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5 ways to network to a better job

The sport of networking is a full time game for job seekers, according to the author of a recent book for those starting out or starting over in a career.

“Keep in mind, networking can happen anywhere,” says Phil Blair, author of “Job Won! 500,000 Hires and Counting,” and co-owner of Manpower San Diego, a franchise of the U.S. staffing firm. “Networking occurs in restaurants and bars, in continuing education classes, at parties, on a bus, train or airplane, in an online chat room, at a sporting event, kids soccer games, volunteer activities or fundraisers. The way I see it, every moment you’re not asleep can be a networking opportunity.”

Here are five networking tips for career success from Blair:

  1. Professional associations offer face time with people who can provide behind-the-scenes insights into different companies and industries. They also are the most likely to know about the “hidden job market.” Look for association meetings relevant to your job or career interests.
  1. Most professional association websites post industry news, job trends, resource libraries, membership directories, and calendars of upcoming meetings. More important, they often post job openings in their “Career” sections.
  1. Attend a meeting, as a guest or become a member, if the cost isn’t   prohibitive. These gatherings are rich in potential contacts and employment opportunities. They can be high-energy and inspiring, motivating you even more. They also usually have speakers that you may find of interest.
  1. Don’t be surprised to discover other people looking for jobs at these meetings. They are attending the meeting for the same reason you are and may be competition, but they’re a support too. Other job seekers are a great resource for learning about positions and possibilities that might otherwise slip by unknown. In a sense, your network is tapping into their networks. They can tell you about jobs that were not right for them but might be right for you.
  1. Just remember to be equally considerate to other job seekers: Share information and tips freely. Be generous. Pay it forward. Acts of kindness always pay off. People will remember.

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