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How Do I Build My Network?
A job search is challenging, and this unusual time with more limited in-person interaction adds to the effort. Having said this, people are making the transition successfully. The majority of successful job searches are achieved by effective networking.

Information suggests that 75% to 80% of job leads and ultimately job offers are obtained directly or indirectly through friends, relatives and acquaintances. Why? One, people prefer to hire someone they know and with whom they feel comfortable; two, a personal referral is likely the best way to get considered by recruiters and hiring managers swamped with many applications with similar qualifications; and three, job site boards, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, use impersonal Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods to screen out most on-line applications, no matter how qualified you think you are.

Here are some tips on how to build your network:

·      First, get organized! Make it easy for people to help. Prep and practice your “who you are” statement – your professional/career summary, key skills, why you are in transition, and what you want to do next (or at least thinking about doing). You can “burn” a contact if you don’t have this ready.

·      Identify who would likely want to help you the most. Start with those closest to you. These usually are friends, family, alums, close current/past work or volunteer organization colleagues, etc. This is your “foundation” network - people you know well.

·      Have the right objective, which is not to ask for a job, but rather to gather information and get advice to further your search effort. After your intro conversation, ask: “Who might you know that you could introduce to me?”

·      Ideally, have a target list of companies or industries you can share. This can prompt names of contacts or possibly even job leads from them.

·      When reaching out to new contacts, have a “script” in mind, such as: ‘[mutual acquaintance] suggested I call/contact you, I am in a job search, and seek your advice & counsel, what would be a good time to meet/talk?”

·      Gather names, phone #s, email addresses, set follow-up steps, such as sending on your resume or handbill, asking if you can reconnect periodically for status updates on your search (which may generate additional contacts).

·      Keep track of who you met with, with meeting notes so you can easily recall the next time you might connect with them.

Simply stated, networking is a way of getting someone you know to introduce you to someone you don't know. When that happens, the introducer becomes a sponsor and your job search will take on new momentum.

- Don Nemerov, Managing Partner, CRC Advisor
HelpGuide.org
- Thebalancecareers.com
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