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Network your way into a job….

If only I, Margaret, had all the clients I wanted in New York, no, not just New York, let’s make that up and down the Eastern seaboard, indeed, across the country while we’re at it. Not only having the clients with the fillable jobs, but imagine all the terrific candidates suitable for those jobs just happened to find out all about me and register with the fabulous Merit Personnel.
Alas, life is not that simple. We can help you and that’s what we’re here for. We live, breath and dream putting super people in super jobs. Occasionally, though, you have to help yourself. It’s a bit like never leaving the apartment in case you miss Ryan Gosling knocking on your apartment door…(I tried it. It didn’t work).
So…you have to cover your bases. That means making use of all the networking you can. It’s not always particularly fun, because looking for a job is the worst job of all, but it can sometimes pay off.    

So….when to start networking?….frankly as soon as you’ve stopped reading this blog. Summer can sometimes be quieter because a lot of the competition has gone on vacation. The potential employers are still hiring, though; don’t think that American business  takes July and August off. We all wish. There are fewer resumes for HR to be scanning through (you think they give every resume a 5 minute analysis? Again, we all wish), and this is therefore a good time to have your resume noticed.   

College alumni
Your college career services may still be interested in you even after you’ve graduated. One New York college I know of, Berkeley College, gives life-long career help and others presumably do, too. They also have blogs and all sorts of the latest media doo-dad websites (see next paragraph) to help, why not use them. Keep in touch with your professors and lecturers. They know other academics from other institutions and can put you in touch – it’s not helping the competition, it’s helping each other. One of those Departments might have a position…you won’t know about it though if you don’t ask.

Social networks
You’re speaking to Grandma (metaphorically) here, so there are probably really good networks I’ve never even heard of. Let’s start with the one I love. LinkedIn. They have a million subgroups – that may be a slight exaggeration – and some of them surely have to be of interest to you; marketing groups, aeronautical industry groups, loads of recruiting groups.  Join them. You don’t have necessarily to participate actively but you can read the discussions and find out what jobs are being advertised. Make sure your biographical details are up to date. If you feel humiliated that you have to change your current status to “looking for job”, get over it. You want the world to know that you’re ready for the next great opportunity. Recruiters and employers rummage through LinkedIn, that’s one of the main reasons it’s there, let them know whether you’re available or not.
Tumblr, SnapChat, Twitter, there’s a pile of these sites. I’m not on them but that just makes ME weird, it doesn’t make the sites useless. They’re not only there for showing embarrassing photographs of you when you were 17, underdressed, zitty and possibly illegally intoxicated. You can connect with in-person or Internet friends, who can tell you about job opportunities.

Attend networking events.
Some are free though some are not; that’s between you and your bank manager whether you can afford the luxury of the ones that charge. You’re there for a purpose, everyone knows this, they’re mostly there for the same thing, so there’s no need for embarrassment, none of the “I buy Playboy for the crossword puzzle” — yeah, right – trying to obfuscate (sorry, couldn’t resist. I love that word.)   You’re there to meet connections, who may directly or indirectly or very indirectly help you in your job quest.  It can be an informational event where you learn useful factoids about how to find job advertisements, how to interview — yup, I’m not the only one out there trying to help. Or it can be a meeting of potential employers turning up to give you their card in return for your resume.

Social events work as well. The main purpose is more or less to socialize but if you’re at, say, a Church social, you could be sitting next to an HR manager. I went to a summer party reception a couple of weeks ago, sat at a table to scarf down the appetizers and when I said what I did for a living, there was a LINE of people waiting to give me their cards. Ok, maybe not a line but, really, quite a few! Don’t be too aggressive at social events, though. Try building relationships, and with luck and a following wind, job leads will flow from them.