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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 your skills and career goals that you pass along to networking contacts. 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 lots of unresolved hard feelings toward your former boss, your former place of employment, or any number of items related to your career. 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 to tell contacts the story of a specific problem you solved or challenge you overcame at your previous job. 

Use all the networks at your disposal. 

It’s the era of social networking. Take advantage of sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. They can be a great way to get the word out about your job search. But don’t forget good old-fashioned networking, too. If you’ve been laid off, you may have more time to attend meetings or conferences that focus on your industry or specific skills. You can also attend job fairs. They don’t always lead to jobs, 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. The more you can help others with job leads and career advice, the more willing people will be to help you in return.

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