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The Job Search: What to Do when Networking Doesn't Work

The Job Search: What to Do when Networking Doesn't Work

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Learn more about degree programs at American Public University.

By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, Online Career Tips

Although networking can be useful in finding a new job, it isn’t foolproof. Networking events hosted by local Chambers of Commerce or Meetup groups often consist of small business owners who are not in a position to provide permanent employment for many people. Conversely, hiring managers rarely attend these small networking events because they are reluctant to hear job seekers’ elevator speeches and these events offer slim pickings for top-notch candidates.

Industry-related networking events are more likely to lead to interviews or resume reviews by hiring managers, but these events often have a hefty admission fee. For example, the typical cost of attending an industry event could be $50, $100 or more for a non-member. When you factor in the cost of transportation to and from the event, the price rises even higher and may strain your budget.

So what can you do to find a new job opportunity? There is a lot you can do.

Ask Industry Event Hosts if You Can Volunteer at Their Next Networking Event

If you want to attend an industry networking event but cannot afford the high admission fee, ask the organizers if you could serve as a volunteer and meet the attendees after your work is complete. The benefits are mutual. The event organizers gain free help and you have the chance to mingle with people in your industry without paying a fee.

Keep Improving Your Job Skills

A college degree and work experience look good on a resume, but it’s useful to continually add to your skills and knowledge as industry needs change. There is a lot of free online education available, including:

  • Lynda: Online education company Lynda has a subscription service for public libraries. Ask your local library if it offers access to the lynda.com site; you can take the courses at your library or from home at no cost. Courses offered include business, software development, web development, software development and photography.
  • Cybrary: Cybrary provides open-source education for cybersecurity, information technology and information security. (Note: only some courses are free; others charge a fee.)

Ramp Up Your Personal Branding

Today’s technology offers plenty of ways to get noticed by other people and to establish your personal brand. You could start a LinkedIn profile, create a network and use LinkedIn’s publishing feature to write blog posts that highlight your special skills and knowledge. Create a Twitter or Facebook account and join groups to communicate with fellow professionals and learn about job openings.

Use a Multi-Prong Approach to Job Hunting

In your quest to find a new job, use every resource you can. Scour job websites such as Monster, Glassdoor and Indeed for opportunities and have job alerts from these sites delivered to you by email. Keep up your networking and set up Google Alerts to monitor the activities of your favorite companies.

Most of All, Be Persistent

Finding a new job is unpredictable; the process often takes several months or longer. You’ll probably go through multiple interviews and different companies before getting a job that suits you.

Also, remember that the APUS Career Services department offers several free services to aid current students and alumni. These services include talks with career coaches and career exploration specialists, resume reviews, virtual career fairs and mock interviews.

Learn more about degree programs at American Public University.

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