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Network To A Job

Network To A Job

Matt Krumrie
Star Tribune Sales and Marketing - November 2007

Use your network to find work. Be persistent about touching base with contacts from both your personal and professional network in addition to looking for jobs online.

With the growth of the Internet and online job sites, the way people search and find jobs has changed. The problem is, many unemployed job seekers rely solely on the Internet and forget old-fashioned methods like networking and using personal and professional contacts to assist in the job search.

Using your network takes persistence, time and hard work, says executive communications coach Lindsay Strand, president of Lindsay Strand Associates, Inc. (www.lindsaystrand.com).

"Many of the people you think will be good contacts live extremely busy lives," says Strand. "They may need more than one prompt to act upon your request. If you don't hear back or receive a non-committal reply try to engage them again with a more specific question. Ask them to identify one or two people they might contact on your behalf."

Susan Bjork, principal and HR Consultant with Twin Cities-based www.hringenuity.com, says companies recognize many good hires come from referrals. Prepare a plan with detailed information to tell your contacts before embarking on the job search. The more they know, the more they can help you.

"Be specific in your needs when requesting assistance from someone in your network," says Bjork. "People respond better to targeted requests. 'Lisa, I know you've been at XYZ Company for several years, do you know who the hiring decision maker is for the business analyst opening in the IT department?' "

In addition, try using different methods to find a job. There are a number of job clubs in the Twin Cities that can provide new contacts and new leads. For a comprehensive listing of metro area job clubs visit, www.standrewlu.org and look under "Job Transitions."

Consider working at a temporary staffing firm to gain new opportunities and skills, or working with an industry-specific recruiter. Getting a part-time job can keep you working and give you more opportunities to meet people. And, don't forget to follow-up with contacts.

"If you do, you will drop-off of people's radar screens quickly," says Strand. "They will most likely assume you have found a position."

Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has nine years of experience reporting on the employment industry. The first Sunday of each month this column will answer readers' questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to askmatt@startribune.com.