GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The headlines keep telling you the job market is the best it has been in over a decade.

If you’ve decided that now is the time to search for a new job, it helps to connect to a professional network. Ted Chalupsky from the professional staffing firm The Right Staff joined us to share five ways to expand your network and help you land the job or career move you’ve been looking for.

1. Local Networking Groups

The Twin Cities offer several networking groups designed specifically for job seekers in different industries or from various backgrounds. Try searching online for “twin cities networking event” to see what could work best for you.

2. Job Fairs

Like networking opportunities, job fairs allow you to connect with a wide range of people in your industry in a short time. The added perk is at a job fair, many of these professionals are actively seeking to hire. Polish your resume, brush up on your job fair etiquette and attend a local fair to learn more about what’s out there in your industry.

3. Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering can help you build connections with people who share your values, learn new skills and demonstrate your commitment to staying engaged while you search for your next job. Searching for “volunteer opportunities in,” followed by the field that interests you, can help you find ways locally to share and build your skills.

4. Getting Personal

The Twin Cities are full of coffee shops, parks, museums and other venues to meet up with people in your professional network and talk about work and your job search. Commit to connecting with one person each week, whether to grab lunch or simply to walk and talk.

5. Working With a Recruiter

Professional recruiting firms specialize in building relationships, making your recruiter a “node” in a vast professional network. To get the most from this relationship, contact a firm that specializes in matching people with your skills in the type of job or company you’re looking to work for.