Networking is a career-long endeavor

Oct 5 2012 - 6:48pm

For those currently employed, it may be a good time to review your job search skills and polish up your networking by nurturing current professional relationships, reigniting old ones and expanding your network with new professional contacts. If you wait until you are unemployed to start your networking, you will have waited too long.

Networking must be a career-long process to ensure the best possible career. Numerous studies have found that the odds of finding employment are much greater if you are currently employed. This does not mean that if you are unemployed, you won't find a job, but it does mean it will be a little more difficult. Potential employers will want to know why you are unemployed. In today's world, with so many layoffs and reductions in force happening, the answer may be a good answer, but you must be prepared to address it.

If you are fortunate enough to be employed right now, changing jobs should not necessarily be your goal, but nurturing and expanding your professional relationships would be very wise.

During the course of our careers, there will surely be ups and downs. It is critical to be prepared at all times for what may be a sudden and unexpected layoff or a reduction in force that you did not see coming your way. More than half of those affected by the most recent recession did not anticipate being laid off until it happened.

Hopefully the recession is indeed in recovery, but it is a very slow recovery -- in fact, the slowest economic recovery in our nation's history -- and there still may be more bumps and even a few wallops along the way. Whatever happens in the upcoming election, we are still trillions of dollars in debt as a nation, and a full economic recovery isn't going to be easy and pain-free.

The economic recovery following the recession of the early '80s coined the phrase "jobless recovery." While it seemed on the surface that a jobless recovery was meaningless to those who were unemployed at the time, it did lay a foundation that led to a full recovery and plentiful jobs.

The strategy was to reduce taxes to allow for economic growth in businesses that then hired more employees to produce more products and offer more services as the economy grew. While it did take more time to do so, the strategy, along with other economic policies, worked and we eventually found ourselves with more jobs over the next two decades, especially here in Utah, where the unemployment rate reached as low as 2.5 percent. Because it is estimated that between 2 and 3 percent of those who are unemployed do not desire to work, 2.5 percent unemployment represented essentially full employment in Utah.

The sad reality is, jobs right now are more vulnerable to layoffs and businesses will likely have more future reductions in force than we may think. Even with the economy going in the right direction, now is not the time to sit back and take your current job, or your current business, for granted. It is definitely a time to work hard to please your current employer, or pay more attention to your current business, nurture and expand your network of professional relationships and be ready for whatever may lie ahead.

Ron Campbell has worked extensively in the job preparation and job search industry. He can be reached at 801-386-1111 or campbellrv@gmail.com.

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