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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Force Yourself To Go Out

By Jason Alba
Career Transition Editor

This morning I did something I haven't done for over a year: I went to a big networking event downtown... one I used to go to every week, without fail.

I stopped going to this networking event, for professional job seekers, because it really was inconvenient. I had to dress up in a suit, drive about an hour (both ways), and sit through some non-networking housekeeping stuff. I spent more than four hours outside of my office. Away from my email. Away from my phone. Four hours. I thought "I could have done so much in those four hours! I'm already behind as it is!" As a job seeker I would rationalize not going to those meetings because in four hours I could find a few jobs to apply to, and maybe apply to two or three.

Four hours. It is a lot of time, if you are productive.

But magic happens in those four hours. I met a guy who was the #2 sales guy for one of the largest computer companies in the world, and will pass his resume to a specialized tech recruiter. I met professionals from various industries, who had rich relationships with people who I want to get to know better. I renewed a relationship I had let go dormant, and talked with an old friend (who has been a great JibberJobber evangelist since we first met), and got an update on what he's up to and what he's doing now. I met the people in charge of the networking event... these are people you should have a strong relationship with, since they are usually power connectors and help you know who you need to know.

I needed to get out. I needed to invest four hours in my career, and my network. And you do, too. No matter how inconvenient it is, you need to take the time to get out of the house, away from the computer, turn off your blackberry, and go meet with other people. You will find people who can help you. Listen to the 30 Second Commercials to see who worked in your industry, profession or at your target companies. Listen to others when you talk with them, and try and figure out what connections they might make for you.

More importantly, listen to what their needs are - whether they are making their pitch to the group, or one-on-one with just you, listen to them. Try and figure out who you can connect them with. When I was in my job search I wanted to give, give, give, but I felt I had nothing to give. I could not give other job seekers money, or a job, or anything with monetary value. After reading Never Eat Alone I realized I did have something I could give, something that could be priceless. You have it to. As a job seeker, a networker, you have the ability to connect Person A with Person B. YOU can be a connector, even a power connector. This is so valuable. It's more valuable than if I were to give them money, or a better resume. Even after you land your next job, continue to connect people.

But it all starts with going out. If you don't feel like it, that's okay. Still force yourself to go out. Maybe not to get, but to give. And the getting will follow.


Jason Alba is the CEO and creator of, and author of “I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???” After a corporate downsizing impacted Jason in 2006, he experienced firsthand the difficulties of conducting a job search. Drawing on his extensive computer software and IT experience, Jason analyzed the job search process and developed, the gold standard in career management technology.

Widely acknowledged as a leading career management evangelist, Jason continues to spread the word to job seekers through his blog, He is co-author of “I’m on Facebook – Now What???”and offers tutorials on how to fulfill the role of being CEO of You, Inc.

Jason Alba is:

CEO of

Author of I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???

Co-author of I’m on Facebook – Now What???

Founder of CEO Training for Me Inc.

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