As Unemployment Claims Rise, Networking Skills Become More Important

December 2, 2011

Networking, Offline Networking

The latest report by the U.S. Department of Labor reinforced just how important networking skills are to anyone making a professional job change.

According to the Department, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose in late December. During the second-to-last week of the month, in fact, weekly unemployment applications jumped by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 381,000, according to the Labor Department.

Job Search Competition

It’s not a great way to close the year and it’s intimidating news for anyone in the process of finding a job today. Fortunately, there is a tool that job applicants can use to boost their executive job search: networking.

The truth is, when job seekers apply to a listing at even the best job sites, they’re competing against hundreds of others seeking that same position. It’s not easy for job hunters, even the most qualified ones, to make their resumes stand out.

Networking Skills Can Help

Networking Skills and UnemploymentThis is where networking skills come in. By networking with past co-workers, former bosses, old college professors, and even friends and family members, job hunters can boost their odds of finding those positions in the hidden job market – the positions that attract far fewer applicants. For instance, job hunters who mingle with a local business leader at a chamber of commerce event might discover that that the bank two towns over will soon need a new manager. That job seeker can give the bank a call in the hopes of scheduling an interview before the bank even posts their soon-to-be-open position.

Job seekers might even discover that their next door neighbor is the sister of the hiring manager at a nearby public relations firm. That hiring manager might, on the recommendation of his sister, consider scheduling an interview with the job seeker.

The Hidden Job Market

In both examples, job hunters would have missed out on hot employment leads if they hadn’t brushed up on their networking skills.

Networking can prove challenging, especially to those job seekers who haven’t had to look for new employment in several years. By networking, both through traditional face-to-face meetings with area business professionals and former co-workers and through such social media sites as LinkedIn and Facebook, job hunters give themselves the best chance of finding that new position.

If you need help shaking the rust off your networking skills, consider signing up for our Get Hired Boot Camp. Our career search experts can help you master the networking techniques that can lead you to your next job.

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