After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Personal Networking: Putting Your Team to Work

Category: Tips for Candidates

Many of you who are visiting The Headhunter Files have arrived here by way of one or another social network. Social networking is good, it makes broad communication easier, and it is here to stay…until it becomes as obsolete as the musket. Dedicated online networking is one path to employment. But when it comes to a job search, a face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) encounter may be worth a thousand online contacts.

The natural instinct of someone who has landed involuntarily in the job market is not always the best instinct. Embarrassment, timidity, or a natural desire for privacy may prevent an individual from boldly advertising his or her situation to friends and contacts, which may result in all the privacy a person could desire, but no paycheck.

I recommend, instead, reaching out to every person you know and many whom you do not know. Job hunting is a team sport. Your barber or hairdresser may be the spouse of a CEO. Your daughter's assistant soccer coach may spend her days as a regional sales manager in your industry. Your former college professor may have done some consulting work for a company of interest. Your mother-in-law may have a friend who has a son who is married to…..

Make phone calls. Meet former colleagues for coffee. Attend an unemployment meeting at your church. Tell everyone you know that you are unemployed. Mention your most recent title. Have a conversation about what you have done in the past. Mention companies that are on your target list. Ask for a referral. Ask for HELP.

It has been conjectured that each individual has approximately 100 friends. So each time you reach out to a friend, the effect of that contact may be multiplied many times over. Your team just keeps on growing.

    Of course you should be prepared for some disappointment. Many friends will be unable or unwilling to help you in your job search. Remember that it is not necessary to bat 1000 – a single home run will be sufficient to delight those who depend on you.

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