The first rule of networking is to develop a brief "elevator pitch" that explains, in terms that anyone would understand, exactly what your job/career goal is. Then, you begin sharing this information with everyone you know, including family, friends and neighbors.
Neighbors? Really? Do you know your neighbors? Probably not. I know two or three of mine; I probably know their pets better. But who knows? The man across the street may be the brother of your next employer. Here's an idea that is easy, and doesn't require knocking on doors or making telephone calls.
You've seen those flyers that neighbors create when a pet is lost, or they're having a yard sale or bake sale? Do the same for yourself and your job search.
On an 8-by-10-inch flyer, introduce yourself, something like this:
"Hi. My name is Joe Blow and I'm your neighbor.
"I'm a recent graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in fashion merchandising.
"I am interested in beginning my career in fashion merchandising or buying, either at the wholesale or retail level.
"Help a neighbor out, please.
"If you have any ideas for me, references, or any networking contacts that may be able to help me....
"Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call or text me at 205 111-2222.
"I will be happy to meet with you at your convenience or forward my resume and references.
"Thanks -- I am looking forward to hearing from you."
Do not include your address and if it's easier for you, Scotch tape the flyers to mailboxes in the dark of night. Certainly cover everyone on your block, and then move out to additional streets if you want more coverage.
If you recently lost your job, you could say something like:
"My 10-year position as a financial planner was recently eliminated due to economic conditions and I'm interested in considering new employers."
I am interested in how this approach works for you, so try it, and then let me know how it worked. I will be happy to post results on my website so others can profit from the idea.
In today's workplace, creativity and a sense of humor is important, and as always, I suggest you do what others fail to do!
Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach based in Birmingham, Ala. For contact information, see marvin-walberg.com.