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Nine Networking Tips

4/27/2017 2:30:55 PM

Developing and using a great resume is one key to persuading an employer to contact you for an interview. But a great cover letter and resume alone might not bring you an interview. You’ll also want to gain advocates at the company where you wish to work. An employee referral can make all the difference, and usually does. Your superior reputation or brand is worth more than any resume, even the best.

U.S. Department of Labor statistics underscore the importance of networking for job seekers. The department estimates that up to 80 percent of positions are filled without employer advertising. If you are relying on job postings as your primary job search strategy, you’re only seeing about 20 percent of what’s out there.

Chances are you have found out about a job opening and even obtained a new job through someone you know. And if you have, then you used networking to find employment.

Here’s advice to help you build or expand your network:

  1. Set up networking meetings to learn more about the company, industry and occupations you seek to work in. Learn how to set up a networking meeting agenda to get best results. Read the 20-Minute Networking Meeting by Marcia Ballinger and Nathan A. Perez to discover how.

  2. Carry a networking card with your contact information wherever you go. Use it with your elevator speech to jog a new contact’s memory, create curiosity and to share how to reach you.

  3. Network at familiar places such as sporting events, school activities or workshops to strengthen your skills.

  4. Attend on-site hiring events and job or career fairs to network with recruiters.

  5. Join a networking group at your local WorkForce Center or in your area. There are several in the Twin Cities area to choose from.

  6. Consider volunteering a small portion of your time to refresh your skills and connect with other professionals. One study by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that those who volunteered had a 27 percent better chance of finding a job.

  7. Join LinkedIn if you haven’t already. This important online networking tool helps you connect with others, expand your network, acquire referrals, join groups in your field, and highlight recommendations from former co-workers, supervisors and clients. Most recruiters can be found searching for potential candidates using the website. Access LinkedIn anywhere with an app on your smart phone or tablet.

  8. If possible, become a member of a professional association to keep abreast of changes in your industry and meet people in your field. Professional associations may offer volunteer openings that take little time away from your job search and give you maximum exposure. Volunteers frequently can participate in events without having to pay a fee.

  9. Think about using other social media to expand your network such as Twitter.

Using online tools isn’t a substitute for meeting with a new contact face-to-face. For more assistance, check out workshops at your local WorkForce Center listed in Events for Job Seekers . You’ll find LinkedIn and other networking workshops to register for using your MinnesotaWorks.net user ID and password.

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