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Job Networking Experts Offer Advice

Simple tips to get you employed, from the people who know. Part III in a series about job hunting.

Job networking experts Regina Donohue, a Middletown resident and human resources executive, and Chuck Watson, a financial advisor, spend their free time helping out of work people get their sea legs in a market that makes job seekers queasy.

Both run successful job search groups at their churches where they school their community members on everything from perfecting their interview skills to learning to network in the online world.

Patch has taken some of their wisdom and boiled it down for you. (Read Part I and Part II of this three-part series.)

Get a business card

So you don't have a job? That doesn't mean that you don't need business card. A simple, polished card with your name, industry and contact information will give you a quick way connect when you run into a potential employer at the grocery store, which leads up to our next point.

Be ready at all times

"I might meet someone in line at the grocery store who happens to have the perfect skill set that I'm looking for," Donohue said.

If you find yourself in that spot, you need to be able to articulate quickly why you are the right person for her to hire. At their job seeker groups, both experts have their members craft and practice their elevator speech — a quick, efficient speech to encapsulate your unique qualifications, that lasts no longer than 30 seconds.

Get some tips about your speech from The Wall Street Journal. We recommend not wearing sweats to the grocery store.

Pay it forward

"When I was unemployed I made it my goal everyday to help three people," Donohue said.

Whether it was passing on job leads or connecting others to industry people she knew, Donohue used her time to help her colleagues, most of whom were laid off with her. It helped her stay sharp and positive.

"Networking is a two way street," she said. "It's about how you can help them and they can help you in the future."

Forget the newspaper ads

When Watson started his group seven years ago, 65-70 percent of the jobs his members landed came through a network where the job seeker knew the middleman.

"Now that number is even higher," he said. "Eighty- to 90-percent of jobs are landed through the network." Watson's advice? Attend every network function you can find in your area. You can use the next tip to find those functions.

Make use of web sources

Watson and Donohue say it is an absolute must to have a profile on LinkedIn, the business networking website. "If you're not there," Donohue said, "you're not being found."

Here are two more sites they recommend:

  • Landing Expert - The site's tri-state area network listings are free, though it charges for career coaching.
  • Absolutely Abby - Career and hiring expert offers articles on various topics like what kind of picture to add to your LinkedIn profile, the problem of companies refusing to hire the unemployed and tips on how to make yourself employable.

Be the known quantity

"If we post a job we're going to get 100s of resumes," Donohue said. "If it's someone I know, or someone that someone in the company knows, we're going to go straight to that resume."

That's why Donohue says if you land an interview, call everyone you know to find out who knows someone on the inside. "Go on LinkedIn and see if your connections know the interviewer or anyone at the company," she said.

Think about what makes you unique

When Donohue was on her way to apply for her first job in human resources, on a whim she typed up a list called 10 Reasons Why I Should be Hired. That list ended up snagging her the job because it contained all her unique qualities. Recruiters for a company are "inundated" she said. "Put something in your top summary that's going to grab their attention."

To find a job network near you, call St. Catharine's in Holmdel, and , both in .

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