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A recession may seem like the wrong time to focus on career networking. Isn’t everyone else too worried about their own job to worry about your career?

In fact, it’s a great time to network. Lots of people are focused on jobs and careers right now. Read more about the art of networking on CareerOneStop’s Networking page.  Then, follow these special tips for networking during a recession:

Practice your networking “elevator speech.” 

That’s your two-minute description of you. It describes your skills and career goals. You want to repeat it to as many peopls as you can. Keeping it short and simple will ensure that people don’t tune you out.

Keep it positive. 

It can be hard to feel positive after you've lost your job. You may have hard feelings toward your former boss. You may be angry in general. But it’s your job to present yourself as a positive problem-solver when you’re looking for a job. One way to do this is by having a story ready. It can tell about a specific problem you solved. Or it can tell about a challenge you overcame at a job. 

Use all the networks at your disposal. 

  • Take advantage of sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. They can be a great way to get the word out about your job search.

  • Don’t forget good old-fashioned networking, too. Talk to all your friends. Talk to neighbors and relatives. And get in touch with former co-workers. Tell everyone you're looking for a job and remind them of your skills. Practice your elevator speech on them

  • Check CareerOneStop's list of professional and trade associations. These groups are a great way to learn more about a field. You can also find job leads. Many have online job postings. Many also hold meetings or conferences.

  • Attend job fairs. You'll find job leads there. You may not always land a job. But they can be great places to practice your networking elevator speech.

Remember that networks go both ways. 

Networking is about helping other people as much as it is about getting people to help you. A reputation as a helpful networker goes a long way. It's simple. You help others with job leads and career advice. Then they're more willing to help you in return.