Alternatives to the Dreaded Networking

All I can say is that it isn’t as hard as it looks or feels, but that’s easy for me to say now.  I know how the unemployed and discouraged feel; I’ve been there and I remember well that I hated going out of my house for groceries, let alone to any kind of gathering involving introductions and smiles.  Or clothing other than jeans or pajamas.

I offer the following alternatives only in the spirit of understanding that you need to do something other than sit in front of a computer screen imagining that you will seriously be considered for jobs you see posted on public job boards.  Yes, Monster.com is not your salvation.  Being highly responsible, having a drivers license, and being willing to travel does not qualify you; those boiler plate items are there to discourage some of those who are.

But I digress.  Try these instead:

1.  Ask your friends and family to form an advisory board and network for you.  Most folks find it easier to ask others for favors for others, but demur when it comes to their own needs.  And, your innermost circle of people includes those who are most likely to refer you to a job that is right for you.  Whether you call a meeting or connect one by one, you will need to supply the team with resumes, a list of possible job titles, your preferred geography, and anything else you think is important.  Don’t hold back; tell your people you need them, just like you would want to be told how you can help when they need you.

2.  Go back in time and call your old good friends.  Tell them about your most recent accomplishments (like graduating from law school and passing the Bar exam).  When they ask about job, explain that you are exploring a lot of options, and ask for their ideas.  Most people think they have to ask others for leads or jobs, but really you just want to confidently open yourself to ideas.  Some will have some, some will not, but at least your old best friends will have positive gossip to spread if you speak confidently and with self assurance about your future.

3.  Volunteer somewhere at least a few times per week.  Get out of the house and get out of your head, and wherever you go, be your absolutely most positive self.

4.  Create a mail campaign (snail mail or email, I don’t care).  For the hundredth time this week:  Most Jobs Aren’t Posted.  So if you compose an effective cover letter and send a great resume, you might connect with someone who knows a job is coming up, who has one open but doesn’t want to post it because they get piles and piles of resumes from the wrong people, or, they might just want to meet you because you sound interesting.  This is why I insist that you put hobbies and interests on your resume and why I suggest that if your education, experience, or particular talent are unusual you should be blogging.  I’d rather read a blog than a resume, because it gives me a sense of your voice.

5.  Start a blog.  Keep it private until you are comfortable and/or have critical mass, a decent record of posting regularly. Really, you are in front of that computer anyway and we both know you have the time, so at least try.

Pick one this week and one next week; in the case of Number 4, you will need to do some research on where you are going to send your stuff, so spend a couple of hours a day at least on that instead of the job board stuff.

And those are the best alternatives I can offer.

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