Job seekers may be surprised to learn that up to 80 percent of job openings are unadvertised. When looking for a job, it's important to leverage the more traditional job search advertising mediums like the newspaper, job boards and social networks, as well as take advantage of the opportunities to meet individuals face to face in a professional networking setting. Sometimes, these events can be costly and if you are out of work it's not in your best financial interests to spend $50 a week on networking events that provide no guarantees.
Even so, networking doesn't have to be expensive. It just takes learning where to look to find your next low-cost or no-cost networking opportunity.
- Meetup.com. The Internet is amazing tool to learn about networking opportunities. Meetup.com is a free platform that allows you to search for events by city and keyword. Each week, I am alerted to 40-plus networking activities and events that are happening in my city many at no cost.
- Plancast.com. This is another free Internet tool that you can register for online or connect via Facebook to learn about activities in your city or goings-on that your friends are attending. This site aggregates meetings and events from different websites.
- Newspapers & Radio. Depending on the size of your city or town, your local newspaper is sometimes still the best option to learn about upcoming events and activities. Most newspapers provide this service free of charge to those looking to promote their events. Consider dialing into your local AM Radio station to hear the skinny on what's happening in your city or town. Many local stations have an event or sales hour where community organizations call up to make announcements via the radio waves. It's a great no-cost way to hear directly from the movers and shakers where everyone needs to be.
- Chamber of Commerce. Your local chamber is a great way to learn about events and activities that are happening in your city. Whether you are a new resident or a lifer, chambers offer free information and materials both online and off. Don't be afraid and pick up the phone to talk to someone directly. The staff is paid to connect with businesses and can point you in the direction of low-budget activities and events to help you find a job.