After leaving her job and enduring months of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma, Ellie Mroz of Fanwood decided to re-enter the job market. She spent countless hours at her computer, clicking from job site to job site. She felt like she was "burying herself in opportunities -- none of which seemed to want her."
Once she decided to get out from behind the keyboard, she quickly found a job. Greg Redington, her boss, had tried to recruit her husband. Although her husband declined the offer, she and Redington had an opportunity to meet and really hit it off. That chance meeting led to him offering Mroz a job.
Although Redington didn't have enough work to keep her busy full time in his construction business, having heard her talk about her recent bout with cancer, he decided that in addition to business development, she could help him do something he had always wanted to do: start a nonprofit cancer foundation. Mroz not only quickly found a job in her hometown, but also gained the satisfaction of helping launch One Year for Cancer.
With the proliferation of job boards, it is tempting to think that all you need to do to find employment is log on to your computer, click and apply. While it makes sense to spend some time applying for jobs online, most people don't find their jobs that way. According to a 2008 survey conducted by ExecuNet, only about 25 percent of jobs are found by applying online, while almost 70 percent are found through networking.
If you want to find a job quickly, reach out to the people who know you. Liz Lynch, author of "Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online" suggests "reconnecting with former bosses, co-workers and classmates, in person, as well as going to events to meet new people in the industry you want to be in."
In order to make the most of the events you attend, Lynch advises you "develop a clear job objective statement that you can use as your 'elevator pitch' when you meet people at networking events. In a couple of sentences, describe what you're good at and what type of job you are seeking."
Print up your own business cards. You need something to hand out with your contact information when you go to networking events and meetings. You can get business cards made up at any copy store or order them online.
The internet also can be used to facilitate in-person networking. Social networking sites such as Facebook.com and LinkedIn.com enable you to locate people you have lost touch with. Once you find them, pick up the phone and call. Try to get a face-to-face meeting. Offer to meet for a cup of coffee or a meal. Pick a place near where they live or work so it is convenient for them. It is hard to make a personal connection with someone if your only contact is by e-mail. People are more willing to help you if you have met with them.
You can use the internet to identify people you know who work at a company of interest or who know someone who does. Rather than applying for a job online and risking having your résumé lost among hundreds of other applications, search your online networks for a connection who works at the company. See if they can ask someone to walk your résumé down to the human resources department or, better yet, to the hiring manager directly. That will help you stand out from online applicants and ensure your application gets a thorough review.
The internet also allows you to gather information about someone you are going to meet. What you learn online will enable you to quickly build rapport when you actually meet. Understanding the background of the people you will be meeting will let you tailor your answers to what each individual cares about.
Be sure to thank everyone who helps you in any way. People appreciate being acknowledged, and they are more likely to help you in the future if you show your appreciation.A veteran human resources executive, Lee E. Miller is the author of "UP: Influence Power and the U Perspective -- The Art of Getting What You Want," and the co-founder of YourCareerDoctors.com, a website devoted to career success. Mail questions to Lee@YourCareerDoctors.com.