Networking: the Groundwork for a Successful Career Campaign

Career Navigator and 5 Steps Graduate, Trade Act Training Recipient

Network! Network! Network!—that is the key to a successful job search according to Frank, a recent addition to the engineering team at Harris RF Communications.

As a self-proclaimed introvert Frank’s insight into networking reflects the key to successful networking: it’s not about you! Each opportunity to connect was not just about sharing goals and getting information. It was an opportunity for Frank to share his network with those he met who were also looking for work.

Realizing that you should not embark on a job search alone, Frank’s initiative to reach out to family, friends, coworkers and the staff at RochesterWorks! made all the difference.

Keep reading to learn from Frank’s experience and apply his tips to your own job search today!

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in being unemployed?
A: Networking, informational meetings, interviewing, and creating a resume that stands out were my biggest challenges.

Q: What job search methods did you use?
A: I used every job search method that I could find. I reviewed job postings on Hot Jobs, Monster Jobs, Career Builder and I also networked with former colleagues, family, friends, and the RochesterWorks! staff. Besides these methods I also found job opportunities through Job Club, ABCpng, New Horizons, The August Group, PeerNet, Lee Hecht Harrison, and job agents at various target companies.

Q: What tips do you have for job seekers to help increase their success and shorten their length of unemployment?
A: Network, network, network. Use your inner circle of family and friends and expand the circle by adding more contacts through informational interviews. Build a strong list of advocates that know you and your work life including former colleagues and professors. Don’t leave any stone unturned. You never really know where the golden egg is hidden. Take classes to keep up with your skills, volunteer, ask for help, and don’t forget about your health either. Exercise!

Q: How did RochesterWorks! help you in finding your new position?
A: Through RochesterWorks! I was kept aware of the openings at Harris. I had given up on them, but continued to try and finally landed an interview as a former co-worker at Kodak told me a few of the openings were in the department he was working for. His recommendation plus my resume and the company incentive plans for internal referrals paid off! I was hired by one of his bosses!
At RochesterWorks!, I also attended several of the job search workshops as well as others including Mike Chabilik’s Networking, Referrals, and Getting a Yes! In every workshop I learned something new that I could apply to my job search. Prior to coming to RochesterWorks! I had taken several online job search workshops and training courses. I was impressed with the in-person workshops right from the start.
Not only did I attend workshops, but I also applied for a training grant through RochesterWorks! for an engineering program at RIT and then participated in 5 Steps to Rapid Employment and Career Navigator.

5 Steps to Rapid Employment
I enjoyed the focus of the 5 Steps program on the resume and networking. It is often stressful to deal with all of the resume advice that is available on blogs and websites and adapt your resume. The 5 Steps program helped me to develop an outstanding resume that increased the responses from my job applications tremendously.

Career Navigator
Career Navigator is one of the best, if not the best programs. We were able to meet and work as a team to provide feedback for each other. We also were able to network with each other right then and there. During the program follow up weekly meetings, for example, I was able to connect two other graduates to people I knew that had jobs—both of them landed! It felt great to help out. After the program, 50% of the graduates landed within just a few months.
Our team got smaller and merged with other groups that were still looking for work, continued to plan additional meetings and stay connected. The camaraderie that developed during our week of Career Navigator did not end when we graduated. We still stay connected and help each other when we can.

Trade Act
Through RochesterWorks! and the Trade Act programs available to connect dislocated workers to training I was able to enroll at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt certification programs to fill in my skills gap in engineering. These programs were also available at Monroe Community College (MCC) but through recommendations and informational meetings I decided that RIT would be a better fit for my skill set.
One reason why I chose these programs was the major projects associated with each certification. For each certification I was able to work in a company to use the skills that I was learning in the program. These projects took a lot of time and work, but they made me aware of the struggles and where I needed to work harder to update my skills.

Q: How did you find your new position?
A:  I found my new position through networking and preparing for interviews by knowing what questions to ask and how to positively convey how I would be a great addition to the company and its culture.

 Q: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently in your job search?
A: Concentrate on generating a great group of advocates that know you and your work and have them write letters of recommendation. Put them, along with the outstanding resume generated through the 5 Steps program, into a referral portfolio. These steps increased job responses tremendously for me in the last few months.

 Q: What led to your success?
A: If anything defines me it is perseverance. Yes, I have gone through too many ups and downs, but during the ups I would be helping others and during the downs some of my colleagues would cheer me up and give me words of encouragement. I never let the “age” thing bother me as this is what I am so try to make the best of whatever you’ve got! You basically need to block all of these negative things especially in an interview (even on the phone) and psyche yourself up!

 Q: Do you have any other words of advice for job seekers?
A: Network! Network! Network! Used LinkedIn to search for companies and people to schedule informational meetings and build a group that will be there for you rain or sunshine! If it ever gets boring take a class, learn something new, or give somebody a hand. You will feel better and energized.
Ask yourself the question, “How many people that I know, know that I am looking for work?” You may be surprised to find out that you are not using every connection like you could be.
Connections are very important so don’t discard any of them. All you need is somebody who knows somebody. Take the time to meet with people about once per week and use the rest of the time to follow up with them. You may not always get interviews, but you have to keep on trying! They are important so don’t be afraid to share your marketing plan with your family and friends and learn to get advocates at a company before you apply.

Click Here for more information about RochesterWorks! and the programs available to you, then visit our Career Center! Our services are free and walk-in’s are welcome. You do not need to be unemployed to participate. You just need to be a RochesterWorks! member.