re already a professional in your field and are looking for new opportunities, you can always join the advisory board of one of your local organizations. For instance, if you’re working in the field of communication and want to raise your stakes as a professional, you can vie for a spot on the advisory board of Girl Scouts of America where you will be able to show your community service efforts and meet important people at the same time. Try Online Networking A newer form of networking that has proven to be successful in acquiring employment is online social networking. Whether you’re participating in fun sites like Myspace and Facebook, or professional sites like LinkedIn, you will find that many recruiters are locating candidates through this online vehicle. It’s good to research sites that recruiters visit most, check out blogs, and learn the culture before diving in. That way, if you set up a website profile or participate on message boards, you will be able to make the best first impression possible every time. Networking is a great way to create new opportunities in your field. So conduct your research, make your connections, and get those opportunities started. In no time at all, you’ll see that your efforts will begin to pay off.
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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. John - Volunteering with organizations like Habitat for Humanity can be an excellent options. Personally, I spent two years working with Americorps.Rosemarie - You're absolutely right, a combination of networking approaches works best.
  • Butterfly
    Butterfly
    Thanks that's a great answer!
  • Mena
    Mena
    That saves me. Thanks for being so sensible!
  • Boss
    Boss
    Glad I've finally found something I agree with!
  • Candy
    Candy
    Thank God! Someone with brains speaks!
  • Armena
    Armena
    Hey, that post leaves me feeling foolish. Kudos to you!
  • John Nennig
    John Nennig
    I am older than any of you, college degree and also out of work. Looking for employment that will never be outsourced to India.  Habitat for Humanity offers opportunities to learn trade skills that would be very hard to outsource to India.  They allow you to volenteer and learn, build a track record of documentable experience in skills that are still marketable, all for free.  They don't care if you are 18 or 80.
  • Robert T.
    Robert T.
    Need more simple to use, to the point on how to Network.  Facebook and Linkedin are ways, but how about something we can  preint and read?   
  • Joe Oshomuvwe
    Joe Oshomuvwe
    I just wonder why it is so difficult to find sites that have to do with sharing one's experience with others who are also searching for jobs. I will like to know if there is another avenue available for me to contact others.  
  • Rosemarie M.
    Rosemarie M.
    I am back out in the job market after ten years at a job that was just that.I have worked hard for someone else for many years and am now working towards a business of my own. I am now looking to start a career in Real Estate and or Insurance. However I do still need an adequate income for now. I am talking with professionals for any tips. The suggestions I have received are a combination of networking through Facebook or Myspace, as well as with personal contact. The possibilities are through family, friends, churches, clubs, job field associations etc. The job market has changed and it is a learning process. For me it is an exciting challenge.
  • Joseph S.
    Joseph S.
    I recently conducted a workshop on Networking which went really well.  The research I did revealed that only 4% of online applicants were hired. 86% were hired as a result of networking.  An even stronger case exists in the current high unemployment climate were HR Directors are overwhelmed with resumes and online applications.  Who you know and face to face contact with employers make the difference.
  • Aardvark
    Aardvark
    Whom you know is always a good way to get a job and I'm guessing that most of us found a job because someone else spoke up for us. That said it is still overated.

    1. The people whom you ask must WANT to help you.
    2. The people whom you ask must be in a position TO help you.
    3. Most people can't meet and get to know strangers.
    4. Most people stink at sales and networking is a combination of salesmanship and begging. Most of can't beg well either.
    5. Sadly most people whom you meet at networking events are likely to be unemployed also so they they be of limited use.
    6. If you don't have current hard skills or a have a successful track record as a manager you won't get hired.
    7. Finding the right level of people to meet is difficult. Most of us don't travel in decision makers circles and they are the ones who need to be approached. They know that also.

    I could go on and on.
  • grace golasz
    grace golasz
    I am learning my way around by attempting to sign up into the recommended websites. Networking and joining professional organizations on a local level seems a good idea too.Thank you for all suggestions. GraceG
  • Jeffrey Fernau
    Jeffrey Fernau
    Yes. Interesting information to be obtained, but does internet networking really offer any true benefits? I thought networking would be a good idea but have yet to find a cohesive, functional  forum on the internet. jsfernau@netzero.net Let's form a group and start a club to get jobs!
  • Amy S.
    Amy S.
    The information was very informative and I will try the websites mentioned. The network marketing tip information is a great idea, which I do alot. Haven't been on Facebook or MySpace.
