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Finding a job can be a difficult task, and the way to do this has changed significantly over the years. Many of us are used to searching for a position in the newspaper, online, or using employment agencies - these are ways of the past! The best way to find out about job openings is by way of networking and word of mouth. The following are top tips to help you network your way to employment.

Why Network? Most jobs are not ever posted, but instead filled via referral. To make sure that you're contacted by the hiring manager, you must make a connection. Failure to do so will ensure that you do not come to mind when there is a position available.

What To Do? Make a list of people (your network). The list will be anyone you know, including family, friends, co-workers, teachers, classmates, neighbors, your kid's friend's parents, and so on. If you really think about it, we are networking almost every day. When you're waiting for your oil change and you strike up a conversation with the person next to you - that's networking!

Tap Into the Network. Go through your list of people and make any connections that might be able to help you in your networking process. The goal is to make any connections on your list, along with reaching out to the people and letting them know you're looking for a new position or would like to make connections. This will definitely help to grow your network.

Attend Conferences. Find industry-specific conferences to attend, support groups, church events, or any social function. Remember to prepare in advance and know who will be attending the event and with who you might want to connect. I encourage everyone to come prepared and have your resume polished and ready to go. I do not suggest just handing it out at every function, unless it's a career fair or your specifically asked for it.

You should also do some digging on LinkedIn and make valuable connections there. Don't go hog wild and start reaching out to everyone, but make sure that the connections mean something and will add true value to the job search. You may need to have one of your connections do a warm introduction on LinkedIn to help guile that connection.

Good luck on your networking endeavor and keep in mind that the job may not come over night, but the efforts are well worth it!

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