Dial-Up and Connect – A User’s Guide for the Unemployed

From Elizabeth Parsons:

Pounding the pavement to find a new job. On a Friday morning, I was told that my job at a prominent business publication had been “affected – in that it had been eliminated.” I've collected some wisdom over the course of feverish days of pavement-pounding and chatting with some of the area’s most seasoned executives.  I share it here: 

Leave the virtual cave as much as possible. The Web is great for leads, but there’s no substitute for human-to-human follow-up. From the 50 people I’ve contacted since the "affected" day, I’ve had the “informational interview” via phone or in-person with eight already. From those off-line interactions, I’ve scored two new writing gigs – with Handshake 2.0 and Virginia Business - and temp work with the local Chamber of Commerce.  It’s not the lottery, but it keeps the electricity on.

Ping-pong. "These days, if you sent your résumé in a week ago, you’re already cold," said Frank Rogan, CEO of Roanoke Valley’s United Way at one such interview. "Nice, interesting, but not obnoxious [e-mail] 'pings' keeps an application 'warm.'"  Rogan cited an example of gentle persistence that eventually got an applicant an "in" after being passed over in an earlier job bid.

Help others, help yourself. In Hard Work, No Pay, a recent New York Times piece, job-hunter Jennifer Williams shares that volunteering in her field at once eliminated “the dreaded résumé gap” and that debilitating “feeling of uselessness.” With a little persuasion, few people say “no” to a helping hand – especially in this economy. Job seekers can build contacts and their résumés in one shot. 

The professionals I've interacted with know the feeling of my shoes.  Goodwill exists; so do opportunities.  I have unearthed both and beaten away the blues by logging in – to my community.


Elizabeth Parsons is a seasoned editor, writer, and communications professional.  You can follow her on Twitter at @e_claire_p.

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  1. Quite insightful. Please keep up the postings.

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