career and job

Kamis, 19 Agustus 2010

Networking: Where to Cast Your Net

by Erin Hovanec

One of the most effective ways to find a job: Network.

Spread the word that you're looking for a new job. First, tell your family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances ... everyone. Even tell your mail carrier and your hair stylist. (But don't tell anyone at your current job.)

When it comes to networking though, there's more to consider than simply who you know.

You have to think about who you DON'T know. And then find a way to get to know those people.

Once you've exhausted your personal connections, it's time to focus on meeting some new faces.

Here are some tips on where to start building a network.

Get 'Organized'

The American Association of Zoo Keepers, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the American Nuclear Society ...

No matter what your occupation, there's a professional organization for you!

National and international professional associations often have local chapters where you can meet other professionals in your field. And most hold conferences and other events designed specifically for networking.

Professional organizations can also help you keep up-to-date on the latest developments in your industry. They often provide members with the latest industry news, trends and research as well as training and education. This information can come in very handy in interviews.

Not sure what organization would be right for you? This list , organized by topic, can help you get started.

Hit the Books

Looking for regular contact with a group of like-minded professionals in your industry?

Take a class.

From art design to advertising to auto repair, you should be able to find a class in your area that's relevant to your career. And you're guaranteed to meet a group of people who are also interested in your industry.

As an added bonus, a class can give you new skills to boost your resume and make you even more attractive to employers.

Revisit Your Past

Wish you could find a ready-made network, just waiting for you to join? You can: Your alumni association.

Most colleges and even many high schools have alumni organizations made up of former graduates. These organizations usually contain people in every occupation and industry imaginable.

If your former school has an alumni group, get involved.

Take advantage of the fact that you have something in common with the other alums. Remember: It's always easier to meet new people when you share an experience.

Give Something to Get Something

Sure, volunteer work lets you help others. But it also lets you help yourself -- and your job search.

Consider doing volunteer work to expand your network. You'll likely meet an entirely new group of people.

Choose an organization that's related to your profession, if possible. If you can't find a relevant company or cause, offer to help out your favorite charity by doing something that's job-related. Organizations can always use an extra set of hands to help with everything from computer work to clerical tasks.

By volunteering, you'll get a chance to use your skills, expand your network and make a much-needed contribution.

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