DARIEN, Conn. - Darien's unemployment rate is decreasing, but many people in town are still out of work. Experts said they are seeing some signs of recovery, but people still need to network and develop their skills.
Tom Bell is the co-founder of the Darien Professionals Networking Group, which routinely holds networking events for people who may be out of work or transitioning, or who just want to continue to build their network of contacts.
"I get the sense that the economy is rebounding, with the caveat that the financial sector is still seeing some consolidations and closings, and obviously Darien has a heavy emphasis in that field," Bell said.
He said he was surprised to see 35 people show up to a recent speaker event, but said that high number of attendees has been fairly consistent over the past several months. Some are people looking for work, some were there for the presentation and some recognize that even if they have jobs, it's still important to network, he said.
"You never know. Your company could see some reduction or get sold, and it's always key to maintain your contacts," Bell said. "It allows you to reach out and contact somebody in an organization that you might not have the normal opportunity to reach. It can really give you a leg up."
"Companies are becoming more amenable to hiring people who have been out of work. If you haven't worked in six months, that used to be a black mark on your resume, but it's more understandable in this market," Carter said.
Though companies are more understanding of people who have been out of work for a long time, experts said, that time off shouldn't be wasted.
"If you've been out of work for six months, I want to hear that you're doing something, whether it's doing consulting work or volunteering or taking a course," Carter said.
Carter recommends to her clients that they attend one networking event a month even after they've already landed a job.
"Every person you meet is someone you can learn something from, even if it's simply learning what not to do."