Where to Network

Many job seekers get stuck in a rut.  They spend their time scouring online postings and applying to job ads.  I’ve listened to scores of people tell me that they felt most of their efforts are wasted with the online process, yet they continue to do it anyway.  It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.  The key point here is that if one way isn’t working, then you need to be willing to do things differently.  If you’re ready to try a new approach, here are some suggestions to help you get started for where else to look.

1)      Friends and Family– While it may seem obvious, I’m still surprised at how many people don’t even let the people they’re closest to know that they’re searching.  Remember, these folks care about you the most, so at least allow them to help if they can

2)      Former Co-Workers– These are often the best contacts during your search.  Since you’re a known and trusted person to them, it is easy for these people to want to recommend you to their current employer.  LinkedIn is a great tool to help you reconnect with these people, even if it has been awhile since you were last in touch with them.  It is well worth reaching out, and you might even be surprised what may come from it!

Companies hire people, not resumes.

3)      Church– This is a personal favorite of mine.  Sharing a common faith is a strong bond and can serve as a great source of support and encouragement.  If you don’t have a home church, I’d strongly recommend looking into it.  If you do attend, I’d make sure to let others know about your situation.  Try sitting in a different spot once in awhile, too, so you can engage with different people!

4)      Industry Specific Groups– Chances are good that there are seminars, user groups, and other organizations that meet in your area which could lead to the type of opportunity you’re pursuing.  They are a terrific way to stay up with trends while also meeting new people.

5)      College Alumni Office– Remember all that money you spent on college?  Well, some of it went to supporting the school’s alumni office, so I’d recommend using it.  If possible, I’d schedule a personal visit so you can understand the resources they have available and to start to develop a relationship with the people who work there.  Don’t just put your resume in their database and call it good.  Learn which companies have strong ties with your school and start to network personally with the contacts at those firms.

6)      Chamber of Commerce– Your local Chamber of Commerce can be a great resource during a job search.  I’d recommend stopping in to introduce yourself to the staff and making an appointment with the director if possible, too.  Please remember, they are not a job service, so don’t treat them like one.  But they are plugged in to the local business community and might be willing to help you learn which companies in your area are growing and hiring.  Chambers also host regular functions for their members and the community that can be great opportunities to network with others.

7)      Children and Grandchildren– Many of us spend a lot our time attending ballgames, dance recitals, school functions, etc.  There is usually time to get to know others at these gatherings, so please do so.  You just never know who you might meet or what may come from a new conversation.

8)      Hobbies/Activities– This is another often overlooked area of our lives that could be very effective.  I’ve known people to find new opportunities through sports leagues, gardening clubs, Bible studies, hunting buddies, and a variety of other social groups.  While these are great escapes for many from work, they also can be effective places to find new employment, too.

Companies hire people, not resumes.  I’m not suggesting ignoring online ads altogether, but in my opinion, the best jobs are found through personal networking.  Hopefully the above suggestions help give you some new ideas for where and how to find those jobs.

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