Listening to a radio program on investing recently, I heard an interesting discussion between a caller and the financial advisors who were on the program.
The caller wanted to know why a lottery ticket wasn’t in the advisors’ list of recommended investments. The advisors said that the predicted “rate of return” on a lottery ticket was too low and unpredictable to be considered an investment.
This discussion reminded me of job hunting…
In your job search, are you gambling or are you investing?
In a job search, the closest thing to gambling I can think of is applying for jobs on job boards. The payoff is typically low for many job seekers, particularly those looking for jobs in highly competitive fields, but the attraction is high. It feels so productive!
In a job search, the closest thing to investing I can think of is networking. Networking for your job search is more like investing for your future. A good network is like money in the bank for a rainy day (a.k.a. job loss).
Don’t let these excuses stop you from networking (investing in your future) -
1. What network? I don’t have a network!
Yes, you do! People you went to school with (also people who went to the same school), even if you are not a recent grad. People who are/were your neighbors. People you worked with in other jobs (managers/subordinates, co-workers, suppliers/vendors, customers/clients, etc.). People you see often – from the receptionist in your dentist’s office to the manager of your favorite restaurant, etc. Read Liz Ryan’s Finding Your Network and Reconnecting with Your Network articles for great tips on finding and reconnecting with your network.
And, of course, don’t neglect LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, et al for reconnecting with friends/co-workers in your past!
2. Yikes – I hate large rooms full of strangers!
That view of networking could intimidate anyone! So, focus on more comfortable ways to network – one on one, or small groups. If going to a large networking event seems like a must-do for you, but you don’t know how to approach it, read Liz Ryan’s wonderful article Success Tips for Reluctant Networkers for good ideas.
And, if you are shy or an introvert, read Wendy Gelberg’s excellent Job Search Networking for Introverts ebook – available for free on Job-Hunt.org.
3. Networking is just another name for “using” people.
Bad networking is using – or trying to use – people. Good networking is not about using people! Good networking is learning about the people in your network – what they want and what they do best. Good networking is helping good people make the right connections. Good networking is “the golden rule” in action.
For most of us, a career is a long-term process. Unless we win a really big lottery payoff, we’ll need to work for a living the rest of our lives. If applying for jobs on job boards is fun for you, go ahead and do it. But, recognize that it is a gamble in comparison with smart job search networking. People with good networks have jobs find them rather than the other way around. So, this could be your last job search if you build a good network for your future.