Stephen Andrasik wasn’t at all surprised when he saw “Networking” on the list of tips in the Employ Up blog post, “Finding The Best Career Fit.” The first time he walked into the Employ Up offices, the receptionist suggested he join a networking group in progress there. That was his first step onto the career path that landed him his new position as a sales associate at MSI Packaging.
“Networking has always been a natural enterprise for me,” he said. “Whether I’ve been employed or unemployed, I enjoy meeting people and learning about what they do. It’s no surprise to me that I found my new job through a networking contact. I think about 80 percent of new jobs come through networking.”
Stephen’s new career began with a call from an industry contact who let him know MSI was looking for good salespeople. He sent his resume and one of the owners called. “We talked about what they were looking for and what I could do, and then we scheduled an in-person interview.” After meeting with the two owners and touring the plant, a few more discussions led to an agreement on employment terms and a starting date. “And here we are,” he said happily.
If you’re not a “natural” at networking, Stephen’s tips can help you get started:
- Industry Events are an obvious first choice. Stephen finds opportunities to meet new people – potential customers as well as potential employers – at events hosted by industry groups such as Conexus Indiana, where advanced manufacturing and logistics companies are in attendance.
- Open Networking Events draw people from diverse industries, and can open doors to opportunities you might not have considered, Stephen said.
- Volunteering can bring you into contact with people who share not just business interests, but personal values. “I helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity and met people I might otherwise never have known,” Stephen said. He also volunteered to help at a trade association golf outing, and has made good friends volunteering at his church and for his son’s athletic teams.
- Employ Up is another kind of networking, Stephen said. “Being unemployed is a challenging time,” he said. “Employ Up gives you the tools and skills, plus the chance to bond with cohorts who are on the same path, and will one day be among your contacts in the business world.”
But, Stephen pointed out, networking is made easier when you have great information to share about your qualifications and experience. He credits Employ Up with helping him perfect his resume. With resume in hand, Stephen was diligent in his career search, believing that when you’re unemployed, “your job is to get a job.” Approaching the process with that mindset is the best way to re-employment success.