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Networking

Why Networking Is More Important Than Ever

Writer / Elizabeth Shultz, President of Shultz Career Consulting
Photography Provided

In a time of uncertainty with our current job market, we are all stretching our comfort zones and doing our best to adapt. So, how do you keep up? How do you stay relevant as a professional in a state of constant flux? More importantly, what do you do if you find yourself unemployed?

Take comfort in knowing there are some constants, and you probably already know at least one.

Networking. Its not a dirty word. Most people can cite a time they got a job through a personal connection. The following techniques will help you to be more effective in networking and self-marketing. Even if you are not looking for a new job, these techniques can help you stay relevant and preserve your current position by adding to the value you bring to the employer.

You Know Everyone You Need to Know

Think about the connections you have with family, co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors, local businesses you frequent, fellow church goers, etcetera. Then think about who they know. Where there is a will, theres a connection. These connections help business grow, lead to stronger communities and result in employment opportunities.

Social Media Presence

This is your universal platform for selling yourself, and its free advertising. Not only do you want to market yourself to prospective employers, but youre also creating and adding value to your current employer by having a strong social media presence.

Only use high-quality, professional profile pics.

No matter which sites you use, be aware of your posts. Refrain from polarizing comments or politically charged posts. Even if your profile is set to private, you may be surprised who can see it, especially when you comment on someone elses page.

Rest assured, employers are checking you out either before your interview or prior to extending a job offer. If you havent already, google yourself.

LinkedIn Is Your Friend

LinkedIn is a great tool to connect and doesnt have to be intimidating. Everyone should have a well-developed profile with a concise summary. If you find it hard to create these, there are online tutorials and professional services to help.

Be active. Like other peoples posts, and directly message people to get to know them better. Request connections. Join industry-related private groups. Remember, everyone started with zero connections. Thats the combined power of networking.

Be Ready With an Excellent Resume

Going forward, resumes will be more important than ever as the job market becomes more competitive. Hiring managers and human-resources staff members often must sift through piles of submissions from online applications. You want to stand out and you only have a few seconds to do it.

Writing your own resume can be challenging and may feel awkward. Using a professional can be helpful. Once youve got a good resume, use it to network. Post it to your profile on LinkedIn, or on job search sites like Indeed or CareerBuilder. Also, it will make a difference if you apply for a promotion within your current company.

Online Networking

Many organizations are holding online networking events. In some ways, these can be less intimidating than in-person networking. Look for opportunities in professional organizations related to your field through those groupswebsites or your local chamber of commerce.

Remote Job Fairs

A staffing agency or a recruiter may host job fairs online or as a drive-through option without in-person contact. Brush up on your etiquette to best promote yourself. Look the part and speak professionally. Even if you are only testing the waters for what emerging opportunities may be out there, it doesnt hurt to reach out and network. You never know when you might need that connection.

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