Networking your way into a new job

Brittany Ballard saw it coming.

Her marketing and communications job at a private Cincinnati high school was about to be downsized to a part-time position, and she knew she had to do something to keep from being a statistic of the economic crisis of 2009.

So she started networking everywhere she went. If she went to an event, she would connect with at least one person. She used her lunch hours to make phone calls or meet with people she thought might be able to help her. She even made sure to follow up with thank-you notes.

Her networking paid off. Within eight months, Ballard, of East Walnut Hills, landed a development job at a nonprofit social-service agency - a position she never would have found by just sitting in front of her computer surfing for jobs. It’s a job that she considers a perfect fit.

Ballard is one of Dana Glasgo’s success stories. Glasgo, a counselor at Cincinnati Career Coach (www.cincinnaticareercoach.com), says the people who land their dream jobs or get back on their feet after layoffs are the ones who plant seeds and follow through — the ones who treat finding a job like a full-time job.

“Frankly, there are jobs that are there,” Glasgo says. “The thing is you’ve got to drill down deeper to find them.”


Companies still nervous
Recruiters at some of Cincinnati’s headhunting agencies say they are noticing many companies are still nervous about hiring people. They’re using this time to weed out weak people while simultaneously preparing for the time when the economy recovers.

That means they are looking to fill their files with quality candidates - those with experience who can fit into a company without much training usually through a “temp-to-hire” position.

Vicki Wilkins, vice president of operations for TRAK Group and Management Recruiters of Cincinnati (www.trakcincy.com) says "good candidates are still going to find good jobs if they’re persistent enough at their search."

“You have to be willing to sell yourself,” Wilkins says of job seekers. “Be able to talk about what you have to contribute.”

So who’s hiring?
Top jobs in Cincinnati and elsewhere are going to be in health care and government, says Paul Cashen, a certified business coach for FocalPoint Coaching (www.focalpointcoaching.com) in Maineville.

The biotech and medical industries are still booming, Wilkins says, and other good bets are accounting, finance, information technology and engineering.

Employment counselors say education is still a good field for jobs, as well as new jobs in security and jobs relating to foreclosures. And if all else fails, there are always temp jobs or seasonal work available.

Many experts advise, especially to young people, to float their résumés everywhere. That is, unless the résumé is full of errors or misspellings. Counselors recommend double-checking everything before sending to potential employers, to use the Internet as a tool but not the only job-seeking resource, to be businesslike and follow up on everything.

Where does that leave you?
Judy Office, who runs the Blue Ash-based personal and professional coaching business Inner Summit (www.innersummit.com), tells some clients to turn off the news, which is full of negativity, in order to keep from getting depressed about the dismal job market.

“It’s not that you remain ignorant,” she says. “But know you have confidence in yourself.”

The key component in landing a dream job or reinventing yourself into a career you want is to identify your strengths and do more than settle for anything. Determine what you love to do and focus on that.

That’s what worked for Brittany Ballard.

The Internet job boards and social networking were great. But her success came from following her passion for mission-based work and meeting with people face-to-face.

“It was a lot of work,” Ballard says of job seeking. “I’m not sure a lot of people get that.”

But the ones who do get it are one step ahead of the job seekers still sitting in their pajamas in front of their computer screens. They’re the ones getting hired.
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