Where Wall Street's Unemployed Can Turn

For ex-Lehman and Merrill employees: 4 places to find help in your job hunt.

By + More

Generally, when you lose your job, you can rely on friends to help you through. But what if all your friends lost their jobs, too?

Such is the case for many on Wall Street, whether part of Merrill Lynch's "thundering herd" or Lehman Brothers' brothers.

If you're among them, here are some supports to rely on in your job search:

Alumni career services: Business schools have been making significant efforts to help alums, reports the Wall Street Journal. Even career services departments at undergraduate schools may offer some assistance. Also—don't forget your alumni network.

Social network friends: Your social network is likely scattered across the country (or globe), and that's how your job search ought to be. Jack and Suzy Welch write at BusinessWeek.com that downtrodden Wall Streeters first need to pick themselves up, dust themselves off—then broaden their job search across industries and geographical regions.

Online networks like Facebook enable you to quickly scan your friends' locations and their jobs. Ten years ago, you probably wouldn't have called your friend Charlie from third grade, only to find out he was working at a bond firm in Chicago and, hey, they're hiring. Today, you can figure that out quickly and send Charlie a Facebook message.

Recruiters: Lehman's brokers may stick around with Barclay's for now, but they were a hot commodity there for a while. One recruiter I talked with this week said the brokers would find palms wherever they go. There are lots of small, independent firms that struggled to compete for talent with the Lehmans and Merrill Lynchs of the world. If you're willing, they're welcome.

You can read this advice on getting in front of a recruiter from expert Jim Stroud. Also, read his blog here.

The startup community: Check out this new website: LeaveWallStreetJoinaStartup.com. The site shares this raison d'être:

For years, one of the biggest challenges facing New York city based startup companies has been the competition for technical talent. It was very difficult for a venture-backed startup to compete with the compensation packages offered by the big investment banks. Stock options had a hard-time overcoming oversized cash bonuses.

While no one is happy with the turmoil we're seeing facing the financial services sector, and no one is happy to see mass layoffs, this does represent an opportunity for startup companies to attract seasoned, technical talent.