According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, networking leads to 70 percent of all jobs. It is one of the most effective ways of finding a job. Through networking, you can uncover job opportunities that might not yet - or ever - be posted. In fact, some jobs are not even created until the right person shows up.
Networking is not simply adding contacts to your LinkedIn account - it is taking the time to get to know people in your areas of interest and staying in touch with them throughout your career.
- Network extensively by attending industry events and college alumni events, and reaching out to friends, family, former classmates and colleagues.
- Make the Internet your friend. Use career-focused social media portals like LinkedIn to connect with former colleagues and bosses. Join industry relevant groups. Request recommendations from past supervisors. Don't forget to make sure your digital presence is squeaky clean.
- Reach out to companies you're interested in to inquire about career opportunities and current openings. Connect with potential employers through the Career Portal.
- Don't be afraid to work for free. Volunteering and interning are great ways to get your foot in the door and can be a tremendous learning experience.
- Make a great impression in an interview. This means arriving on time, appropriately dressed and having thoroughly researched the company and position.
- Bring along your business cards in a case or holder.
- Keep a polished and up-to-date resume on hand at all times.
- Have a well-rehearsed elevator speech - a short summary of your skills, experience and goals - to assist you in talking about your professional accomplishments or background.
- Write a descriptive, but brief, thank-you note within one to three days of meeting someone. It should include where and when you met, any follow-up items and your contact details - phone number and email address.
Take advantage of networking opportunities
- Career fairs provide an opportunity for job seekers to meet with representatives from a variety of companies in one location. Employers may be recruiting for specific job openings or simply offering information on their company and future employment opportunities.
- Chamber of commerce groups hold regional events like mixers, workshops and fundraisers for local charities and business card exchanges.
- Hiring Our Heroes, a campaign led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, assists veterans and military spouses in finding meaningful employment in hundreds of communities across America. Look for exclusive military spouse hiring fairs.
- College career-networking events are events for alumni and students that may take place on campus or in cities with a significant alumni population.
- Community service groups, like veteran service organizations, provide the opportunity for volunteers to staff fundraisers, where you will interact with those who share an interest in the mission of these organizations. Your volunteer experiences can often serve as a bridge to employment opportunities.
- Meetings, workshops and conferences for professional and trade associations often include formal networking events. By volunteering to help organize a conference, you can gain visibility and display your work style.
If you want to know more marketing yourself for your dream job, visit MySECO or call 800-342-9647 to speak with a certified Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Career Counselor.