Is higher learning currently worth your time and expense? An Ivy League education now costs around $200,000. Yet, 2 million college graduates are now out-of-work! Traditionally, many continued on after college to graduate programs because of the high payoffs. For example, law school had historically been a ticket to financial security. This spring 40,000 law school students braved three additional tough years of classes and the huge expense in hopes of a brighter future. Unfortunately, their situation is so bleak that many students and industry experts are rethinking the value of a law degree.

Landing a job continues to be a Herculean task especially with the official unemployment rate at 9.9%. The actual figure may be a lot higher due to many workers giving up looking for work, which leads to them not being counted by the official statistics. This problem affects young and old, skilled and unskilled. What is a worker to do?

Tough times require tough measures. One proven historical technique is networking. Instead, many candidates spend a lot of time and money developing and sending out their resumes. Regrettably, most human resource people only spend 5 to 10 seconds, when they do review your resume at all, only to screen you out! Instead, I recommend networking to generate interviews.

Though networking is not easy, it has a huge payoff. There are two types of networking: 1) traditional and 2) new, e-networking. Traditional networking has two types. First, is telling everyone you know that you are looking for a job. This includes friends and family. The second type is business networking. This includes joining associations in your field and meeting key decision makers.

The second form of networking is e-networking. This encompasses leveraging social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to meet people in your field, engage them in discussions and uncover key information about companies and bosses you wish to work for. E-networking is like networking on steroids because you can exponentially ramp up your Rolodex of contacts in a very short time! Also, you do not need to directly approach contacts for job opportunities. Instead, you can contribute to online discussions and create blog posts to become a recognized leader in your niche. This will get you noticed by hiring managers.

Whichever form of networking you choose, a valuable tool I recommend is the 30-second elevator pitch. Your goal during this pitch is to quickly convey three key items: 1) who you are? 2) What you are looking for? And 3) your 2-3 greatest strengths that you can offer an employer. You need to repeatedly practice this pitch in the mirror, in a tape recorder or on videotape until you perfect it. Then share it with everyone you know and meet.

Unfortunately, the job market remains tough. Fortunately, there are some proven techniques you can employ to increase your chances of success. One such technique is networking. By doing so you will meet key decision makers who can help you land a job.