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Beyond Cold Calls: Six Job-Hunting Tactics

When it comes to networking, there are the usual tactics: reaching out to college alumni, tapping your Rolodex and chatting up industry contacts at cocktail events. But they will only get you so far if you're looking for a job.

Today's job seekers need to be creative to stand out among a growing pool of unemployed professionals. If you've already attended every conference in your field and cold called all your old college buddies, here are some ideas:

Join an after-work sports team: Sports leagues are good places to meet like-minded professionals. For example, there's a softball league for people in the media industry and the Landau Lawyers League in Los Angeles has been organizing basketball, softball and volleyball leagues for more than 40 years. Playing in a league is a fun, casual way to get to know others in your field.

Organize an urban hike: Invite current and former colleagues to join you on an interesting tour in your city. Choose a theme that's conducive to socializing, such as a walking tour of historic homes in your neighborhood. Keep the pace slow so participants can chat. Wrap up the tour at a restaurant or bar to keep the conversations going.

Give speeches: If public speaking doesn't give you the shivers, contact a local networking group or trade association and offer to give a 15- to 20-minute speech on your area of expertise. Maybe you could talk about creative accounting strategies or lead a discussion on international trade agreements. Regardless of the topic, public speaking shows leadership and positions you as an expert, which could help raise your profile.

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