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Networking is crucial to finding a new job

PROVO — The most basic errors, like leaving off a phone number or failing to do a little research on a company, can keep an individual unemployed longer, according to a career coach who says new tools rule the modern-day job hunt.

Networking is more valuable than job boards these days in finding a job, according to Jennifer Armitstead, a career coach and recruiter who coordinates a "job club" in Utah County to help the out-of-work get back in.

Armitstead gets bombarded with people who need a job and ask for advice on how to get one. That was the birth of the Utah County Job Club, which meets on Wednesdays at 8 a.m. at the Novell cafeteria conference room, 1800 S. Novell Place. The tech company donates the space for the free meetings, which includes guest speakers and answers to questions about the job search, including job offers and how to effectively search for work.

Jason Alba, who wrote "I'm on Linked In, Now What?" was a recent guest speaker, said Armitstead.

"There are a lot of things people do that inadvertently sabotage their job search," she said. That includes spending a lot of time on the job boards then sending out queries to various jobs, since only about 3.5 percent of jobs are filled by job boards these days. "It's very ineffective if that's all you're doing," she said.

Instead, Armitstead tells job seekers to look at their own networks and assess who they know who might help. "Who can introduce you to the company, the managers, etc. If you are one of 100, or 200 or more candidates, how are you going to stand out?" she asked.

She also laments the number of job candidates who "work their guts out to get an actual interview, but not time doing research on what the company is about."

Knowing that not only makes you stand out, but it answers some questions about the company for you, as well.

"Maybe there's a tyrannical manager and that's why there is so much turnover. You really don't want to work there," she says. "Or maybe it's a dying industry and you shouldn't be taking the job.

If you know something about the company, you can show that you "don't want just any job, but you want the job with this company," she said. "That's a good idea."

The Utah County Job Club is taking a Christmas break but will be back at Novell Jan. 5. More information is online at www.JAcareercoaching.com.

e-mail: lois@desnews.com

Twitter: Loisco