On this week’s installment of The Personal Finance Hour, Jim and I spent the hour talking with Michael Hampton, the director of Career Development at Western Oregon University. (We also had a lively parallel chatroom discussion this week.)

Network, network, network
Our discussion stressed the importance of networking. Hampton notes that your résumé isn’t your primary tool in landing a job; it’s a supporting document. You want to sell yourself by other methods and use your résumé as evidence that what you say is true.

One of the best ways to find a job is to use your network of business and professional contacts. Don’t just go out and say “what can you do for me”, though. Instead, ask questions. Ask for specific favors. And be willing to reciprocate when you are in a position of power. Support networks can also be useful. When you’re out of work, lean on your family and friends. Let them give you advice.

Finally, we discussed the rising importance of social media and social network. Hampton agrees that sites like LinkedIn and Twitter can be useful, but he also warns that they can harm as much as they hurt. Maintain your online reputation.

I thought our conversation was fascinating. We covered a lot of topics, including the hidden job market, the importance of the informational interview, and how employers are now using credit reports to qualify applicants. And for some reason, we talked about Rocky. Twice.

The Personal Finance Hour
Jim and I host The Personal Finance Hour nearly every Monday at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern). For the next week, our conversation with Michael Hampton will be available via this widget (after that it will be replaced by the next episode):

You can always find this show (and other episodes from the archive) by following this link, which will open in iTunes. Finally, please note that every week Brain from My Next Buck takes the time and effort to create detailed show summaries, which you can find at personalfinancehour.com.

Money Answers
Earlier today, I was the guest on Jordan Goodman’s Money Answers show. Like The Personal Finance Hour, The Money Answers Show is a live internet-only broadcast. I spoke with Goodman about my financial history, about the development of Get Rich Slowly, and about my advice for people who find themselves in financial trouble.

Goodman was formerly on the staff of Money magazine. He now writes personal-finance books and hosts the site MoneyAnswers.com.