Using Networking Groups to Your Advantage » Blog | Great Resumes Fast

I know what you’re thinking: walking into a room full of strangers and announcing that you’re unemployed is as far from your comfort zone as you can get.  Networking is awkward and makes you feel desperate.  Do you really have to do it?

The answer is no.  Some people do find work without assertively networking.  It just generally takes them a lot longer than those who are out actively saying, “I have a lot to offer and I need help.”  So, how can you use networking without feeling incredibly awkward?

Network with other people who are unemployed

It may sound counterproductive, but networking with others who aren’t working is a great way to build contacts.  Although they don’t have a job, surely they have friends and spouses and colleagues who are working, and who can get you the “in” you’ve been looking for.  Networking with other job seekers also helps you keep the important perspective that there are many competent, professional people out there who just haven’t found the right opportunity—yet.

Come prepared

The number one thing you need to take with you to a networking session is business cards.  Ideally, your cards should match the personal branding statement and skills listed at the very top of your resume.  You can order business cards for the price of shipping from Vista Print, or print your own on perforated card stock from an office supply store.

The second thing that’s important to bring to a networking event is your elevator speech.  It should go something like this: “Hi, my name is John Smith.  I have 15 years’ experience in investment services with Fortune 500 companies.  I am looking for a similar opportunity in this area and would love contacts with ABC and XYZ companies.  Once again, my name is John Smith.”  Forming a successful, succinct elevator pitch takes some time, so think about your goals before you enter the event.

Take notes

Bringing a professional looking portfolio or notebook to the meeting with you complements your qualified appearance.  It also gives you something in which to jot notes from any speakers who are presenting, or to record contact information or ideas you get from other networkers.

Don’t know where to start?  Try Web sites such as that list networking groups by state.  Then, get your business cards, elevator speech, and professional/business casual attire ready, and GO!

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Posted via email from AndyWergedal