The people you know can help you find a job. As soon as you decide to look for a job (even while still employed), tell everyone that you are looking. Studies have shown that more than 60 percent of job seekers find jobs through networking. The list below will give you some ideas for your initial contacts. As you continue your search, your network will expand through visits to job fairs and placement offices, classified ads in newspapers, industry publications and newsletters and postings on the Internet and TV.

Networking is contacting friends, friends of friends, family members and colleagues to discuss new directions, generate career options, problem-solve for decision making, assess transferable skills, find job leads, shape up your resume, rehearse for interviews, gain access to role models and mentors and receive emotional support.

Begin by creating a networking plan.

Next, create a contact list. Try to write a list of fifty-plus people you could consider for networking purposes. Include some or all of the following:

Next, prioritize each contact. A good contact likes you and has a reason to want to help you. He/she is successful in his/her field, aware of the current job market and knows a lot of people.

Finally, start calling. Begin by calling high-priority contacts and work your way through the list. Be prepared to give them your 30-second pitch. This is appropriate for calls to potential employers and to friends and acquaintances on your networking list. The key is to ask them for help. Never directly ask for a job; only seek referrals or information about any open positions. IBI