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Erin-K-NetworkingMany people know that networking is important to their careers, but few understand how to effectively use their networking contacts when looking for a new job. Networking isn’t difficult, but is necessary, as it can be a very important tool in your job search strategy.

When you are actively looking for a new job, it’s always important to be dressed appropriately, use proper etiquette, and mingle comfortably at professional gatherings and events. Keep business cards with you and ensure that your contact information is always current. If you click with someone and they ask you to give them a call to follow-up to discuss a potential, be sure you do so within 1-2 business days.

Letting your friends and colleagues know know that you are searching for a new position is also an important piece of the puzzle when you are in the job hunt. Once your contacts know you’re looking, they may be more apt to take a second look when they see a posting in their own company that matches your qualifications. A job opening that they might have otherwise not paid attention to will suddenly catch their attention and they can forward you the information.

Another use of networking contacts in your job search is to reach out to them when a specific job in their company opens up. You can ask them for inside information about the job, the supervisor, the hiring manager, and precisely what the company is looking for in a new hire. You can also ask to use the person as a reference and/or for an introduction to the person responsible for interviewing a candidate for the posted position. These types of recommendations can be worth a great deal because the company is more likely to give greater consideration to someone that another employee recommends over someone who has a list of references that are strangers to the hiring manager.

Using your networking contacts effectively can make your job search much easier, as well as shorten the time you spend searching for a new job.

This guest post is by Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, BS/HR, a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc.  She has achieved international recognition following nominations and wins of the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award.   Find Erin at http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com.