HIRED LEARNING: Beth Colon – Networking Makes the Difference

By David Pastore

It all started while I was in my dream job, loving every minute of it, happy and not even considering looking for something else. I worked for a privately held company with investors. One day, the investors walked in and took 85 percent controlling interest and eliminated 11 executive positions, including mine.

I was ill-prepared, without a current resume to start a job search in a difficult economy. Digital advertising was the concentration of the new company coming in and I was excited to expand my skills. Even though we all knew changes could happen I didn’t begin looking for other jobs. I wanted to embrace the new technology, thinking that whatever I learned would stay with me forever.

In hindsight, having an exit strategy ready to implement at any time is a good plan. Let’s face it. We should always keep our eyes open for new opportunities. But the reality is, life gets in the way and we don’t network as well as we should after we have landed a job.

Anyone who has been through the process of being downsized (no matter how) knows how disheartening it can be. And for whatever reason, at PSGCNJ, we hear it happening to people more than once, myself included. It is hard to be “low man on the totem pole” because when additional cuts are discussed, you know you are vulnerable.

PSGCNJ has helped tremendously on many levels. From developing close friendships, group therapy, or creating leads for networking, PSGCNJ is what you make it. Committee participation gives you the opportunity to keep your skills sharp, learn new ones and is a great CAR story for interviews. My service on the Training committee was an important attribute for my current position because they wanted someone with training experience. My PSGCNJ training was relevant and recent and those interviewing me were impressed by the association with the DoL and my having volunteered my time.

I believe job hunting is a sales process and one needs to practice the basics. It can be a matter of numbers; you have to make the calls in order to be in a position to close the sale. But I also believe the better quality calls (matches) you can make, the better your chances are of closing. I personally will always take quality over quantity. Unless you are “practicing” (and we all could use some practice) because you feel you need it, I personally believe in concentrating on a few opportunities that are a direct match rather than sending applications for uninteresting positions.

What got me in the door of each opportunity was networking through someone, usually a casual acquaintance at best. At every opportunity I continued to find new people to LinkUp with to build my network and network with in all the organizations I was interested in joining.

My advice to everyone is to persevere! Keep doing the basics; get yourself out there talking to people, network, network, then network again.

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