Networking: events and re-positioning yourself

Since the impact of the title unemployed hits immediately, its important to work on incorporating ways to demonstrate your skills somewhere other than your resume and LinkedIn profile. I’d like to point out that those are still important tools, but won’t be able to make up the whole picture of “you”. Best way to demonstrate that is to start networking and putting yourself out there.

It can be hard to determine which networking events are the best to attend. While it is important to put yourself out there, you want to make sure any and all events best serve your needs. It’s come to my attention that not all networking events are created equally.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, there are a few groups that hold events where you can address skills you’d like to work on in a safe environment with others that also find themselves underemployed.

Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group events are held in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Exton, Wayne, Penn State Great Valley, and more. What is even better is that a majority of them are free.

The events hosted by PA Great Careers offer sessions to help with career development and networking. For instance, I was able to attend Re-positioning Yourself, hosted by Danielle Dixon, a career coach who selflessly focuses on helping those reentering the workforce after incarceration, as well as those that do not meet that exact criteria.

In the session, Ms. Dixon focused on tools we already have but may have forgotten about along the way. For me and having been out of work for a full week and knowing following my passion required a career change, I figured there wasn’t a better event to attend.

One discussion point was that when we think of networking we often tend to think our network can only consist of professional contacts that we have made when our strongest connections, our family and close friends, can often assist us as much - if not more - in our search endeavors.

Another skill that was discussed as a way to put yourself out there is to find a mentor or be a mentor. Mentoring is a great way to give back to the community and help you build your circle. An organization that I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with is Minds Matter, with a chapter in Philadelphia. Minds Matter connects college graduates with high schools students that are college bound and will be the first in their family to attend college.

The purpose of Minds Matter is to give students the opportunity to interact with college graduates and learn how to navigate the process of applying, getting there, and how to manage the college life. The students I’ve met are tremendous and by helping them I have been able to navigate what it is I want and how to get there.

Overcoming stigmas and deciding to re-position yourself are never easy tasks. Working through how to do that can also be a bit on the difficult side when trying to establish what avenues are the best to use. But, when you realize you have an amazing support system in place it can get so much better.

Are there positive steps you have taken to move forward? What has helped and worked for you?

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