Over 80% of Open Positions are Obtained Through Networking
net-work-ing (verb): to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position. dictionary.com.
Networking is easier than you think, and with practice, can become something that even the clearest of introverts can be good at. The purpose of networking is to grow your web of professionals in occupations or fields of interest in order to increase your knowledge of the position and company as well as your chances to get your foot in the door. Networking does not have to be "schmoozing", it is simply building relationships with people in your field to make sure that they know about you and what you would have to offer to their organization. If your network isn't aware of your interests and skills, how would they know to recommend you for an open position?
Begin by thinking about your immediate network: family, friends, colleagues, classmates, professors, etc.. Are any of these people directly involved in your field of interest? Do they know other people that could get you connected to professionals in your field of interest? Create a list of your immediate network with notes on how they could possibly assist you in the career exploration and job search process. Also, create a list of informational interview questions that you would like to ask them about their company and position, and a list of skills that you want to make sure to highlight.
Then expand your network to people that you haven't met yet. Reach out to business owners in the local community (see Chamber of Commerce Business Directories below), get involved in professional associations and local clubs, and connect with professionals and OSU alumni on LinkedIn. You can also build relationships with OSU alumni and get tips about industries and employment opportunities through Flash Mentoring events online sponsored by the Alumni Association. Manage your contacts using the free online CRM Insightly, and use a program called Contactually to send you reminders for when you should follow-up with contacts resulting in stronger relationships.
Cascades Business News Book of Lists: Categorized list of Central Oregon employers, company overview and contact information (contact the Career Development Center for username and password)
Economic Development for Central Oregon
Local Chamber of Commerce Business Directories
There are many local groups and clubs that you can join to network with professionals depending on your interests, and not just your professional interests. City Club of Central Oregon and EDCO Pub Talks both host monthly forums and speakers that attract many local professionals. The Homeless Leadership Coalition is a collaboration of over 40+ Central Oregon nonprofits that meet the 1st Friday of every month at 8:00am at the Bend Library to discuss homelessness in the area. Also, a simple Google search can get you connected to active groups like the Bend Adventure Group or the Young Women's Artist Group of Bend on MeetUp. You can also do a Google search to find professional networking groups and associations like Bend B.R.E.W. and High Desert Professionals.