Career Tips

Late Career Job Search Part V: Networking

By Dave Isbell and Kim Medlock

You’ve often heard it said that “it is not what you know, but who you know” and there is a bit of truth to that statement. While networking is not the only way to get a job, if you are like most people and you look back over the course of your career you will notice that there was a least one job, promotion, or opportunity that you “stumbled into” based on not just who you know, but HOW they know you! Here are a few basics to consider about networking:

  • Everyone you know could be a potential lead for a new job. Put it out there that you’re looking for something new, mention a few of your strongest professional qualities and skills, and keep checking in!
  • Find opportunities and meet-up groups and organizations in the area (this is where social networking can be especially helpful)
  • Be creative! MSU Alum Kevin Donlin (author of “51 Ways to Find a Job Fast – Guaranteed!” and “Guerilla Job Search,” with David Perry). His website is very helpful in thinking of creative and practical ways to uncover new job opportunities

Consider your interview skills and tactics, are you prepared to compete with the energy and confidence of professional competitors.

Consider the changes in interviews over the recent shifts in job market and demand

While some choose to relocate, there are often local and untapped options:

Think small. Often people believe that the only way to advance is to “move up” in position, salary, or company size. This is not the case. Incredible opportunities with smaller companies are often not advertised in want ads, internet sites, or other traditional measures.

Try cold-calling or simply walking into the places where your skills or expertise may serve well. You never know when you’ll meet your next job.


Dave Isbell is the Alumni Career Service Coordinator at Michigan State University. He has been a Career Coach since 1999. He is also pursuing a Master’s in Social Work/Family Studies at MSU.  When he is not working or studying, he is enjoying domestic bliss with his wife and kids, or playing rock music on his bass guitar. You can find him on Twitter (@helpingspartans) and sometimes he writes about compassion, collaboration, and career for this blog, which he owns and begs other Spartans to write for.

Kim Medlock is a Michigan State University alumnae with degrees in Professional Writing and English. She works as a marketing writer by day, but fancies herself a creative writer by weekend. As a Lansing native who has always preferred writing as an artistic medium — she remains passionately in love with both of these things.


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