“Helping others become more effective” is a result claimed by many mentors and coaches. To be perceived as someone who is effective and influential in job search networks, spend time trying to improve your contacts’ job search.
On job-search mornings, when I wasn’t networking or exercising, I’d find myself sitting in front of a monitor, coffee in hand, needing a few minutes to warm up before getting into heavy research. For my brain’s warm-up, I’d often spend 10 or 15 minutes checking my best contacts’ LinkedIn profiles, and provide endorsements for any newly listed skills. I recall almost falling off my chair laughing when I saw that one friend had added “Dangerously Handsome” as a skill.
Do you know what your contacts are looking for in their job search? If not, then you’re unable to effectively refer people to them. Discussions over coffee, or networking, provide you a forum to share your background, and current goals, with each other. These talks are not meant to make you feel bad if you do not have an immediate contact or reference to offer the other person. If you understand each other better after the discussion, then it was worth the time.
Over time, you’ll build a knowledge bank of people with skills in different industries, etc. With this, you’ll have a larger set of names available when a recruiter contacts you with opportunity that isn’t a match for you, but could be a match for one of your contacts. You’ll know this is the case, because you’ve already spent time talking with that person, and you know the types of roles she is looking for.
This was precisely how my first job search ended. One of my job search work team members mentioned my name to a recruiter, and eventually, this resulted in a phone screening, then interview, then a job offer. How great did it make my day, to get the offer.. .and how great did it make her day, knowing that it began from a referral she’d provided? It was an awesome day for each of us.
Helping others, in a tangible way, shows that you continue to make a positive impact on those around you, even while unemployed. By connecting a person with a certain skill, with someone who has a corresponding need, you are helping them (both) be more effective. As this continues, the circle of people helped by your efforts will become larger, and they will be able to refer YOU to someone who is looking for your skills.
Allan Channell is a new ‘Blog to Work’ contributor. He has experience in software development, project management, and has interests in communications, Tai Chi, and humor.
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