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Networking: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Your Connections

Your job search strategy is technically flawless, and you’re hitting all the right notes with your resume, your cover letter, your editing process, and your thorough reviews of every job post within your geographic range. But are you still missing out on one essential aspect of a successful search? If you aren’t leaning on your network—in addition to all of your other moves—then you may be overlooking critical opportunities to get your foot in the door. Keep these tips in mind and make the most of your real-world relationships.

Let people know that you’re looking.

This sounds simple, but for many people, it’s the hardest part of the entire process. Unemployment can make us feel vulnerable and can be isolating and embarrassing, but here’s a fact that may make these things less painful: Almost every professional person has experienced at least one job loss or a prolonged search for work by the time they reach the age of 35. So you’re not alone. And most people would rather help than judge. Share your news on Facebook, Twitter and any other channel that connects you to those who care about you.

Reach out to specific connections in the industry.

Your old professor may have forgotten about you after all these years—but maybe she hasn’t. Your former boss may hardly remember your name or may not have positive recollections about your work…but the opposite may also be true. Reach out to these people with respect, warmth, and self-direction. Then let them decide how to respond.

When you have an opportunity to socialize, go.

Don’t sit at home. You may not think a chance encounter with old friends will have any impact at all on your job search, but don’t make hasty assumptions. Keep your mind open and remember that every event can turn into a networking event. Polish your manners and conversational skills. Be friendly. Be nice. Ask others about themselves before you burden them with your life story. Find out what others need before you start asking for favors. Put others first, including their problems, their professions, their feelings, and their interests. Listen closely before you talk. You never know what you might learn, and you never how the new connections you form might help you in the future.

For more on how to summon the courage to reach out and win over those who may have the poser to support your job search, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.

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