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Where’s Your Network?

Looking for contacts in all the right places

➔ Ask anyone who has experience with job seeking experience and you’ll most likely get the same answer. It doesn’t matter if you ask a job coach, a mentor, a recruiter, a hiring manager, or any HR specialist. You also can ask people who have recently been involved in a job search.

The question is: What’s the most effective activity you can do in your job search? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yale University report, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. No matter how you slice it and dice, that’s a significantly high proportion.

All networking is not created equal

Just as job search are most effective if done in the right markets or industries (depending on your particular situation), based on the BLS and Yale report, it would follow that the most effective networking occurs if done in the right places.

When most job seekers think of networking, they think of people in their line of work or industry. That’s pretty much a given.

If you’re seeking a white collar job and want to expand your network, you’ll probably gravitate toward events such as business after hours or professional programs such as conferences or maybe trade shows. Not a bad strategy. When looking for a job in your area, look for other people like you.

Not surprisingly, the same concept can apply to blue collar workers – look for other people like you. Unfortunately, you won’t find many workers at business-after-hours events who’ve come straight from the shop floor. Does that mean that networking doesn’t work for the blue collar workforce? Not at all. If you’re blue collar, you just need to network in different places. First and foremost, former co-workers, or vendors from your past employer. Then there are neighbors, friends, churches, etc. They’re out there. You just need to look for them.

And depending on your line of work, some brainstorming and initial conversations should spark any number of other sources.

At the end of the day, white collar or blue, networking contacts are where you find them.


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