Are you seeking a new career opportunity? Or, have you been out of work for awhile and don’t know what to do next? If you are simply sitting behind your computer and perusing the job boards for that next big career step, you are missing one vital part of job search—in-person networking. See below for several tips to maximize your time and reap the benefits.

Tip #1 – Volunteer within the community. If you are unemployed or have a passion for a particular organization, consider volunteering. Not only will this fill your time and make a significant impact on those the organization serves, you will also meet other professionals and can connect with them. If you are extremely interested in an organization, consider serving on a board of directors or taking a more vital role within the group.

Tip #2 – Attend chamber of commerce events. Most city’s have local chambers of commerce that allow you to attend networking events for free or minimal charge. What if you spend $5 or $10 to attend an event and are able to connect with 100+ professionals? Be sure to dress in business attire, have business cards or a connection card available, and put on your best smile.

Tip #3 – Schedule a minimum of one business lunch or dinner per week. Whether you are currently employed or not, you still have to eat lunch and dinner. Rather than staying home and grabbing a sandwich from your kitchen or eating in your company lunchroom, make a point to connect with someone outside of your current company and schedule a lunch appointment. This will allow you stay connected to your field (or your desired field), and you can let these individuals know that you are seeking new opportunities.

Tip #4 – Follow up. After you attend networking events or meet someone via a volunteer organization, be sure to follow up with them. Send an email thanking them for their expertise or explaining how much you enjoyed meeting them. This shows follow-through and that you maintain contact with your connections. It’s important to stay top-of-mind when potential job opportunities arise. And, if you secure an interview, following-up is more important than ever.

If you are ready to move forward with your job search and aren’t sure if your resume is ready-to-go, contact us today for a free resume consultation – we would love to help!