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Job Search Strategies That Don't Stink

Job searching for many means the classifieds on Sunday. Other strategies include: targeting employers directly, utilizing college career centers, recruiting firms/employment agencies, volunteering, professional associations, Internet job searching, career fairs, and job search clubs. However, most career books argue the number one job search strategy is networking: the neglected art of schmoozing.

Networking is a skill and a planned process of becoming known, through professional and social meetings, to people who can provide information about career opportunities. Remember these tips for effective networking:

  1. Get Focused – Define your top three goals for networking events or meetings.
  2. Identify Your Network - Stay organized with a system to track your contacts. There are three circles of contacts of varying quality: An inner circle of your closest contacts, a middle circle of individuals with whom you associate, and an outer circle of lesser-known contacts.
  3. Prepare For Networking - Start by contacting one person and then build your list from there.
  4. Contact Your Network - Networking by phone is okay, but respectfully request a 20-30 minute meeting. Since no one likes to be used, cultivate your network and be relationship oriented.
  5. Set Up Informational Interviews - Meeting people at their work site is convenient for them, allows you to explore diverse work environments and you will obtain “inside information.”
  6. Obtain Additional Referrals - Tap into other peoples’ networks, adding new individuals to your list and requesting permission to use their name when contacting the new names. Collect business cards if possible.
  7. Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up - Taking the initiative and showing interest in others will keep your name fresh in people’s minds.
  8. Evaluate Regularly - What have I learned from this process? What sacrifices will I undertake to get the job I want?
  9. Be Patient - Establish reasonable goals for networking each month to achieve your short- and long-term goals.
  10. Network For Life – Build your professional connections before you actually need your next job. Since at least 50% of all jobs are secured by networking,

(This article originally appeared in GenNEXT’s June 2006 newsletter.  GenNEXT is an initiative of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Schenectady County.)


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