Job Search: Help your teen develop networking skills

Statistics show that 80 percent of job vacancies are not advertised. In some regions, that percentage is higher. Networking is a vital way to identify work opportunities and connect with potential employers in the “hidden” job market.

Your teen’s current social circle, both online and offline, is a good place to start to expand their network of acquaintances, but there are also other excellent networking opportunities listed below. Whatever networking strategies your teen employs, expanding their network will expand their prospects.

Networking for Career Development

Volunteer. This is a fine method for broadening their network and allowing prospective employers to discover their abilities. Youth can gain experience, make connections, demonstrate their skills and get noticed. Volunteering provides an opportunity for word to spread about your child’s talents and availability. And sometimes paid employment grows directly out of volunteer activities.

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Join a job club. For those who are eligible, job clubs have many advantages: youth quickly find out they are not alone, discover which job-search methods that are working for people, and gain a built-in network of people who know people. Someone in the job club may have a friend or relative looking for a landscaper, which may be your teen’s job target. You never know when an opportunity could present itself.

Encourage your teen to find groups in their area(s) of interest. Suggest they join a new group to build their network. If they like computers and are passionate about programming, find a programming user group. Such groups allow you to build lasting, mutually helpful professional relationships. As they become connected, they’ll likely discover career opportunities.

Online Job Search

If they don’t know how to find a group, they can use a search engine like Google or Meetup to find groups in their field and community. For example, search “Programming user group Nanaimo.”

Tell community groups they are a part of. Organizations they are already part of may have many members, some of whom already know your teen well. Talk to them about your career or job-search goals. If people don’t know that they’re looking for work, then they can’t share any opportunities with prospective employees.

Social media networking. These days, social media is an excellent method for connecting with employers and job opportunities. Find out more about using social media in their job search below.

Attend job fairs. Job fairs are another great opportunity to connect with people: employers who are seeking workers, employment service providers and other job seekers. Even if a company isn’t looking for someone with your teen’s background, they may know of someone else who is. They may be happy to pass on their resume or keep it for their own future needs. Encourage teens to be proactive and do some homework on the companies they plan to approach at the job fair (participating companies are usually listed in advance event notices). Their obvious interest and preparation will increase their chances of winning an interview.

When networking, always remind your teen to thank the people who have given them advice or contacts by emailing or mailing them a thank-you note. Networking is all about building relationships. Showing that they appreciate the time of a person who helps them is their investment in a relationship that may ultimately benefit both parties.

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