How Many Scouts Are You Engaging in Your Job Search?
Networking creates personal contacts who can serve as your “scouts” or points of connection to career opportunities.
This a continuation of my November 15 article, “How Broad is Your Job Search Net?”
Cheryl lost her job 3 months ago when her company divested the business unit in which she worked. She met with Madison, a friend and classmate, who conducted a job search that resulted in landing a great position as general manager of a consumer products business unit. Madison shared suggestions on how to get job interviews. Cheryl and Madison agreed to continue their discussion. The focus of their next discussion is how to get referrals to hiring decision makers. Madison comes armed with information to facilitate the discussion.
Cheryl: Thanks for continuing our discussion. How is the new product launch progressing?
Madison: It is going well. All indicators point to a very successful launch.
Cheryl: Our last discussion ended with my recognition of the importance of getting referrals to decision makers in my job search.
Madison: Yes. 40-80% of the types of positions you are seeking are filled through referrals. People who refer you often have a trusted relationship with the hiring decision maker or someone who can connect you to the decision maker. The more people with whom you connect, the greater the number of potential connections you will make to decision makers. (Madison shares an illustration with Cheryl.)
For example, if you are connected to 5 individuals who trust you and each one of the 5 individuals are connected to 5 individuals who trust them, you have a path to 25 individuals who may be able to connect you to a hiring decision maker. If each of these 25 individuals can connect you to 5 individuals, you will then have a path to 125 individuals. Continuing with this technique, you could connect to hundreds of individuals who may know of situations that call for your personal product or directly to decision makers.
Cheryl: This is like having my own personal marketing and sales organization.
Madison: You hit the nail on the head! This approach is enabled by what I call the Concentric Networking/Referral Model.
Cheryl: How can I tell who is in my Inner Circle?
Madison: Your Inner Circle are people who trust you. They are people who will attest to what your personal product can do. As we discussed, your personal product is your skills, capabilities, and strengths.
Cheryl: So, my Inner Circle can build bridges of trust for me to people who trust them.
Madison: Exactly. They are your “trust transfer agents”.
Cheryl: This is very useful information. What else can you tell me about getting referrals?
Madison: Here are networking/referral rules that I used in my job search. (Madison shares the list of rules.)
- Don’t assume that a contact cannot connect you to a decision maker or to someone who can connect you to a decision maker. We don’t know who knows whom.
- Do not start the discussion with the sharing of your resume. That will immediately focus the discussion on whether the person knows of a job opening. There is an extremely low probability that they do. This will lead to the “keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities” statement. That is a nice way of bringing the discussion to a conclusion.
- Don’t ask contacts if they know of a position. Communicate the situations you are seeking, situations that “cry out” for your product.
- Make your conversations with contacts brief and focused on the desired outcome—connections to decision makers or individuals who may be able to connect you to decision makers who may be seeking the right product for their situation. And, make it easy for your contacts to help you.
- Follow up each discussion with a thank you email or note. People respond favorably if they believe that you value their time and appreciate their effort. Include your commitment to being a resource for them if they need your assistance in the future.
- When you land a position, inform all your contacts. Express your appreciation for their assistance. Again, include your commitment to being a resource for them if they need your assistance in the future.
- Live up to your commitment to serve as a resource. Don’t leave the impression that you are a user of people. I call this building equity in relationships.
Cheryl: Would you explain rules 2, 3, and 4, especially not sharing a resume. After all, I am looking for a job. Don’t people want to know about my background and qualifications?
Madison: Yes, they do at the appropriate moment during the discussion. Remember the desired outcome of your discussion— connections to decision makers or individuals who may be able to connect you to decision makers who may be seeking the right product for their situation. Your discussions with contacts are not job interviews.
Cheryl: I am confused.
Madison: Let me share a document that I used to focus discussions with contacts to get connections. This document is a Personal Summary. (Madison shares the document which includes Career Summary, Career Highlights, Situations I Am Seeking, How You Can Assist Me, and How You Can Contact Me.)
Career Summary communicates your personal brand statement. It is similar to the statements that we develop to market products.
Cheryl: I developed my personal brand statement during a Personal Branding course I took. It states what I stand for, the value I offer, and what makes me unique.
Madison: Go girl! Career Highlights should include 3-5 of your accomplishments that support what you said about yourself in your Career Summary. Think like a trial lawyer. The Career Summary is your opening statement. The Career Highlights is your evidence.
Cheryl: This beginning to make sense.
Madison: Situations I Am Seeking communicates situations that cry out for your product. These are the Right Situations in the formula that I used to keep me focused during my job search. (Madison shares the formula.)
For example, your accomplishments could reveal your ability to develop and implement plans to increase market share. The situations you seek could include products or brands that are experiencing declining market shares or companies that recently acquired the rights to market products as a result of a business acquisition or a joint business agreement.
How You Can Assist Me identifies actions your contacts can take to help you with your job search. This could include identifying individuals who may be experiencing the situations you are seeking or may be able to connect you to individuals who may know these individuals. This could include individuals who sell services and solutions to organizations experiencing the situations, are colleagues of the individuals, or belong to professional organizations in the field or discipline.
Cheryl: This is all about making it easy for my contacts to help me.
Madison: Yes! How You Can Contact Me should include your telephone numbers, email address, and a link to your LinkedIn profile. Leave your Personal Summary. Leave a resume if the contact asks for it. Attach your Personal Summary to your follow-up email.
Cheryl: This has been quite an informative discussion.
Madison: Would you like more information to assist you with your job search? I would like to share more information on how to connect with decision makers. In sales lingo, it is how to “get your foot in the door”.
Madison: How about dinner at the Bistro at 7:00, Wednesday evening?
Cheryl: I am really looking forward to Wednesday. In the meantime, I will be developing my Personal Summary. By the way, here is the information on my vacation spot in Aruba.
Madison: Thank you! See you on Wednesday.
Madison has brought Cheryl to understand that conducting a successful job search is like conducting a sales campaign.
Madison helped Cheryl focus her job search.
HOW MANY SCOUTS HAVE YOU ENGAGED IN YOUR JOB SEARCH?
How are you connecting to hiring decision makers?
Who is in your “inner Circle”?
Do you have a Personal Summary to facilitate discussions with your contacts?
What job search experiences would you like to share?
I invite you to share your comments, experiences, and suggestions. This helps me provide information that may help you address your career opportunities and challenges.
Fields of Success offers complimentary coaching sessions. Visit the Contact page on the Fields of Success website to schedule a session.
Our next article will focus on “getting your foot in the door”, Connect with Decision Makers step in the Personal Selling Process.
Linwood Bailey is a career coach and the author of The Business of Me: Your Job … Your Career … Your Value. The Business of Me provides a career management process and information designed for today’s business professional. Since 2008, Linwood has enabled business professionals to manage their careers. Linwood, the been there coach, provides innovative career management solutions derived from his 34 years of experience managing functions and people in multiple industries, regions, and corporate cultures.
Founder, Fields of Success, LLC
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