Are you ready to find a new job? It can be a daunting task, whether you're looking for a full-time or part-time position. One strategy that can help is writing out action steps that will lead you to your goal. Here are six ways to get started.
1. Be bold about social media networking. Spend time each day on social media sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. On LinkedIn search for people you know and invite them to connect with you. To enhance your professional profile on the site, ask colleagues for LinkedIn recommendations. Join your alumni, peer and industry groups on LinkedIn for more networking and to stay abreast of job openings. Get customized job alert postings in your field of interest. AARP's job search tool is a good place to start.
Engage in social media by commenting on posts, retweeting and so on. Then make at least one lunch or coffee date each week to meet someone from your online network the old-fashioned way: face-to-face.
2. Join a networking group that meets in person. The Transition Network, a nonprofit networking group for women over 50, is a good option, as are meet-up groups for your profession or field of interest. Colleges have networking groups, too, so you might want to check with your alumni office.
Networking peer groups are active in churches, synagogues and community centers. Consider joining a peer group associated with your profession. If you hear of a local event that sounds intriguing, push yourself to make room in your schedule.
Real networking isn't about finding someone to help you get a job today; it's about making contacts over time. Aim to meet three new people at each gathering and get their contact information, then follow up via email in the next day or so and make plans to continue the conversation.
3. Help others connect. Virtual introductions are easy and a win for everyone. Pride yourself on being a good matchmaker? If so, when someone says, "I'm looking for someone who can do this," craft an email introducing the two parties and let them take it from there. It's a nice thing to do, and it feels good.
4. Learn to speak like a pro. The ability to deliver a presentation in front of an audience is crucial. Enroll in a public speaking class at a community college or join a Toastmasters International group. The tips you learn on polishing your speeches will help you not only in your current position but also in job interviews and other situations.
Most courses cover techniques for managing communication anxiety. You might also consider signing up for an acting or improvisational class. You'll learn how to express yourself on your feet and under pressure and to be more attuned to your body language and that of others. Those skills will come in handy in plenty of work and nonwork activities.