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Posted 09/17/2014

Tips for Networking with Local Manufacturers

By Stephanie Poirier, MPS Technical, Branch Manager The Minnesota and Wisconsin job market has proven to be extremely tight over the past few years with recent unemployment rates at an all-time low of 4.5% in Minnesota and 5.7% in Wisconsin. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) While this seems to be an advantage for candidates looking for work, it can still make it difficult to find a job within manufacturing. Many manufacturing positions are requiring technical skills or degrees and many companies are hesitant to budge on their requirements. This can make the job hunt especially difficult for entry-level candidates or recent graduates. So what should a prospective employee do to find work in a technical field? Network. “It’s not what you know but who you know” is a phrase that may sound a bit cheesy but seems to ring true for prospective candidates in the job market. For many job seekers, networking is the key to their success. Here are tips to get started: LinkedIn is a great tool to connect with prospective employers, follow companies of interest, or to join groups that are field-specific or groups of similar individuals looking for work. Sometimes jobs are posted on LinkedIn that may not be posted anywhere else. The tool gives you an opportunity to easily connect with people that you may not meet otherwise. LinkedIn is free and it is easy to set up a profile, even if you don’t have experience to add right away. Students and recent graduates should create a profile and describe what kind of work they are looking for so that others that they are networking with can have an idea of who to recommend. Of course, it is always a good idea to get off the computer and meet people in person. Local job fairs are an excellent resource to meet prospective employers and make a great first impression. Job fairs are advertised online and in most communities on a regular basis. Many local colleges hold job fairs every fall and spring for their students and the public is also welcomed. Job fairs are great places to talk to hundreds of prospective employers all in one fail swoop. Getting in front of an employer can be a big hurdle, especially when resumes are getting lost in the shuffle, and this can be an easy way to get an employer’s attention and set yourself apart. Just remember to dress your best and bring plenty of copies of your resume! Connecting with your local workforce center is another good place to network. Workforce centers work with companies in the area and are familiar with open positions and what qualifications companies require. Workforce centers also hold many networking events, job fairs and can assist with resume building and interview skills. In addition to posting job openings, many employers set up tables at the center to meet with job seekers as ‘"Employer of the Day" a few times a month. This can be a great opportunity to get one-on-one time with an employer to discuss your skills and the strengths you can bring to their company. Here are links to the Minnesota Workforce Center and the Job Center of Wisconsin. Networking may seem like an intimidating task for those just starting their job search or maybe the more introverted candidate, but it shouldn’t seem daunting. Start by reaching out to your community, school, friends, or families. You will be surprised at how easy it can be! __________________________________________________________________ Stephanie Poirier has been in the staffing industry for three years, getting her start as an intern for local staffing agency Jeane Thorne. After graduation, she immediately started a career with MPS Technical as an Account Manager and was promoted within a year to Branch Manger of the Edina office. Stephanie staffs for several companies within the Twin Cities metro area including medical device manufacturers, precision CNC machine shops, as well as electro-mechanical manufacturers. Stephanie has a passion for networking within the community and enjoys getting out and meeting new people within the area. In her free time she enjoys yoga, shopping, and traveling and is currently studying to complete her PHR certification. To connect with Stephanie please visit: www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniepoirier/