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May 25, 2009
Career networking during a recession

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Article: Career networking during a recession

By CareerOneStop

A recession may seem like the wrong time to focus on career networking. Isn't everyone else too worried about their own job to worry about your career?

In fact, it's a great time to network. Lots of people are focused on jobs and careers right now -- and lots of people either want to help or need help with their careers during tough job markets.

Follow these special tips for networking during a recession:

TIP 1: Practice your networking "elevator speech."

That's your two-minute description of your skills and career goals that you pass along to networking contacts. Keeping it short and simple will ensure that people don't tune you out.

TIP 2: Keep it positive.

You may have lots of unresolved hard feelings toward your former boss, your former place of employment, or any number of items related to your career. But it's your job to present yourself as a positive problem solver when you're looking for a job. People empathize with people who were laid off, but they are impressed by people who make the most out of adversity.

TIP 3: Use all the networks at your disposal.

It's the era of social networking. Online programs such as LinkedIn and Facebook are great networking tools. But don't forget networking on career specialty sites and niche job boards too. If you've been laid off, you may have more time to attend trade groups, job fairs, and local networking meetings as well. They can be great places to practice your networking elevator speech. Make sure you always have your networking business cards with you, and a printed copy of your current resume.

TIP 4: Remember the net goes both ways.

Networking is about helping other people as much as it is about other people helping you. And gaining a reputation as a helpful networker will lead to more people to turn to when you need help. Think of it this way: You wouldn't expect someone you barely know to trust you enough to connect you to their closest friends. But people are more likely to help you once they've seen that you have helped others yourself.

CareerOneStop is a U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored website that offers career resources and workforce information to job seekers, students, businesses, and workforce professionals to foster talent development in a global economy.