This weekend I had really planned on updating the blog in general and more importantly switch everything over to the new address. Then came the plauge. I’ve been layed up sick since Friday. Well not exactly, I thought I was getting over it on Saturday and ended up spending most of the day with Mike Zucca, who was in the area. By Saturday night, I was green and a wreck. Sunday, I didn’t move from the couch. Today, while better, I just havn’t made much progress. I just can’t seem to string thoughts together right now.

For those who have checked the comments, you may have seen that Julia mentioned something about a networking article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, our local area newspaper. I knew the article was coming and that I was going be quoted, but this was a lot more than I expected! I’m reproducing it here just in case the archive goes away (and I want to save this!).

Job networking works, when you work it correctly

(February 5, 2006) — Matthew Bernius hit many low points on his way to snagging that coveted job.

It began when Bernius returned to Rochester last summer after graduate school at the University of Chicago. He had just finished a yearlong educational leave from Eastman Kodak Co., and his one-time employer wasn’t taking him back.

So he applied for coffee shop jobs, hoping to make some money while he hunted for full-time work.

“I was told I didn’t have the right skills to make coffee,” recalled Bernius, 31. “I didn’t quite know how to react to that, especially after spending the amount of time I did in graduate school.”

Still, he persevered, never forgetting the golden rule of job hunting: Network, and use every contact you have to secure that job.

Bernius’ networking, for example, touched off a domino effect, as contacts referred him to other contacts. He eventually landed a six-month teaching gig at Rochester Institute of Technology — a job he didn’t think he had a chance to get.

It began with his blog. He talked about his job hunt and his hopes of combining the Internet skills he got at Kodak with his new cultural anthropology education.

A friend read the posting, suggesting RIT’s Lab for Social Computing. Bernius did research, spotting the name of a “friend of a friend” on the faculty, who later referred him to a professor.

The professor suggested meeting at RIT, prior to a lecture he was to attend there.

Who was leading the lecture? Bernius’s former RIT instructor, whom he chatted with, which led to a lunch and eventually a job offer at RIT’s School of Print Media.

“I remember him asking me how I felt about teaching,” said Bernius, a Long Island native. “It was completely out of left field. Teaching was on my eventual trajectory, but I didn’t expect to do it so quickly.”

“That’s the funny thing about networking,” he added. “It tends to be complex.”

Networking is a simple process. It’s the web of contacts that can be complex.

You just start with friends, family and others you see regularly. Who do they know at your target companies?

Some of the most underappreciated networking sources? Doctors, clergy, haircutters and personal trainers, said Candy Muth, job market consultant at Lee Hecht Harrison’s Rochester office.

Such sources talk to lots of people, especially about their personal lives.

Why not shoot them a call? Or at your next appointment, bring up your career transition.

Mention your target jobs, companies and the kinds of people who can help you. They might refer you to such a patient or client.

“Once you tell people you’re unemployed, people will want to help you,” Muth said.

“One common mistake?” she added. “People handing out their business cards impersonally.

“You really have to treat it like a simple conversation in which you inquire about that person and get on a more personal level,” she added. “Then you can ask them to keep you in mind for future opportunities.”

Too often people just look for Internet job postings, “or they hit a button and send a resume,” added Richard Bayer, chief operating officer of the Five O’Clock Club, a national networking group with 10,000 members.

“But very few people get a job that way.”

What if you don’t have a good network? Try to at least personally contact the overseeing manager, he added.

Bernius is perhaps the poster boy for using the personal touch to get jobs.

Remember the professor who linked Bernius to the RIT job? He was the same person that networked Bernius into his first job at Kodak.