By Rhonda Campbell
November 2011, the United States unemployment rate dipped below 9 percent, dropping down to 8.6 percent. The numbers of people who gave up looking for work because they thought their efforts would be in vain also dropped. In fact, there were 186,000 fewer discouraged workers in November according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Networking for Jobs Remains Priority
No doubt the holiday shopping season has played a role in the decline in unemployment. (The private sector added 140,000 jobs in November.) These and other signs that the economy is strengthening, however rapidly or slowly, is good.
What drops in unemployment don’t change is the importance of networking to land quality jobs. Even in strong economies you have to incorporate effective networking strategies to find work (or to find better work). But first you need to identify the types of companies you want to work for.
Hoovers, Vault, Dunn & Bradstreet and Green Book provide research material on companies. For instance, you can research company data based on employee size, industry and location (e.g. city, state). Types of information included in company research directories are dates companies were founded, names of senior management members and the latest business initiatives companies undertook.
Research Companies to Get the Most out of Networks
Write down the names of one to two departmental hiring managers at companies you’re interested in working at. Also jot down the names of one to two human resource managers at these companies. It’s to these people you’ll address your cover letters when you fill our online job applications and/or submit your resume.
But not so fast. Before you send those cover letters and resumes contact members of your online and offline social networks. Ask them if they know anyone at the companies (e.g. secretaries, technologists, supervisors).
If they do, find out what department these people work in. You might be able to filter your resume and cover letter to the companies through these personal networks. This is a win if your network contacts have solid reputations at the companies.
More Networking Strategies You Can Use to Land Quality Work
Additional steps you can take to network to land quality work, jobs that turn into rewarding careers, include:
- Hosting networking events with members of your business and social networks (e.g. luncheon)
- Create an online portfolio. Pass out the portfolio URL to network members so they can pass it on to hiring managers
- Update your LinkedIn profile to indicate that you’re seeking employment
- Tell members of your network that you’re looking for work. Be sure to tell them the types of jobs you’re looking for.
- Reach out to network members regularly (a 5-10 minute telephone call once a week can work wonders).
- Contact alumni at colleges and universities you attended and ask if they’re aware of job openings in your field.
- Consider working part-time or contractor jobs to build relationships with hiring managers, etc.
Tips for College Grads and Other Professionals Seeking Work
If you recently graduated from college, keep in touch with the school’s career counselors. Ask them about upcoming career fairs you can attend. Also ask them about job opportunities open exclusively to alumni.
Regardless of whether you recently graduated from college or have been out of school for an extended period of time, consider cold calling managers. Introduce yourself to human resource and hiring managers. Ask them you can speak with them for 10 to 15 minutes.
During your meetings, share your skills and talents. Also ask managers to tell you the types of professionals who excel in jobs you’re seeking. Inquire about available jobs. Before hanging up thank managers for their time and send them your contact information.
You might not secure quality employment in five minutes. However, if you remain steadfast, you will land work. You might also discover that you’re suited to work as an entrepreneur. If so, welcome aboard!
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http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm (U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment Situation Summary)