Networking for Your Future
The rules for job hunting have certainly changed over past years. No longer can you mail a résumé in response to a want ad and hope to be 1 of 10 applicants with a decent chance of getting interviewed. In today's economic climate, hiring managers aren't posting all open jobs, and the ones that do get posted have hundreds of applicants. Use social networking in addition to traditional networking methods to discover unlisted jobs. Use job boards, but also search the private websites of companies that you're interested in targeting.
Use the phone and email to stay in touch with your networking contacts. Follow up on every lead and say "Thank you" often. Try to do as much for the people who help you as they're doing for you. Networking needs to be mutually beneficial. Once you find a new job, don't forget about your network friends. You might be helping them to find a new job next time. Keep your résumé up to date, and watch for new opportunities.
Set goals for networking with a specific number of people per day/week. Try to have at least two meaningful conversations each day. Don't just sit behind the computer and search the want ads. Get out there and make it happen!
Let me hear from you. Share your experiences about networking, either through online sites or just across your backyard, that have led to your next job.