You’re at a neighborhood block party, and people are talking about their summer activities. How do you begin to introduce the fact that you’re in job search mode? Is it acceptable to use this social event to discuss your lack of employment? It sure is!
This isn’t the time to hand out resumes, but social settings present a great opportunity to talk to your friends and neighbors about the work they’re doing and telling them — if they don’t know already — that you’re in transition and looking for new opportunities.
Talk generally about how things are going at their company and if there seems to be some fit, ask if you might call them to talk further about what the company does or to discuss some questions you have. If there isn’t a natural connection to their work, see if they know anyone in your field that you might talk to. Don’t ask for a job, but do make it clear that you’re looking to network and make new connections.
This is also a time to be thinking of others. If someone tells you something that you think would help a friend of yours who is unemployed, ask if you can connect your friend to that person and, if it’s appropriate, offer to send a follow-up e-mail or LinkedIn invitation.
If you’re sitting in front of your computer day after day, try turning it off after an hour and making some phone calls or arranging some meetings with people in your network. A chat over a cup of coffee can lead to other possible connections and a broader network.
Find a new networking event in your area. Check Alex Freund’s Landing Expert (www.landingexpert.com) and click on Networking Groups. You can also Google networking events and include your location. The Department of Labor hosts Professional Service Groups throughout the state where you can meet job-seekers at different stages and get valuable information about many aspects of the job search. Visit lwd.state.nj.us, click on Workforce NJ, and go to Workforce Directories, where you will find a listing for the PSGs.
It’s important to stay connected to others during a long job search. This helps you avoid isolation and hones your skills at selling your product: YOU.
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THE ECONOMIC RESPONSE Initiative is a program of Jewish Family Service Agency of Central NJ fully funded by the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey. It consists of two weekly job-seeker groups, one on Mondays, 10 a.m.-noon, at 655 Westfield Ave. in Elizabeth, the other on Wednesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., at Temple Sholom/Presbyterian Church, 74 S. Martine Ave., Fanwood. Evening forums are held on the first Wednesday of each month from September to June at the JCC of Central New Jersey, 1391 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains. Individual career development sessions are also available upon request for resume review, interview preparation, counseling, etc. All services are free of charge. If you would like to participate in any of these programs, contact Carol Einhorn at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sheri Brown at email@example.com.