9 Great Places to Network for a Job Search - dummies

9 Great Places to Network for a Job Search

By Joyce Lain Kennedy

Putting together a personal network is a work project highly recommended by virtually every career adviser. When networking Feldman’s way — purposefully for jobs without wasting time — consider the following suggestions of places to build your personal network:

  • Industry events. Here’s where you meet compatible people who speak your language and understand what you’re selling. You may even be able to impress several employers and recruiters.

  • Trade or professional associations. They offer a giant office grapevine where, as a member, you can find out from fellow members which companies are hiring and which are firing, and who inside the hiring companies will pitch for you and who won’t.

  • Relevant conferences and trade shows. These turfs make it easy to walk up to strangers and make a favorable impression that you can later parlay into a contact or link to a job.

  • Online networking websites. Know-everybody groups like LinkedIn or Facebook can help establish contacts in various ways. For instance, check out LinkedIn’s group membership rosters for individual employment affiliations that may become helpful inside connections.

    Visit discussion boards like the job search forums on About.com, Monster, and Indeed to network with professionals and other job seekers.

    Check out Twitter’s feature that allows you to see a list of who the target is following, and a list of who is following the target, which collectively may suggest others whom you’ll want to contact for job leads.

    Many colleges and universities maintain online career networks where you can spot alumni you may convince to help with your job search.

  • Job fairs. Booths, tables, and people are natural ingredients for nonstop networking and follow-up.

  • Schools. Classes where you’re learning along with others make for a natural turf to strike up conversations. Similarly, an alumni event is an open sesame to super networking opportunities.

  • Local chamber of commerce. Here’s a jellybean jar where you can meet lots of different kinds of people and hand out your business card with your branding statement and a scannable QR code that pulls up your resume on a smartphone. But merely exchanging cards is unlikely to generate a relationship that will reward your effort. Step up your networking game by volunteering to help with a chamber effort.

  • Volunteer work. Contributing your time to causes and events is likely to cement strong support for your job-finding efforts among like-minded, empathetic people.

  • Associations. From hobby clubs and exercise teams to ethnic groups and improv comedy troupes, associations offer promise in the common bond of membership. Belonging to any association can pay career dividends as long as you remember the purpose for which you joined.