Parties are networking events too!

I, for one, have been having some very busy weeks ... there are networking events on top of networking events (sometimes literally - last Thursday I was "triple booked", with three functions that I really wanted to attend all at the same time, each within a few blocks of each other!), and suddenly a rash of holiday-themed luncheons and parties.

Of course, being without a paycheck, I'm having to choose carefully what I decide to sign up for.  It's one thing to go to a sponsored or semi-sponsored event (where you're paying $10 or so, but getting fed), and quite another to hit an organization's annual fund-raising bash (I would have loved to have gone to a particular one last week, but wasn't going to be able to afford the $150 non-member ticket, and there's one I'm missing tonight because it's $95!).

Over the next two days I'm looking at five events ... today, a networking lunch from 11am to 1pm, a "Career Fair" from 3-5pm, and the Social Media Club's holiday event from 5-9pm ... then tomorrow a "business roundtable" luncheon, followed by the Out of Work Chicago's "Company Party for those Without a Company" in the evening (say "hi" if you see me at these!).

The point being is that there are a lot of possible events for you to get out of the house, break the resume grind routine, and meet some folks that might prove helpful in your job search.  There was a very good post in another blog about this over the weekend, which suggested that people you meet don't even necessarily have to work in your industry in order to be valuable contacts ... so get out there, and be "your best".  There's a level of engagement and enthusiasm that's hard to get into a resume and cover letter, and the truth is that most jobs are filled by way of personal contacts, so you want to send the people you meet home thinking "gee, I should pass along his card to so-and-so who's looking to fill that opening at XYZ Corp!".

As I've noted previously, everybody's job search is different ... so you need to do your own research about what's happening in and around your industry.  While "mixing it up" certainly does help (frankly, I've found events that are "too close to home", i.e. having a whole room full of out-of-work people looking for the same type of jobs, tend to be counter-productive), and I certainly believe in allowing for "serendipity" in contacts, there is the reality that walking into a room full of people working in a niche that you have zero connection with is not likely to provide much better results than simply chatting with people at the grocery store, so you need to find the right mix for you.

Again ... you should never leave the house without your networking cards, and (as discussed in previous posts), it helps to have links to an on-line version of your resume on those cards (which saves having to lug around printed copies) along with your contact and social media information ... after all, you never know when you'll run into that random person who just happens to hold the keys to the exact job you've been looking for, and you want to make it as easy as possible to have them make that connection!

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