By Guest Blogger Lori Adler, Ticket to Work Participant & Public Relations Specialist for Employment Options, Inc.
Did you know that only 30 percent of jobs are actually advertised? Wow, that says a lot! This means that most jobs are found through word of mouth…. So, job seekers – it’s time to starting talking!
As a rather shy individual growing up, I thought networking was just for CEOs and other executives. I have now learned that networking is easier than I once thought. Networking can be practiced simply by talking about everyday life while interacting with family and friends or meeting new people during your usual routines.
Does this sound like socializing to you? Well, it is! Networking is just like socializing, but with a specific goal in mind – to find out who is hiring and where the jobs are.
The truth is most people love to talk about their jobs. Isn’t it the American way to further a conversation with the question, “What do you do for a living?” One easy way to practice networking is during holiday gatherings this season. Conversations about daily routines and hobbies can help you gain insight as to who might be hiring in the coming year.
So you might be wondering, “How do I start these conversations at parties?” Well, when you are connecting with someone, find out what he or she does for a living. Often many people will tell you first about their job; then, you can lead into ,“Where do you work? Does your company ever hire for [insert your job goal]?” Or you can ask, “Do you know someone who is hiring in my field of…?” Remember, as you are talking, gradually let them know what your career goals are and that you can be a dedicated and loyal member of the team.
Mingling this holiday season allows you to have fun, but also remain focused on your goal of finding a new job. Remember, you can be festive and focused!
I do have exciting news for those of you who, like me, have a disability and who are looking for work. A few years ago, I learned that there is an established ‘network’ of agencies that has a treasure chest of jobs waiting to be tapped into for people with disabilities. This is huge and has helped thousands return to work – including me!
The U.S. Social Security Administration approves agencies called “Employment Networks” (ENs) to assist those on Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSDI/SSI) in finding job opportunities nationwide. (The word, “Network,” is used again!) Not only do these networks help us connect to employers, but they also help job seekers with their resumes, interview coaching and more – thus, giving the SSDI/SSI job seeker a head start in making valuable networking connections!
You may be thinking, “How do I access all the agencies in my area?” It’s easy! The Ticket to Work website helped me find a list of Employment Networks and how to contact them. The site has as an interactive map where you can search by state or zip code – all in one place! You can also call the Help Line at (866) 968-7842 to talk to a representative one-on-one.
Finding these networks is actually the first step in getting started in the program. Anyone between the ages of 18 - 64 who is receiving SSDI/SSI is automatically eligible to use the free services of the program. These networks and Ticket to Work have changed my life, because I am now working from home!
If you aren’t receiving Social Security benefits, don’t fret! You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free job resources list of agencies, forums and websites that offer valuable resources.
Remember: People hire people! Starting everyday conversations can unlock doors to great job discoveries. Ticket to Work’s Employment Networks are the map leading to a treasure – your new job and greater independence!
Lori Adler is a Public Relations Specialist for Employment Options, Inc., a nationally-recognized Certified Social Security Administration (SSA) Employment Network for the Ticket to Work program. The company has been in business for over 20 years and handles both work-at-home and on-site job placement.
* Please note: the links above are provided for informational purposes only. Disability.gov does not endorse any particular EN or other service providing part-time or full-time employment opportunities.