Learn about Networking from Your Dog: 6 New Networking Ideas for 2010!

Chester, my brown, Bearded Collie is the “networker” in the middle, with his mouth open!

Chester, is the best networker I know. He is well-groomed, even tempered, playful, likes to share, friendly and confident. One time, a Barber-shop quartet even stopped to serenade him!

People will remember your dog and dog’s name, even if they can’t remember your name!

My dog Chester, even pointed me in the right direction, for my current job!

In Vancouver, we lived in the same house for 4 years and barely knew any of our neighbors. Chester changed all that. Everytime we went out for a walk, people introduced themselves and asked “what kind of dog is that, he is so cute.” Often neighbors said, “you must be new here, how long have you been in the neighborhood?”

5 years ago, my husband and I moved from Vancouver, British Columbia to Atlanta, Georgia . At the time, Chester was only 10 months old, only 35 pounds and even cuter than he is now. Soon after moving here, I took Chester to Piedmont Park, which has the largest, dog-park in Georgia. We were walking along, rather Chester was dragging me along, when he stopped to greet another dog. The other dog, Chloe a cute, 12 lb, white Westie, also stopped to greet us. Now that I know Chloe better, I know how unusual this was for her. Often, she can be feisty towards other dogs. But she took to Chester right away. She does have a penchant for big dogs, who are shaggy-haired.

Though our dogs introduced us, it turns out I had a lot in common with Chloe’s owner. Turns out, she *(the owner) worked in the same industry as me. Her and her husband, were also recent transplants to Atlanta. they had just moved from Florida and were also going through a big adjustment. We had so much in common, we became friends from that point on – thanks to Chester and Chloe.

Later on, my friend told me about a job-opening in her department at GSU, Georgia State University. At the time, I needed Visa sponsorship. However, the University had already filled it’s Visa quota for the year. Yes, I would have loved to work there, but the timing was wrong. I had a Plan B. Healthcare is always hiring, always pays Clinical Counselors well and offers good, job-security. Then, just like now, everyone must have a Plan B when it comes to their job-search. So, I began my first American job in Psychiatric Counseling and Vocational Rehabilitation. It was a great experience. After a few years, I received my Permanent Resident Status, also known colloquially as a ”Green Card. “ This opened up many more opportunties for me.

Over the years, I lost touch with my Westie-owner friend, though never forgot her. But a year and a half ago, our paths crossed again. 5 years after I arrived in Atlanta, I am now working in my ideal job! I am at the same University as my Westie-owner friend. In fact, we both provide support for GSU’s Business Students at Robinson College. My role is focused on Career Services and her role is focused on Student Services. We often collaborate on joint projects, on behalf of our students. Also, my current job as a Global MBA Career Counselor at Robinson College, didn’t exist 5 years ago. The unique, Global Partners MBA was only created a few years ago.

My current job is so specialized, it is the only job of it’s kind, in Georgia. Talk about a challenging, competitive job search. I had to survive 12 interviews: phone screenings, panel interviews, individual interviews, behavioral and traditional interviews. Also, extensive background checks and a lengthy vetting process, before the University could offer me the job.

Though, I found this current job on my own, the idea was planted 5+ yrs ago. The initial introductions were made by my dog, Chester.

Let your dog lead the way: 6 dog networking events to attend!

1. Dog Park – Every major city has one or more dog parks. Get some fresh air. Network in a low pressure environment. Let your dog make the introductions, if you are shy.

2. Dog boutique or dog-friendly restaurant. Go to an upscale, dog store. Mingle, network. There are also many dog friendly cafes and restaurants in every major city. Meet like minded people.

3. “Yappy Hour” many cities have wine and cheese, meet and greet events – monthly. Free dog treats for your pooch, drink specials for you. In Atlanta, there are several, upscale hotels who host “Yappy Hours” and thereby expand their marketing to a whole new demographic.

4. Do a short marathon 5k or 10k “Dog Rescue run.” There are many charity and doggie fundraisers in major cities. Don’t like to run – volunteer at these events. Meet people, get some experience in event planning or marketing to put on your resume!

5. Single pet owners – go to www.PetPeopleMeet.com Mingle and meet other pet lovers

6. Dog events & happenings – go to www.wikifido.com Do a search for events in your city

Don’t forget that you are valuable as a person, whether you are employed or not. Do not let a period of unemployment sap your confidence. Your pet will always accept you, regardless. You should also accept yourself.

Best of luck, implementing “dog” networking….


Guest Expert:

© 2009 – All Rights Reserved – Sharon Cohen, MA,Dip.Educ, CPRP, Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist. Read all my Blog postings at http://www.mycareermanager.blogspot.com/

In Atlanta in 2010? Attend my Job Search & Career Bootcamp Workshops Jan 14 Congregation Temple Beth Shalom and Feb 2 St. Josepch’s Catholic Church. Email me for more details sharonbcohen@bellsouth.net

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