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Since well over half of job seekers (70% by recent estimates) secure new positions through networking, incorporating this component into your job search strategy is vital. If you don’t have a network and you’re unemployed, you may find job search difficult . . . and lengthy . . . especially during a tough economy.

 Of course you’re not alone. Many job seekers (whether employed or unemployed) feel exactly the same way you do: they’re uncomfortable in crowds, are reluctant to ask strangers for help and would rather visit the dentist than “work” a room.

 So what to do? First of all, consider mindset.

  • How do you define network?
  • What other term might you focus on that evokes positive thoughts?
  • What would be the value of a productive network?
  • How do you want people you are meeting for the first time to perceive you?
  • At what time of day do you have the most energy to interact with others?
  • What types of events/activities/groups do you enjoy? What do you enjoy discussing?
  • What would your reaction be if you were approached by someone who wanted to network with you?
  • How can you bring value to the people with whom you network?
  • What would a conducive networking environment look like?
  • What would make networking easier for you?

Thoughtfully consider these 10 points to experience a shift in thinking. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone to build new relationships, make new friends, increase your sphere of influence, connect with hiring decision makers and access the hidden job market. What step are you willing to take right now that will move you toward that ultimate goal?

Have you secured a new position through networking? If yes, what tips and hints on networking would you give to fellow job seekers?

Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC