Finding Your Network - NBC Chicago

Finding Your Network

Why it's more important than ever to get connected with the right people



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    The experts all agree, networking is the one tool you can't survive without in today's economy.

    The job news is not good.

    Monthly unemployment numbers are at their highest in 25 years, 8.1 percent.   Now more than ever experts say you have to network, whether or not you are looking for a job, or trying to keep one.

    Rita Gaskins lost a 30 year career to this economy and has turned to career coach Elene Cafasso with Enerpace Executive and Personal Coaching for help.  Cafasso also offers free telephone consultations.

    "Networking is about building authentic, long term, mutually beneficial relationships," Cafasso said.

    To assess yours, Cafasso, says, you should map out your contacts and plot a course of action. To get started, she had Gaskins map out her network  using a model from the Harvard Business Review.  It shows you how to build your network and identify the people who are most likely to help. Cafasso says you can start with people on your christmas card list, people at your church, list all the people you know that might be able to help you.

    Rick Cobb with Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc., an outplacement firm, adds it's not just about collecting business cards, but getting connected to decision makers who have the power to hire you. 

    Gaskins says she has found success expanding her network attending monthly sessions with the Executive Network Group of Chicago .  The Executive Director Chris Campbell says, "as the economy has gone further south attendance has gone sky high."