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The Professional’s Job Search Creed – 2 of 10

November 20th, 2006

This is part of a series where I’ll introduce 10 points of a creed, and comment on them. The series is summarized as we go (see bottom of post) and you can link back to the commentary on any of the 10 in that summary.

I’ve been sold on this second point for a long time, well, ever since I figured out what was wrong with my job search:

2. I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers.

Like I said, I’ve been sold on it for a long time – that is until I read Dave Perry’s whitepaper on how people found jobs (right below the gray box featuring his book is this survey – it is very interesting and made me do a double-take). The difference between how professionals found jobs and how executives found jobs where counterintuitive to me – and I’d love for an executive to tell me that they didn’t do it as Dave suggests. However, it is actually good news for JibberJobber, and I’ll have an entirely separate post on that after this series.

For now, let’s pick apart point #2:

Notice how it doesn’t say you are networking for jobs, or job offers? I’m on a LinkedIn group where the main moderater, Vincent Wright, talks about the ettiquite of getting money at a bank. He writes: “Banks are one of the richest sources of money on the planet: but, if you just walk in and say ‘Give me money!’, you may be surprised at the bank’s response.”

Do you walk up to a new network contact and say “Give me a job.” Or, more realistic but just as bad, “Do you have a job for me?” No. Networking is not about asking people to help you all the time, its about building a relationship. You have something to give and should focus on figuring out how you can position yourself to add value to your new contact’s life or business. Talking about job stuff will come, later, as the relationship progress.

Certainly it is proper to think of a new networking contact as more than a business card or a phone number. Shoot, if you want more phone numbers just go pick up your telephone book – imagine how big your network will be then! Its not about that – its about mutually beneficial, two-way relationships. It may not feel that way as you begin, but move forward with a “how can I help you” attitude and you will be surprised at who becomes your most valuable network contact.

Recently I had an experience with a Jibberjobber user where I gave a little and expected nothing in return. Indeed, I didn’t even expect a long-term relationship as I thought this particular person was completely out of my league. We exchanged a few e-mails and soon I got an awesome message from the user: “Enough about me. What can I do for you?”

I knew this person was very busy and thought perhaps he could help me in some area. I laid out the basics of my business plan and what my needs where were and again expected nothing. But to my surprise, the floodgates were opened. This person has since opened his network in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of, and given continual mentoring and expertise.

Now, all I want to do for this person is help him. I’m not sure how, but I have received so much more than I gave to this relationship. Not sure if I ever will be able to help, but can you see the dynamics of this relationship? Neither of us asked the other for a job, or asking for anything really, but we are both somehow indebted to helping each other.

This will happen to you, if you network the right way! Two main points to go away with: (1) don’t expect it, (2) recognize it and be grateful for it when it comes.

Network the right way…. um, yeah. I have read one book on networking: Never Eat Alone. There are others that I haven’t read yet but they are on my radar: Thom Singer’s Some Assembly Required and Harvey Mackay’s Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. If you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend that you read at least one book on networking to overcome any preconceived ideas that may be hindering your effectiveness.

With regard to the rest of the creed, about the “at least” this and the “at least that, we just had a healthy “debate” on these types of metrics over here (make sure to read the comments). While most readers took issue to the actual numbers, I’ll make a few brief comments:

  1. The numbers need to be appropriate for you and your situation. When I was desparetely looking for a job earlier this year, I certainly had time to make those contacts.
  2. “Networking contacts” are not necessarily in-person contacts. This could be a phone call, or even an e-mail of voice mail if you agree that the message was significant or relevant.
  3. “interviews” can include “informational interviews” … heck, I only got 5 interviews in my first 3 months with only 2 companies (3 with a hospital chain and 2 with a high tech startup) – so I realize how unrealistic it might be if you think this means only “job interviews.” But there’s lots of information on informational interviews, and these are much easier to get.

More tomorrow!


Running List:

  1. I will get a job coach (not my spouse) to hold me accountable for my job search efforts. I will encourange him or her to be honest and indicate that feedback is the greatest gift that I could receive. I will ask for at least weekly contact. (read the post here)
  2. I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers.
  3. (haven’t done yet)
  4. (haven’t done yet)
  5. (haven’t done yet)
  6. (haven’t done yet)
  7. (haven’t done yet)
  8. (haven’t done yet)
  9. (haven’t done yet)
  10. (haven’t done yet)

9 Comments »

9 responses to “The Professional’s Job Search Creed – 2 of 10”

  1. Manny says:

    Sincere thanks for linking to my review of “Never Eat Alone”. I will certainly blogroll you and keep track of the goings-on over at your site. Hope you will enjoy the other reviews and tips I am posting on the Success Books blog.

    Best,
    Manny

  2. […] I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here) […]

  3. […] I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here) […]

  4. […] I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here) […]

  5. Jason Alba on Building Relationships…

    Jason Alba, Founder and CEO of JibberJobber.com (and my friend), has contributed “10 Things I’ve Learned About Relationships” to Carl Chapman’s blog….

  6. […] I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here) […]

  7. […] Jason Alba, CEO at JibberJobber, talks about networking and the job search in The Professional’s Job Search Creed – 2 of 10, as well as in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Relationships at Carl Chapman’s blog, Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter. Jason’s posts specifically mention networking for jobs, but the basic idea is the same for business and personal relationships, as well. Relationships are key – its said that most jobs are found through networking. The right time to start finding new relationships is right now. If you haven’t given anything to your network contacts lately I’m guessing you have more of a phone list than a list of real relationships. Whether you are in a job search now, or preparing for the transition that’s inevitable, start now. –Jason Alba […]

  8. […] I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here) […]

  9. […] I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here) […]