Posted by: outandequal | May 16, 2011

I’m at a Networking Event, Now What?

Julie Beach, Associate Director of Career Development

Julie Beach, Associate Director of Career Development

by Julie Beach |  Did you know that skilled and frequent networking shortens the time it takes to land a great new job? While all active job searches should deploy multiple job-hunting methods such as sending resumes and applying on job boards, it’s wise to spend the largest chunk of time on professional networking—both online and in person.

Before the economic crisis, the old standard for predicting how long a job hunt would take was one month of searching for every $10,000 in salary. For example, a salary of $100,000 per year would require a ten-month job search. Now, in this currently jobless economic recovery, the job hunting process is lengthier. Now estimates double the search time to twenty months. Job searches in high-demand fields such as certain engineering specialties, computer science, direct and allied health care professions and science fields like nanoscience are exceptions to this rule. For the rest of us, professional networking will shorten lengthy job hunts. Good networkers reap benefits that non-networkers miss out on. A good networker learns about job leads before they hit the general public and they receive personal introductions and referrals which bring coveted interviews faster.

Professional networking comes easily for some people. Yet, for many others the very term “networking” elicits reactions such as, “I don’t like small talk,” or even “I don’t want to seem like a used car salesman.” Reactions like these are often brought about by bad past networking experiences—nearly everyone has experienced the rude networker who abruptly departs as soon as someone deemed more important appears.  However, the networking process is best approached as an interaction of both give and take; conducted with the respect and courtesy that reflects well on every potential job candidate.

The best news is not only that networking will bring job offers faster, but that the process is actually a soft skill that can be learned. To learn how to network or to improve your networking skills, see “I’m at a Networking Event, Now What? for the PowerPoint and sound files from a recent LGBTCareerLink webinar training starting on page 16 of the slide deck.

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