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Personal connections are keys to finding a job

Considering a career or job change, but don’t know where to begin? Embarking on a new job search, and need advice on your first step? The Career Development Office (CDO) can provide you with a variety of services to help you through professional transitions, regardless of your point in your career path.

Experts estimate that approximately 85 percent of all job openings are never advertised. Positions become available because of internal promotions, retirements and other employee departures. Instead of being posted, these positions are filled through personal connections established long before the opening existed.

To increase your chances of landing an offer, move your search from your computer to your connections!

Here are a few suggestions for adding a personal touch to your strategy:

Do Not Rely Solely on the Internet

The popularity of online job searches makes the Internet the most competitive method of job hunting. A better way to distinguish yourself is to find out the name of the hiring manager and contact him or her directly by telephone.

Courtesy Counts

Before contacting an employer, be fully prepared to present yourself in a professional manner and to demonstrate the utmost courtesy and respect for their time. Remember, you are the one who needs help, so you are the one who should do the work! You must follow up and continue to reconfirm your interest. Likewise, if anyone provides a referral or recommendation on your behalf, supply that person with your résumé, make him or her aware when they may be contacted as a reference, and always express your appreciation. Don’t forget to send a thank-you note, preferably by mail.

Maximize Face Time, Not Facebook

Attend professional development functions, association lunches and networking events or seek out volunteer opportunities. Get to know people in different organizations. This means going to events regularly, engaging individuals in genuine conversations and being willing to contribute your talents to committee work or task forces. Eventually, you can mention that you are looking for your next professional opportunity. However, the personal connections should be made first, before expecting people to consider helping you.

Attend Job Fairs

These events allow you to meet the greatest number of employers in the shortest amount of time. At job fairs, be prepared to introduce yourself and talk to prospective employers about your unique qualifications. Be sure to follow up on each connection.

Pay it Forward

Whenever possible, make a significant effort to assist your colleagues. When young or new professionals approach you for assistance and advice, be willing and available to help.

Join the Fredonia "Career Connection," a professional mentoring program

Making professional connections is the critical element that sets a candidate apart, especially in today’s competitive market. The relationships you build when conducting a job search are the beginning of a professional network that will serve you well throughout your career.

At SUNY Fredonia, we enjoy life-long relationships with our alumni. Even after you graduate, the CDO is always here to support you – at no cost – no matter what stage of your career you are in.

posted @ Friday, August 20, 2010 2:27 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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