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The biggest mistake job seekers make today is sitting behind a computer for hours searching the job boards. This is especially true for millennials because they are more accustomed to texting, not talking. But I am here to tell you that networking makes a difference. Not only is it a good chance to meet like minded people, but it's a great way to improve your communication skills. If you are a shy or introverted individual, networking can, over time, make you a better communicator.

4 Must-Have Networking Tools

Here are four great networking tools to help you get started:

1. LinkedIn

Whenever I attend a networking event, I make a point to ask for a person’s business card so I can go back and connect with them on LinkedIn. I do my best to connect the day after each event so I don’t forget. It's a great tactic to increase your connections. I usually invite them by sending a personalized message about where we met. LinkedIn is more than just a business network. I call it my ‘virtual rolodex’.

2. Meetup

There are many other cool tools to help you network better. Meetup.com and Eventbrite are two popular event sites that have a ton of business groups and events to interact with. I belong to several meetups related to recruiting. There are meetups for just about every topic under the sun. Just search and you shall find!

3. 99 Events

If you want to make your search for networking events even easier, consider a tool like 99events.com. It’s an event search engine that searches Meetup, Eventbrite, Eventful, and other event directories. Think of it as ‘indeed.com for events’. One of the best uses of the site is searching for career related events. Just type in ‘career’ and your city and state to see what’s around you. Here’s a sample list of career events in New York City.

4. Meet Meme

Once you get to events, you’ll need a business card to promote yourself. If you're looking for a job, consider using cards from Meet Meme. They offer cards that look similar to baseball cards with your social profile info from Twitter and other sites. Cards like this are a great way to stand out.
About the author: Chris Russell is a veteran of the online recruiting and considered the ‘mad scientist of the online recruiting’ world. Currently he is CEO of CareerCloud.com. Learn more by checking out his social resume.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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