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How important is networking?

If you aren't doing it, you have a problem. I am perpetually amazed that people do not understand or appreciate the necessity of networking in this day and age. Most jobs are still obtained through this time-tested, proven method for success. Increasingly, your odds of even finding a job are dwindling exponentially with the number of individuals on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Of the three major social media networks listed above, LinkedIn is the most business oriented, although you can certainly utilize Facebook and Twitter for professional purposes, as well. One client informed me that he received several inquiries regarding his job search once posted on both Facebook and LinkedIn. It's worth the effort. Let people know you're looking and you will be surprised at the generosity of their collective response. Most folks want to help if they are able to do so.

There are also several local job networking events and venues available to you in Atlanta. Here is a sampling via website links:

http://www.jobnetworkingcenter.com/

http://www.job-hunt.org/jobs/georgia.shtml

http://www.rumc.com/page.aspx?id=79363

http://www.ajobs.com/NetworkingGroups.htm

Be sure to take advantage of local sites and meetings to increase your visibility and networking options. Some of these sites claim up to 99% of jobs are obtained through networking. This may be a bit inflated, however, I feel comfortable with saying well over half of most jobs are likely acquired in this manner. Talk to your former supervisors or managers and co-workers; people who know you and your skill set can be of particular assistance during a job search.

Additional job search activities should include attending job fairs, working with recruiters and staffing agencies, and searching job boards such as CareerBuilder, Craigslist, and Monster on a regular basis. The reality is simple: the more resumes you send out, the more likely one is to stick, and the more people you tell about your search, the more likely it is that one of them will know about, or have heard of, or knows someone in a hiring position who can help you. It's a simple formula, folks. Follow it, and your chances of landing a job are immediately enhanced.

If you're shy or feel hesitant about talking to strangers at job fairs and networking meetings, take a friend who can help you break the ice. You will be pleasantly surprised at the number of people who not only extend a helping hand, but also lift you to new heights, and introduce you to new opportunities.

Coming up: hand in hand with the concept of networking is the age old adage that you should not burn your bridges. What does that mean, exactly?

For additional assistance with your job search, please visit Meral's website here.

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