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How to network when you're between jobs

It's easier than you think.

Having a blog or professional Twitter feed is a great way to build your online braWavebreak Media

Most of us have been unemployed at some point for one reason or another. It’s normal for self-esteem to plummet when you’re between jobs. Maybe there were budget cuts and your position was abruptly eliminated. Whatever the situation, there are several ways to strategize marketing efforts when you’ve left a job but don’t have a new one lined up.

LinkedIn: Update your LinkedIn profile to highlight your skills but do not feel the urge to update your title to “consultant” or “professional seeking full-time work.” Recruiting is a lot like dating, and although you want to get the word out, employers want to know you’re a hot commodity. Changing your title to something generic equates to sitting on the bench waiting to be asked to dance, even when you have a lot to offer.

Ramp up your profile: with skills and experience and leverage the summary section to include keywords about your industry and/or experiences that prospective employers prize. Elevator pitch What is your mission statement? What do you want to do? What are your strengths? Nail it succinctly with confidence and bravado. Tweak your pitch — repeatedly and authentically state it to make it your own.

Business cards: Even if you don’t have a job, you are still out there making connections. Get simple cards created as a way to easily give out your contact information. You don’t have to break the bank but ensure they include the essentials: your name, email, phone number and Twitter handle (if you have a professional feed).

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Do you have a mission statement or a portfolio website? Feel free to include those as well. If you’re in finance, going for a conservative black and white card is prudent. But if you work in a creative field like graphics, feel free to include a sample design on the back. It’s an easy way to stand out from the crowd, especially when your contact finds your card weeks later.

Online presence: Are you active on Twitter? Do you have a blog? Post pictures to Instagram? If you nodded yes to all of the above, keep going. And if you’re just getting started, become more active. Keep up with industry trends and become an expert by demonstrating an active voice online.

Fill your time positively: During an interview six months from now, a hiring manager will ask how you spent your time. Marketing is important but so is taking care of yourself. Surround yourself with positive people, read books about success and stay physically and mentally healthy. While branding tools are effective, another two are equally important: your smile and demeanor.

Vicki Salemi is a career and human resources expert and consultant with 16-plus years of hands-on management experience. She’s a public speaker, coach, the author of “Big Career in the Big City” and on-air host of “Score That Job.”

 
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