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The One Mistake Employed Professionals Make That Could Cost Them Thousands

(Reposted from today’s eZine… which you can receive, gratis in your Inbox by registering on the Events Page.)

Did you know that 89-90% of jobs right now are found through business networking?

In robust economies, online job postings work, but in slower economies, many employers don’t bother to post job openings, even on their own company websites. Why? Because they don’t have the capacity to handle the volume of resumes that they know will come in. They know they can find someone excellent through referral.

So, what does this have to do with the employed professional (and the small business owner for that matter)?

We tend not to keep in contact with the people they’ve worked with or the people they’ve met at industry events, association meetings or career management groups. Moreover, when we’re employed and busy, we tend to quit going to networking events altogether. It’s a rare corporate employee who feels secure in their position today. Depending on the level on the ladder, it is taking anywhere from 6-10 months on average for white collar employees to find another job after they’ve been displaced. Take a nice round salary of $75,000… even at the low end, we are looking at about $30,000-ish in lost revenue, assuming some unemployment. OUCH!

I don’t have a statistic for people who have robust, connected networks and the length of their job search when they are displaced. Anecdotally, what I’ve noticed is that people who stay connected and active with their networks find opportunities faster. Part of that may be that they are more proactive and have more accomplishments than the average candidate. I think it has to do with having the opportunity to get in front of someone to be able to put that foot forward. Too busy, you say? $30K of busy?

I know many of you have families and activities and that you already spend enough time away from home. So, I have some practical solutions. Join three monthly groups. Most monthly groups meet on a predetermined schedule, so you shouldn’t have many issues putting them on your calendar and planning whatever childcare/eldercare/petcare you need so that you’re available. I recommend two industry groups, like one for your career and one for your industry (like PMI and SHRM if you’re a project manager in the HR industry). Make the third something that interests you, perhaps a women’s group or a leadership group.

Join Linked In, Twitter and Facebook, and spend a little time (no more than a half hour a day) connecting with people.

Finally, keep in touch. I’ve been using Friday afternoons as “Follow Up Friday.” I make it a point to email or phone someone I haven’t spoken with in a long time. Set aside an hour, and make it sacred.

For those of you who don’t network because you don’t feel like you do it effectively, I recommend two resources. One is a book by Dean Lindsay, “Cracking the Networking Code.” If you really want to knock it out of the park, I recommend Jeff Klein’s teleseminar “Networking Your Way To Success.

It doesn’t have to take hours and hours out of your busy schedule to keep connected to your network. It just takes desire and commitment.

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