Question: If a job seeker has no money, what can he GIVE?

When I figured “it” out (it = my job search), everything changed.

The biggest change was in my happiness and excitement.  I was jazzed about life and my job search.


Because I had figured out what I could GIVE.

I couldn’t give money, or lunches, or anything that would be out-of-pocket.

Even $10, like what I blogged about yesterday, was out of the question.  How could I give $10 to someone when one of my kids needed food, or shoes, or ____ (there’s always something, right?)?

But then I figured “it” out. I could give something to those who needed it most (my fellow job seekers) that would be much more valuable than money, or a free lunch, or breakfast.

This was even more valuable than my TIME.

I could give them an introduction to someone they needed to know.

A networking introduction.

Try this: Go to a job search meeting (you know, the ones that meet weekly) and listen for an opportunity.  When someone says they are looking for contacts at XYZ company, or in ABC company, or with this-or-that job title, say “talk to me after the meeting, I have a lead for you.”

If you listen hard I bet you’ll be able to pass on names to at least five different people (I’m assuming you are out networking the rest of the week, and increasing your own personal network).  The best I’ve ever seen this was at a network meeting in the Minneapolis area (Lonny Gulden knows all the networking meetings there).  There were about 100 people in the room in a big circle.  As people gave their 30 second pitch, others in the room would jump up and walk a business card over to them and say:

“Talk to me after the meeting, I have a contact at that company for you.”


When I went to network meetings and started doing this I became happier.  I didn’t go to GET, I went to GIVE.  And GIVE.  And GIVE.  And my demeanor changed.  And my focus changed.  And my relationships at those meetings changed.

And others started to give ME leads.

Don’t worry about not being able to give buck$ and food – focus on giving contacts (what’s better, doing a virtual introduction).

I bet your job search will change.

5 thoughts on “Question: If a job seeker has no money, what can he GIVE?”

  1. This is great info. I have been looking for a year now and the thought of buying lunch is painful to stomach especially when I can’t afford my 4 kids lunch. If necessary I will try to set up meetings at a coffee shop since a cup of coffee is cheaper than lunch.

    I totally agree with your networking advice. I will go out of my way to offer anything of use to others. I do this because it makes me feel good not because I want something in return.

  2. Great advice, I’ve regularly been attending at least 3 network meetings a week lately and went through an entire week last week of workshops through the local workforce connection office.

    I knew of openings at one of my previous employers in marketing and sales and even a couple in operations, and since I was still connected to people at that company I could offer a contact at the company to talk with. I did not burn bridges when I left my position, and the people I kept in touch with have been open to talking, and meeting others.

    I’ve even facilitated small weekly meetings of job seekers (4-7) so we can pool and share those types of resources, and keep each other focused and moving forward in our job search.

    I’ve also found other professionals that can offer resume reviews and would even do mock interviews if asked.

    While it “won’t pay the bills” I’ve also taken to volunteering for a non-profit organization which is another networking opportunity in itself, and offering my expertise so people get to know the type of skills and experience I have and can offer an organization.


  3. Good article. So there are several things a job seeker can offer: leads (especially if s/he is networking actively, contacts, support, suggestions re strategy, a listening ear and time to volunteer (where she might make new contacts or gain new skills) in addition to contributing.

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