April 30, 2009

An Important Clarification.

Last month I stressed the importance of networking in any job search. Nothing new there. The notion that we all need to step back from the computer on a regular basis and actually engage people is fundamental, and really the only time-proven way to find a job. But I do have a crucial caveat to the point. My own experience over the past few weeks has underscored the need to make this clarification. Otherwise, precious hours -- days or even weeks -- can be lost in the pursuit of our next position. Here is the clarification:

Networking needs to be relevant.

Umm...is that it? Yes, that's it. May sound elementary, but I'm amazed how many folks (including me) set out to network in places and with people from whom we receive little insight or encouragement in ways that truly help move our job search forward.

Networking opportunities must be practical. They must be targeted. They must be planned and researched. There must be method to the madness. Otherwise, that's all it is -- madness.

Yes, we have all heard how the more people we meet the more likely we are to find ourselves one step closer to landing our next role. At the same time, just meeting scores of contacts is not the end game. It's meeting contacts who can actually help us (as we, in turn, help them).

Don't sign up for every networking event. Pick and choose wisely. At the end of the day, the goal is not to have a drawer full of business cards, it's to land a job.

Smart networking is the key.

1 comment:

Tom Staskiewicz said...

Chris -- that's a great post.

Face to face is an integral part of the job search and spending your time on job boards and then sending your resume into a black hole is not the avenue to a successful job search. I believe the percentage is 3-5% of jobs are found that way. Not impressive.

Refining your networking process to your goals is critical to your networking effectiveness. Nicholas Boothman says it best in his "Make People Like You in 90 Seconds", he preaches the KFC rule.

K = Know what you want.
F = Find out what you are getting.
C = Change what you are doing until you get what you want.

Make your networking count!

Case in point - I met a guy last summer and we had lunch. I had seen his resume but getting to know him was much more effective. He had been a plant manager in the past, but for the past two years he had been out of work. About a month or two later I had a contact through my church of someone looking for welders. Because I help all kinds of job seekers and employers looking for employees I called. I learned that welders was one thing they needed, but they were also looking for sales, plant management, and ... When I heard plant management I started questioning and learned that they were looking for a plant manager. I told them about the guy, now friend, I had met and within three, maybe four weeks they had hired him as their VP of Manufacturing and he is in charge of the entire operation.

Is it who you know, how many you know, or who knows you? If I hadn't met and listened to my friend, I might have never connected the dots.

He is happy, the company is happy, and I'm happy I could help. I was a relevant connection!

Happy Networking!