How to get job offers without looking for a job

April 28, 2014 by Joshua
in Entrepreneurship, Leadership

I got my last job without looking for it.

Two of my NYU students followed my advice and got job offers without looking for them.

It takes a while to explain how to do it, but once someone gets it, they get it.

The technique doesn’t get you job offers non-stop or on a predictable schedule, but it will lead you to get offers for jobs you like. Having the expectation helps when you have a job you don’t like. Instead of wasting resources on looking for a new job, knowing one will come from this technique will make your current job more palatable. You can still search for other jobs while doing this technique. It will probably augment that search.

The core of the process

The core of the process is to

do visible things that people in the community you want to enter will value, then to involve people in that community in that process.

People will recognize you’re adding value and want you in their community. Sometimes the person wanting you in the community will want you to fill an opening.

For example, when I got back from Shanghai, I started giving seminars on leadership and entrepreneurship. After giving a few and getting feedback that attendees were getting value from it, people at NYU saw value in my work for students there.

Another example is one of my students who put way more into an optional assignment than necessary, showing himself to be the kind of hustler any entrepreneur values. A couple months later a friend starting a company asked me if I could recommend anyone for an internship or job. Naturally, I told him about this student’s hustle. He asked me the student’s contact information to offer him a job, which he did.

Prerequisites for the process

You have to know what work you’ll enjoy and what communities you want to join. This process begins with you working for no material compensation so you have to know what work you’ll love in and of itself. The work will also force you into interacting with communities, so you better enjoy people in those communities. As much as I loved physics, I couldn’t stand working at Fermilab or in other physics labs mostly physically removed from the mainstream.

Next you have to know how to get things done and be willing to work possibly for years with only internal reward. Think of it like a hobby. I researched evolutionary psychology, positive psychology, and cognitive behavioral therapy for years on my own before realizing I could put it together to help people in ways no one did before. I created syllabuses for classes when I wasn’t teaching anywhere, expecting I’d find use for them some day.


The recent panel on Women in Entrepreneurship I helped organize was a great activity that created value for communities. Any student or prospective entrepreneur looking to build connections in that community could have benefited from helping with that project. Creating a panel for any community would lead to connections in that community.

A friend who loved going to concerts I used to enjoy started writing reviews about them. Later she would get invited to events by hosts and musicians. Eventually she became one of the top PR people in that community, which is where she now makes her living, with a team of people reporting to her.

Helping my friend’s non-profit give a talk in New York led to my giving a talk at Harvard. While this process hasn’t led to a job offer yet, it’s contributing.

What if it doesn’t work?

Since you picked things you loved doing in communities you liked working with, before things work out, you still did things you loved.

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