By Jennifer Robertson
When was the last time you went out with your coworkers for lunch? Had a breakfast meeting with your team at your favorite spot? Or attended a training seminar that wasn't virtual?
Social events are in short supply these days, but maintaining a social network is still essential – especially as millions of Americans are looking for work. Who you know is a very large part of the job search, so it’s not a stretch to say that networking can be the single most important skill in your repertoire.
Most people associate the word “networking” with office parties, meetings over coffee, and professional mixers. But that’s not the whole picture. Any time you have a positive, productive interaction with someone you know (good news!) you are networking. When you chat with your cousin, sign up for your neighborhood committee, or even participate in a Zoom call with your church group, you’re forming relationships that can impact your career.
Social distancing can make it harder to stay in touch with friends and family – let alone former classmates and colleagues. But it’s worth it to be proactive. By making yourself available and staying in contact, you can create and strengthen relationships that will last long after the pandemic ends.
Searching for a job can be difficult at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic and when competition is high due to unemployment rates. But you don’t have to do it alone. You can access free, one-on-one virtual help with a job connection team member at Goodwill for assistance with career counseling, resume help, interview practice and more. During COVID-19, you can also tune in to virtual professional development seminars on a variety of topics – including tips for identifying and expanding your network. A full list of webinars and dates can be found at www.GoodwillCFL.org.
Jennifer Robertson is a job connection services virtual team member with Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. She can be reached at JobConnection@GoodwillCFL.org, or by calling (407) 235-1541.
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