I know what you’re thinking: walking into a room full of strangers and announcing that you’re unemployed is as far from your comfort zone as you can get. Networking is awkward and makes you feel desperate. Do you really have to do it?
The answer is no. Some people do find work without assertively networking. It just generally takes them a lot longer than those who are out actively saying, “I have a lot to offer and I need help.” So, how can you use networking without feeling incredibly awkward?
Network with other people who are unemployed
It may sound counterproductive, but networking with others who aren’t working is a great way to build contacts. Although they don’t have a job, surely they have friends and spouses and colleagues who are working, and who can get you the “in” you’ve been looking for. Networking with other job seekers also helps you keep the important perspective that there are many competent, professional people out there who just haven’t found the right opportunity—yet.
The number one thing you need to take with you to a networking session is business cards. Ideally, your cards should match the personal branding statement and skills listed at the very top of your resume. You can order business cards for the price of shipping from Vista Print, or print your own on perforated card stock from an office supply store.
The second thing that’s important to bring to a networking event is your elevator speech. It should go something like this: “Hi, my name is John Smith. I have 15 years’ experience in investment services with Fortune 500 companies. I am looking for a similar opportunity in this area and would love contacts with ABC and XYZ companies. Once again, my name is John Smith.” Forming a successful, succinct elevator pitch takes some time, so think about your goals before you enter the event.
Bringing a professional looking portfolio or notebook to the meeting with you complements your qualified appearance. It also gives you something in which to jot notes from any speakers who are presenting, or to record contact information or ideas you get from other networkers.
Don’t know where to start? Try Web sites such as www.job-hunt.org that list networking groups by state. Then, get your business cards, elevator speech, and professional/business casual attire ready, and GO!
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that transform job searches into interviews and ultimately job offers. For more information about professional resume writing or to read more career and job search related articles visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or call 1.800.991.5187.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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