SEARCH GUIDE from Job-Hunt.Org
Forbes Magazine Best of the Web for Job Hunting, 2002
THIS ISSUE - September 12, 2002
INFORMATION - Networking Works BOTH
Ways, for the Job Seeker and for the Contact
and Unsubscribing - Directions for unsubscribing from
(or subscribing to) the ONLINE JOB SEARCH GUIDE
INFORMATION - Networking Works BOTH Ways, for the Job Seeker
and for the Contact
Guide to Feeling Better About the Approach by Ellis Chase, The
Five O'Clock Club
Networking. Networking. And more networking. The word has been
so overused that it can now have a negative, exploitative feel
to it. It is also one of the most misunderstood terms in contemporary
job-search technique, with the culprits often being career/outplacement
The word networking
evokes unspoken yet common fears:
"Why should anyone -- least of all a stranger -- want to
see me?" or "I hate feeling beholden to people, or asking
the negative associations, statistics still show overwhelming
success with the use of networking techniques.
backing someone into a corner with an outright demand for help,
leads or jobs, networking should be a courteous, subtle technique
leading to the building of long-term relationships.
often fail to recognize that there can be as much reward for the
networkee as there is for the networker because they view the
process as a one-way proposition rather than seeing that it can
benefit both parties.
SOMEONE HELP YOU????
is a list of possible reasons why a contact would want to see
the job seeker:
* Any person
who is attuned to the vagaries of a changing work world is aware
of the value of knowing people at all levels, and in related areas.
Some people being approached, however, have been insulated in
one area for a protracted period. Clearly, the more people they
know and the more settings with which they're familiar, the better
the options for future moves, knowledge, and even business. Therefore,
there is a great deal to be gained by the contact for his or her
own career development.
* Job seekers
are always a source of competitive information about other players
in their field. While the networker must be discreet, giving out
a little bit of news can not only demonstrate sophistication in
the field, but corroborate beliefs previously held by the networkee,
which is reassuring.
This is great for entertainment value and relationship-building
-- who's moved where, who's left where, who got a promotion. Job
seekers are great sources of tidbits, because they have been "getting
around" probably far more than the person they've approached.
actually people out there who do enjoy helping -- just for the
sake of helping.
* This is
the one that most people have trouble believing: There are actually
people out there who do enjoy helping -- just for the sake of
helping. And for them, that is the reward. Perhaps they've been
in a similar situation themselves, which makes them empathetic.
Or they simply may be altruistic people.
* People who
have landed a new position are, in my estimation, the most willing
networking targets. These recent successes are usually eager to
demonstrate their accomplishment -- and share the wealth. They
are definitely feeling good about themselves and may want to indulge
in a little boasting. And their contacts are still "warm,"
which is a help to you. *
Always implicit in a networking interaction is the idea of returning
the favor. Job seekers should do even better than that. In thank
you letters, it is good to include a statement like "If I
can ever return the favor (or kindness, or assistance, or help),
please do not hesitate to call on me." Being thanked makes
the networkee feel good and also demonstrates that the campaigner
was not merely using the situation to get ahead. Remember, the
key to the whole deal is relationship-building.
* Most people
these days are planning their next moves, as they should be. A
job seeker can be an observer of current practices as well as
future trends. This is one of the most significant ways that the
job seeker can be of value to his or her contact.
* There is
an off chance that a position might be available in the networkee's
organization, or that he or she might know of an opening elsewhere.
Either way, there is something to be gained by the contact. If
the opening is in his or her area, then the benefit is obvious.
If the opening is elsewhere, the referring person could end up
the hero. But this happy outcome should not be depended upon,
or the general emphasis of networking will be lost.
* In an article
for The National Business Employment Weekly in 1989, I pointed
out that from the point of view of the hiring manager, networking
can be a financial windfall. Networking costs prospective employers
nothing, especially when compared with recruiters (exorbitantly
expensive) and advertising. Networkers should think of themselves
as cost-saving for prospective employers, when they find themselves
in those situations which change from networking into interviewing.
* Don't forget
ego. People love being asked for advice; this is one of the cornerstones
of the networking technique. It is flattering for the networkee
to be placed on a pedestal, bestowing the benefits of his or her
accumulated wisdom and experience (otherwise known as the "almighty
process is a professional interaction, not a desperate plea for
who is conducting a job search is obviously susceptible to all
sorts of mood swings, self-doubt, and disappointments. However,
the campaigner does not have to be put in a vulnerable position
that most assume is necessary. It is imperative to think of the
job-search process as a professional interaction, not a desperate
plea for help. Constructive networking should be an exchange of
ideas -- with career-growth potential for everyone involved.
(c) Copyright Ellis Chase, 2002.
From The Five O'Clock Club, a coaching
and out-placement network for professionals, managers, and executives.
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Editor and Senior Job Hunter
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