Empowering Today's Professionals

Job Seekers Learn Art of Networking

July 23, 2009 8:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Scotch Plains-Fanwood Patch

by Jake Lynn
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With the national unemployment rate creeping toward 10 percent, job seekers can use all they help they can get. Some found welcome support at a free networking seminar held Tuesday night at the JCC of Central New Jersey in Scotch Plains.

Sponsored by the United Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, as well as Elizabeth-based Jewish Family Services, the monthly program is held at the JCC as a way to help unemployed workers with their networking and job-searching techniques.

Aaron and Laura Cohen, a married couple who moderate the group, use a 7-step job search methodology created by national career coach Rod Colon and his ETP Network (www.etpnetwork.com). The central tenets of networking emphasize the use of free online tools such as LinkedIn as a means to widen one’s group of friends, colleagues and potential employers all in one central database.

The Cohens also stressed the philosophy of ‘paying it forward’ when it comes to helping others find work even if you don’t have a job yourself.

“Networking is as much about giving as it is getting,” said Aaron Cohen. “Almost always, the most rewarding jobs come by word of mouth rather than on the Internet. But they won’t just fall from the sky. You need to help others in order to help yourself move forward.”

The 25 attendees also learned of additional free resources that the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides, such as the Professional Services Group (PSG). PSG locations, which are scattered throughout the state, provide a comprehensive list of career services to job seekers and also help place workers with potential employers. The closest location to Scotch Plains and Fanwood is in New Brunswick. Call (732) 418-3304 for more information.

The group, which was made up of both first-time job seekers and those with more than 25 years of experience from a variety of industries, learned the fine art of the ‘Elevator Pitch’.

“Being able to succinctly explain your skills and the value one can bring to an organization in 30 seconds or less can make or break your chances of getting the job,” said the Cohens.

For Bob, a project management specialist from Fanwood, this couldn’t hit any closer to home. He explained to the group that he’d secured several interviews over the past year. But since his line of work is specialized and he’d been working for the same company for nearly 30 years, he hasn’t been able to persuade hiring managers that he can convert his skills to a different line of work. In this economy, he expressed deep gratitude for groups like this that will hopefully help him become much more marketable.

For more information on the Central New Jersey Networking Group, e-mail centralnjnetworkinggroup@gmail.com
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