Monday, June 4, 2012

Expanding Your Career Network Without Social Networks

It goes without saying that social networks are extremely popular these days. These sites are useful for catching up with old friends and -- most importantly for your job search -- making connections for your career. Yet as useful as sites like LinkedIn are, face-to-face networking still remains an effective tool.

One of the advantages of traditional career networking is the personal connection. You can learn a lot more about a person by seeing their mannerisms and hearing their voice than by communicating via e-mail. If you are one of those individuals that prefers the "old school" method of networking, here are four tips to help expand your connections:
  • Talk to your seat-mates on the train. You never know if that person sitting next to you could hold the key for your career. Making conversation with complete strangers isn't exactly easy, but it can be very valuable if you can do it.
  • Start volunteering. This is one of the best ways to build connections in the nonprofit sector. Becoming a volunteer almost guarantees you will meet someone who can be of help to you. It also doesn't look half-bad on your resume.
  • Sign up for an alumni newsletter. There's a very good chance you will learn about upcoming networking events, which will help you re-establish ties with old classmates or professors.
  • Join clubs. These don't have to necessarily be related to your job search. You are just as likely to find potential networking contacts at a chess club than job search related activities.
All of this is not to say you should completely abandon online networking. On the contrary, you should continue to use it to enhance your job search. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that a social networking site is the ultimate answer for all your problems.

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