Looking for a job when you need one is like looking for a parachute after you've jumped out of the airplane, it's like looking for a date the morning of Valentines day, like looking for someone to kiss at 11:55pm on New Year's Eve....you get the point.
Anyone who has ever seen the very popular show “How I Met Your Mother” has heard of the move "the naked man" ( surprising someone on a date naked ) which apparently is successful two of every three tries. I know it sounds lazy and uncouth, but this is what our current interview system is. We skip the getting to know each other part and try to ‘seal the deal’ too quickly. How does this work out? Most people leave jobs because of work environments and supervisors that “don’t fit”. Well wouldn’t we know more if we took the time to get to know our potential boss and workplace?
A resume read and couple of interviews is not enough time spent to get to know each other and decide to spend 8+ hours a day for the next few years.
These days when I speak with hiring directors, they constantly express that they don't want to post a mid level or senior job but they just can't think of one or two ideal candidates let alone five to interview. And so they turn to the decades-old horrible HR dance made MORE unbearable by the Internet which encourages people to spam-cv the world.
I was helping a peer who was thinking a year out for a new position. This person is kind of a celebrity in my profession. I have heard dozens of people say "oh I'd LOVE to work for" this person or this organization. And yet very few of them has ever said hi at a conference, asked to meet for coffee, made an impression and none of them kept in touch with this person. I'm not talking about sucking up here. I’m talking about thinking ahead…
My magic three steps:
1. Say hello at a conference or networking event
2. Follow up with a note, then connect on LinkedIn
3. Have coffee twice a year and use email/social media to keep in touch
In the end this person is going to have to do way too much work to meet the right people....and so they’ve turned to the HR dance when this job could have gone to someone with true passion for the leader and the role.
So dear network, lets get to work. In 2014 I know you're thinking about a change. Think about that top five list of leaders, employers, companies, charities and lets get networking! It's holiday networking season, get thee to events! Step one is NOW.
A great job move takes six months to a year to cultivate, it's your whole life! Start today..
In the mean time, here are some great networking tips for the holidays from the Wall St. Journal. Enjoy!