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Real Life Networking

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Real Life Networking

Unemployment is your job. It's your job to meet people and have a good time with them. It's your job to make them like you so they will want to help you. Your job doesn't have to suck.

That's your mind set for networking. Don't let embarrassment about unemployment or depression hold you back. That's a downward spiral and as a side benefit, getting out helps fight the depression.

It's a numbers game, so the more people you meet, the better the chance that you'll meet someone who will provide genuine help. You never can anticipate who will know of an open job, help you contact someone important at a targeted company or industry, provide useful guidance or help in other countless unimaginable ways.

Don't live in a cave. Socialize, go to Chamber of Commerce meetings, volunteer, join professional groups and job hunting networks, go to Meetups. Show an interest in the people you meet and be up front about your situation. Talk about it without asking for help.

You'll be surprised at the number of people who volunteer advice, know of a job, or offer to introduce you to someone else that can be helpful. Treat the advice with respect, so always be appreciative and don't feel a need to mention that you've been down that path, even if the advice is obvious.

Leverage karma. You may be able to help the people you meet in unexpected ways, which could open even more doors for you. If you try to help, you also create reasons to keep in touch. Don't forget that when you help others, you feel better about yourself.

Carry the tools of networking:

  • Business cards - Not only are business cards the easy way to provide contact information, they create a professional image.
  • Pen and paper - Be ready to collect contact information or take notes.

Follow up. A short email or note helps imprint the contact in their mind and could motivate them to action or to share an after-thought.

Keep your contact data organized. If you're reading this, that means you can do it on a computer. You have the tools to save contact details, notes and reminders in a way that makes it easy to use and easy to integrate with your online networking.

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