  • Obed
    Obed
    Amen, to what dje said so well.  Recent data?  I have not seen even old data with any credentials.  Who did the survey?  When and how was it conducted?  Who were the respondents in terms of profession and pay range?  I see and hear numbers from 70% to 90% as the jobs found by networking, but never with any backup data.  After my last two layoffs, I found my next (engineering) job through the internet -- once due to an application and once due to being pulled from monster.com.From what I have read, I believe networking works best for the low and high ends of the salary range, as those jobs are likely to not be advertised.
  • dje
    dje
    I wonder if anyone has any real data that is recent on the wonder of networking.  From what I see if a company don't have any jobs nothing is going to help.  The main folks telling us networking works great are the professionals trying to sell something who aren't really out there having to do it.  They haven't been out of work for a year or more because they now work for an industry trying to sell to those of us looking for work.  Ironic, selling to those who have no cash left.  Write a spify how to article with no real data except and occasional anecdotal story of success, but no true trends, expescially from the last 6 months.  What good is data from the boom times?  I've conducted an informal survey of my colleagues who are still employed and they all found their jobs through online job boards the old fashioned way.  They had credentials and got their jobs when there were plenty of jobs out there.  They are shaking in their boots right now, just like the rest of us.  And what about these jobs that are so plentiful, to those us us skilled enough to network.  Are these professional jobs (I think not), are these jobs in fortune 500 companies (I think not, they have rigorous HR proceeddures), are these day labor jobs (likely), are these short term contract jobs (likely).  None of this data is spelled out when the wonders of networking is asserted on articles add-nasium.  Who has real data that is recent?  
  • Brandon
    Brandon
    Here are a few strategies:1. Google your job title followed by the word "association".For example, Googling administrative assistant association gives:Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals: http://www.theaeap.com/International Association of Administrative Professionals:http://www.iaap-hq.org/http://www.iaap-hq.org/aboutus/chapterinfo.asp2. Search at www.meetup.com on your zipcode and/or topic of interest.  Note: using zipcode without a topic will give you an idea of the range of groups in your area.My criteria for joining a group is to make sure it is one with a local chapter.  Then you can network in-person and use online tools such as LinkedIn to manage and follow up with your contacts.
  • David Qu
    David Qu
    Exellent!
  • Barbara Moss
    Barbara Moss
    I have no idea how to network and I have been looking for work for over 1 year. Friends and former colleagues are aware, but unable to do anything for me. I MUST be missing something!!! I am educated and experienced and thinking it could be an age discrimination thing (YES, AARP knows me!) I am optimistic, no other choice. Good luck to all!
  • Beatrice Rocker
    Beatrice Rocker
    I have been looking for a job for 3 mos. due to layoff. I never had much of a network and see I need to "get one" now. I've been an administrative assistant for over 15 yrs. and don't know of an "industry" I should be researching about. I worked at a higher ed. school and insurance companies. Due to the climate of today, my work with taking on other people's work (layoffs) has been so stressful that I haven't been able to attend school at the same time. I have no degree. I am for the fourth time starting over due to layoffs. I know I am venting, but I trying to figure out how to start networking. Most of my family have co-workers being laid off around them, have to take unpaid furloughs and are praying they are not laid off. Seems pretty hard to start. I think I will try personavita.com. If someone were to meet me, I know I could get a job. Getting a foot into the door would be nice. I've temped before. As soon as unemployment is gone, I'll be tempting, if possible. Good luck to all looking for a job, I have always found one though I'm practically a hermit. Ikes!
  • Shellysky
    Shellysky
    I think networking can be hit and miss. I think if you are willing to put in a little time the end result will be worth it. It definitely connects you with people you may not otherwise know. I like to use a personavita.com. I created an online profile where I can show my accomplishments, share insight and measure contributions. I think it has a lot more depth then facebook or linkedin. At those sites, it seems people make it there goal to have the most friends rather then what they are actually about. I am happy to share with others my portfolio and feel that it really can jump start my career.
  • Tom Andesron
    Tom Andesron
    Networking is a great idea. However at my age I have an equal amount of experience(15 years) in three fields that to most people would seem unrelated, Property Management, Retail Store Management and Business to Business sales.  It becomes very hard to determine where to go and blog, skype or E-mail for effective communication.
  • Marissa
    Marissa
    My belief is for companies to hire people who will take the time to learn the job functions, have people trained well in the industry they work for. Every new job has a different structure. Once a person is hired they should be trained to they can work to the best of their ability. This will make an efficient worker. I also want to add for companies to recognize good potential when they see it. Sometimes good people with good skills get passed by.
  • Russ Steen
    Russ Steen
    I have heard networking is the ultimate way to go to land a job now a days. I have been trying to obtain a job since september of 2008 as the company I was working for shut their doors unanounced. I want to get involved in this much more.........tell me how.....thanks,russ steen
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