Keep Track of All Your Efforts at Your Job Place

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It can be difficult, almost impossible, to remember all the details related to each contact you make during the networking process, so you will want to develop a record-keeping system that works for you. Formalize this process by using your computer to keep a record of the people and organizations you want to contact. You can simply record the contact s name, address, and telephone number, and what information you hope to gain. Each entry might look something like this:

You could record this as a simple Word document and you could still use the "Find" function if you were trying to locate some data and could only recall the firm's name or the contact's name. If you're comfortable with database management and you have some database software on your computer, then you can put information at your fingertips even if you have only the zip code! The point here is not technological sophistication but good record keeping.

Once you have created this initial list, it will be helpful to keep more detailed information as you begin to actually make the contacts. Using the Network Contact Record form will help you keep good information on all your network contacts. They'll appreciate your recall of details of your meetings and conversations, and the information will help you to focus your networking efforts.

Because a network takes on a life of its own, activity undertaken on your behalf will continue even after you cease your efforts. As you get calls or are contacted in some fashion, be sure to inform these networkers about your change in status, and thank them for assistance they have provided.

Information on the latest employment trends indicates that workers will change jobs or careers several times in their lifetime. Networking, then, will be a critical aspect in the span of your professional life. If you carefully and thoughtfully conduct your networking activities during your job search, you will have a solid foundation of experience when you need to network the next time around.

Nonprotit Associations

The term nonprofit is a tax status exempting some organizations from partial or complete tax payments; it was never intended to mean that a profit couldn't be made. Having said that, it is true that the nonprofit sector often has less money (and more need for it) than the private, profit-making sector. While salaries in these settings might be lower, the work experience can be equally, if not more, rewarding than in the corporate world.

Nonprofit associations number in the hundreds of thousands nationwide. Under this umbrella fall charitable organizations, private foundations, professional associations, and some educational institutions.

Charitable groups such as Easter Seals, the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the United Way, YMCA and YWCA, Boy Scouts of America, the American Heart Association, and a score of others need employees with communications backgrounds.

And for every profession, there is at least one professional association, a membership-supported organization joining together groups of people with common interests and career goals. While most new graduates look upon professional associations as a place to get career support and perhaps help in finding a job, communications majors realize that this setting can be the ultimate career goal in itself.

Specialist communicators working for charitable organizations and professional associations perform much the same functions as their counterparts in the corporate world. Promotional campaigns need to be developed, media to be contacted, and employee and community relations need to be maintained. Added to this are the activities of fund-raising and membership drives.

Growth in this sector seems to be on the rise and more and more rewarding opportunities are becoming available.

Educational Institutions

Universities, colleges, and other educational institutions have a great need for employees with communications backgrounds. Here are just a few departments in which a communications major would be qualified to work:

  • Admissions: This department communicates the highlights of the institution to attract new students.

  • Alumni Relations: This office maintains contact with alumni for the purpose of fund-raising and community relations.

  • Career Placement/Service Centers: Contact with potential employees is established here, and these professionals provide career counseling and guidance to students.

  • Community Affairs/Relations: This department ensures open communication and cooperation between the institution and neighboring community, and develops outreach programs providing adult- and continuing-education programs.

  • Cooperative Education: This office maintains contact with the business community and other fields for student job placement.

  • Development: The ongoing process of fund-raising continues here, targeting other groups in addition to alumni.

  • International Student Affairs: This office provides orientation, counseling, and help with immigration procedures to foreign students.

  • Publications: These individuals work with campus newspapers, magazines, college catalogs, yearbooks, and other print needs of the institution.

In addition to being an employment setting for communications specialists, educational institutions offer the communications major-usually one with a Ph.D.-the added employment opportunity of teaching future communications majors.

Communications departments are flourishing; currently communications ranks second only to business as the most popular major. This means that there is a growing need for instructors and professors to teach the communication skills that are needed in the nonacademic world.
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