21 Aug 2015

Networking and How to Find a Job

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Business People Networking
It’s always good to make new friends. That’s what networking is. Whether it’s to attract more clients, to change careers or to find compatriots, it pays to always be on the lookout for the chance to network.

The informative website www.businessballs.com is a non-profit clearing house chock full of info for careers and career-seekers. They define networking as a great way “for developing sales opportunities and contacts, based on referrals and introductions – either face-to-face at meetings and gatherings, or by other contact methods such as phone, email, and increasingly social and business networking websites.”

Be Like a Tennessean

An often overlooked way to network is to volunteer at an event. Some business-oriented events can be isolating if you are truly branching out and going where you don’t know anyone. By volunteering at an event, you will always be doing something and have people to talk to. Whether you are working the registration table, setting up chairs, or helping the presenters, you can engage in mini-conversations the entire time. Also, you can write down names and emails of notable people to keep in contact with. (By the way, Tennessee is the Volunteer State.)

Follow up with your contacts within 48 hours of meeting them. Send an email or make a call. Text only if you know that they are open to that. When sending an email, be honest about yourself if you want to stand out. Try sending something with a personal touch, such as an article you found online relating to their line of work, or a rare find on Ebay that they may enjoy. The goal is to make it feel less like self-promotion and more natural. If they do respond, offer to set up a time to meet with them for lunch or coffee.

Be a Joiner

Business networking groups have become very popular, and that’s because they work! One of the largest is BNI (www.bni.com) which charges a fee for membership and has a structured approach with a system of giving and receiving referrals. They allow only one representative per industry (real estate, for example) in each local chapter. If your line of work has already been spoken for, try www.meetup.com or www.toastmasters.org. Woman-only groups such as www.ewomennetwork.com are also very highly regarded.

LinkedIn LogoAlso, use LinkedIn, a professional networking site that helps you look for people in the field that you are interested in. Send a request to these people and even if some of them are 2nd or 3rd level profiles, send them a casual message asking “how they broke into the field.” Questions like “Do you have any advice for a person to get their feet wet in the field?” or “What has your experience been like working in the job?” are excellent examples of how to start. If you live far away from them, offer to Skype or meet for coffee.

glassdoor-logoAustin is home to one of the largest and best employment agencies in the world, www.Indeed.com. Other sites such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, SimplyHired.com, and Jobing.com are also popular with job seekers.

US News and World Report also suggests visiting glassdoor.com. Glassdoor allows for their users to looks the info for salaries, reviews of the company and workplace, and to even prepare for interview questions from the company they are interested in.

Another way to use social media for networking your way into a new job in to enlist good old Facebook. Write an open-hearted post about your circumstances and say what you are looking for. You will be surprised how many people are willing to help if you ask them to. Be specific. Rather than saying “I want to work with cars” or “I’ll do anything,” state that you are looking for a position to “build engines” or “sell cars.” Be yourself and be honest: it will pay off in spades, or even a in great new career.

If you went to college, don’t forget your alumni association. You know that one that finds you every time you move and asks you to donate to the latest capital campaign? They also offer excellent networking opportunities, even if you graduated decades ago!

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