How networking can land you the job

LOS ANGELES Darren Shipp is no stranger to the job hunt. In fact, after recently relocating for a job, his position was eliminated as part of an acquisition.

He found himself scrambling to find work again. But instead of hitting the classifieds or the Internet, he turned to an old fashioned job networking program offered at his local church.

"By meeting people [there], I was able to make acquaintances that led me to a recruiter," said Darren.

That networking landed Darren a job, and he's not alone. Many people, including career expert Judith Hoppin from the /*National Career Development Association*/, say networking can have a real domino effect.

"I think every job I've ever had, except one, I've gotten because I knew somebody," said Hoppin.

Hoppin says the first step to networking success is to reach out to everybody you know, from family and friends, to churches, temples and professional trade organizations.

"You contact them and you say, 'Here's who I am, here are my skills, here's what I'm looking at for employment, and do you know of anyone else that could help me?' Then continue to call on them, and don't scratch them off the list if they don't call back," explains Hoppin. "Keep in contact with those people in your network. Remind them occasionally that you are still looking and what you are looking for."

Keep accurate records of who you called, and keep contacts updated on any leads they passed on. And if you find work, keep up with the networking and think about returning the favor.

Darren now helps others.

"I'm active and involved in working with these people," said Darren. "I truly believe there is a strong value in networking."

Many career experts also stress the importance of having what they call an "elevator pitch." That's where you have a 30 second speech ready to go, to showcase your talents. Then if you end up in a place where you bump into a potential employer, you're prepared to make the pitch for a job, even if you're already employed.

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