Friday, June 18, 2010

Networking like a Pro

Networking in many forms can help an individual find employment. I have read and heard a lot about the importance of networking. Networking both online and in the community. It has been said that 80% of the jobs out there are not posted and that only insiders in a company know what is being interviewed for. I guess it is the old saying it is not what you know but who you know. Having contacts at a business where you would love to work can be immeasurable in helping you get the first contact needed to sell yourself.

How does one find an insider to help? Well there are a lot of different ways to locate these individuals. First, depending on the company one can research the business, find if there are community based meetings and attend those. There are opportunities for networking during conferences or in my case gaining CEU’s (Continuing Education Credits). Having a certification that requires one to keep attending educational classes provides workers from various different centers and community resources to come together to learn and network.

There are numerous other places that networking can happen. I know in the town I work in there is a reentry task force that meets monthly. This is an organization that has people from all walks of life come together to help ex-offenders in a variety of ways. There are housing, treatment centers, probation and parole, community based non-profits, police, social workers and numerous other facilities that come together to provide a task force of help.

I have told many of my participants who suffer from chemical dependency that they have the largest networking opportunity at their fingertips. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous is an excellent place to network. It is the number one support group in the world that not only the participants know what it is like to make a mistake in life and survive, but how it feels to have a strike against you when seeking employment. The “been there, done that” mentality is the best support for an individual who needs to find those who understand their troubles. I have found several online communities where there are individuals who are unemployed and people whose job it is to help unemployed find work. Going to the various sites and join discussions increases networking much like other support groups.

There is a huge networking opportunity on the internet. Places like Facebook, CareerealismLinkedIn, Twitter and a new one I found All of these places provide employment information, a network, and great individuals who want to grow, help and learn together.

When it comes to networking online, there are things to keep in mind. Make sure you have a professional picture, professional resume or “about me” section and, if you use Facebook, make sure your profile is professional, have nothing there that would turn off a potential employer or networking individual. I have heard of some people setting up a personal Facebook and a professional Facebook. Just make sure you do not friend yourself from the professional to the personal. Employers now days are searching online to see what your presence looks like in case there is anything that would be a strike against you at the employment stage.

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