On CBS’s The Early Show on January 7, 2009, financial contributor Vera Gibbons gave a bunch of tips on how to find work in this economic environment – including on networking. She says:

In this challenging economic environment, networking is more important than ever. I consulted with several career counselors, and each told me that 65 – 80 percent of jobs are obtained through networking. Only 15-20 percent of job openings are even publicly advertised, and only about five percent of job-seekers end up getting jobs through ads or job postings.

Figure out what you want to say to people about what you are looking for and be clear on what kind of help you want. By all means, tell people you are looking for a job. Make it clear that you don’t expect them to get you a job. Hopefully, they can pass you on to someone in an area related to your interests. Eventually, you will get to someone who actually has a job opening.