Everyone tells us the best way to find a dream job is to network – but I’ve always found that most folks people dislike the concept of networking. They’re not certain why, but they believe it comes across as insincere or ineffective.
The reason is that most folks treat networking like dieting. We use it as a short-term strategy to meet a short-term goal. And inevitably when we fail to keep the weight off, we head to a physician or dietician. They suggest we quit dieting and adopt a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and exercise. Perhaps we need to adopt a similar strategy when it comes to networking.
Remember first, that looking for opportunities through word of mouth isn’t the issue, it’s your intention, (i.e., the RHB the gear you’re in) when you network that determines if you are successful or not.
1st Gear Networking (narrow self interest)
• Email everyone you know and ask if they can help you find a job.
• Contact people you haven’t kept in touch with for years with a similar request.
• Rely on a friend/your Mom/your brother-in-law to get that perfect position for you.
• Recognize that “good things just sell themselves” and you’ll get that position if you just wait long enough.
• Get upset that you are unqualified because you are too old/young/undereducated/over-educated/have an accent.
• Ignore people you perceive who can’t help you or who aren’t your ‘target market.”
• When in conversations with interviewing managers, talk exclusively about yourself, your goals, your needs.
2nd Gear Networking (extrinsic reward)
• You are courteous to people as long as they are courteous to you
• You get upset when you don’t hear back from a company after posting your resume online or leaving a message.
• People who are rude or inconsiderate to you get rude and inconsiderate behavior back
• You assist others…. until you get what you need…. then you drop back to 1st gear and don’t keep in touch.
3rd Gear Networking (intrinsic reward)
• First you need to be likable, then you need to be specific, then you need to put more out there than you ever get back.
• Make a list of industries/companies or individuals you would like to be introduced to.
• Buy 10 thank you cards and 10 stamps (minimum).
• put together a list of target companies and ask for introductions. Or search through LinkedIn.
• Pick up the phone and start calling friends and family. Invite them out for a coffee. Renew your friendship and then ask if they can help you. Show them your list. Ask for permission to call their contacts. Remember, these aren’t job interviews, they are informational interviews.
• Treat everyone with respect, the executive assistant, the bus driver, the neighbor. Opportunities come for you when people think you are amazing and think to themselves “they will make me look good!”
• Start off with this script to open the conversation then have a list of questions ready.
– how long have you worked for your company?
– do you enjoy what you do?
– how did you find the company/how did they find you?
– where do you see the company going?
– what are your biggest challenges?
– do you see any fit for someone of my background and experience in your company or industry?
– is there anything I can do to help you?
[BTW Always try to find something you have in common with the individual (e.g., university, family, sports, etc.)]
• Send thank you cards to your friend who referred you to the individual and to the individual. Make sure they are specific, sincere and searchable (include a business card or your contact information)
• Don’t be upset if people forget to return your call or are tardy in getting back to you. Keep the pipeline full. Be persistent but not pushy. Keep paying it forward and if you get down – keep asking people how you can help them. The go out and keep your promises. That’s 3rd gear.
• Follow Real Human Being on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn. We have thousands of folks who believe in the concept of trying to be a good guy or an amazing woman. We can’t guarantee you a job or a new client, but we may be able to get you an introduction.
Remember, you don’t stop being a RHB after you get that job or client. Your job is the after-effect of 3rd gear intention. You do what you do because that’s who you are and that’s your reputation.
So let’s stop dieting when it comes to finding a job. Adopt a healthy lifestyle of reaching out and adding value to people’s lives and expressing gratitude and you’ll be fit for life.