Networking Secrets

While having my coffee yesterday, at The Red Brick, I was chatting with Joe, (not his real name) who is currently looking for some students to help him paint his barn.  “Do you know anyone?”

This conversation or something similar is often heard on the streets of Sundridge or any small  Ontario town.

If you’re from one of the families that grew up in this area, you probably know Joe and his whole family.  You might even be able to tell me who put the first coat of paint on that barn in 1889.

But what if you’re not from around here?  How do you get noticed in the community or more importantly, how do you get thought of when people are looking for workers?

Well, there are some tried and true ways to get your name into the community and to make sure that the next time there’s a job opening your name is at the top of the list.

VOLUNTEER: There are numerous agencies in the community where you can volunteer.  What agencies or services in the community spark an interest for you?  If you don’t know what’s out there check out 211.ca  for a list of local community services.   Remember to approach your volunteer search with the same level of professionalism as you would for paid employment.  With the volunteer opportunity you can gain new skills or you can utilize your expertise to assist the agency.  Either way, your name and face will be out there, and you will definitely meet people that can increase your network.

SPORTS TEAMS:  There are lots of people who play sports in a small community.  It’s a great way to get to know people.  The more people you know, the bigger your network. Oh, and let’s not forget the stress relief physical activity can have.  Job hunting is stressful and just getting out and being active can not only increase networking options, but can also be a great stress reducer.

TAKE COURSES/CLASSES: There are various career development opportunities; find out if you could do some upgrading with LEARNING WORKS  or the Gravenhurst Adult Learning Centre  or perhaps take a workshop at the Women’s Own Resource Centre.  You could even attend some workshops at Employment North.  If you can afford it, check out Canadore College, Georgian College or Nippising University for their options in continuing education.  Take a course that interests you.  Increasing and upgrading your skills is always a good idea. It will add current skills to your resume plus give you the opportunity to meet more people and, inevitably, increase your network.

These networking options are suggested alternatives to the normal practice of job searching by looking over job postings and classified ads.  When looking for work a job seeker will need to try various forms of job searching before landing that perfect job.

Take your time to build up a positive reputation in the community, be professional, have fun and get known.  Job searching is hard work, but it will eventually pay off.

So join that local ball team or bridge club; volunteer at the local food bank or go take that computer course you’ve been looking at.  You never know who you’re going to meet.