New York City Guide to Surviving Unemployment
Many people have been wondering what I've been up to since my position was eliminated. They've wondered why I've been so busy. So I tell them that job searching is a full time gig and the most effective ways to get leads is to network. The last time I was unemployed, I wasted so much time blindly sending off resumes only to finally get a full time job from a random connection. Attending networking events is not only more effective but keeps my spirits up. On top of that, many of us are capable of paving our own way and providing skills that we already have on a freelance basis. I can't tell you how many casual bloggers turned "pros" I've met that now work or run their own sites. Or marketers with only a few years of experience now consulting in how to effectively integrate social media.. or PR gurus who are in demand..
In this economy, you'll be ahead of the game doing all these things while employed, giving you the opportunity to stay on top of industry trends, meet new people and potential hires (hello recruiting bonus!) and.. learn something new!
Join an industry organization. But don't just join it - attend the events, get involved, and join a committee within the organization.
- I joined AWNY last December, was invited into their Marketing Committee and became a mentor of social media, new technology, etc. for one of their well respected members. I also have a mentor and am co-chairing an event tonight! So I've made quality connections and because I've made myself visible, people will hopefully put a face to my name.
Not all networking takes place at Happy Hour.
- For the past two years, I somehow found myself on the mailing list for likemind. I vowed to attend one of the 8am coffee hours but once the date rolled around and the clock struck 6am, I rolled back to sleep. Last Friday, I finally ignored my "resistance" and took the faithful F train all the way down to West 4th Street where I met an incredibly interesting group. There were photographers, social media experts, an art director/pattern maker turned website editor, model turned writer turned product developer and the list continues. In fact, one of the attendees was someone I had seen ask Seth Godin a question during his Linchpin book signing last winter. She declared she wanted to be an Account Planner (of all professions!) but didn't know where to start. He advised to her gather a team and work over the weekends, to which me and my neighbor promptly raised our hands. Hmmm.
Go to an event/party by yourself.
- Yes, meeting strangers can be exhausting, but you're more likely to make connections if you're forced to.
Anytime you're invited to a party, book signing, gallery opening, talk, etc. GO.
- You can always go to the gym another time cause you're never going to lose those 5 pounds anyway. The worst that can happen is that it sucks and you leave. The best that can happen is that you meet your future employer, lover, best friend or great idea.
Be open minded.
- So you happen to have an MBA, are working but not satisfied in your job. Go to the next NY Tech Meetup and you'll surely meet startups looking for financial advice. You have your JD but can't find a job without experience - go to an entrepreneurial Meetup. And the world is your oyster.
The nitty gritty.
- Get your elevator speech down pat. Can you describe what you currently do and what you want to do in one punchy, positive, clear statement?
- Read, read, read. I have a (rational) fear of awkward silences. Fortunately, I read the NY Times most popular stories, various websites on technology, marketing, advertising, etc. so I can shoot the shit on basically any current topic. Thus, I am able to make connections, keep up with the conversation or lead it into an interesting place if things go stale. When all else fails, politely shake their hand, get their card (if interested) and head to the bar for another drink.
Any other tips? Please add comments!