This is part of a series where Iâ€™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’m excited to be on the tenth point for two reasons (a) whew! Its been a long series! I couldn’t just do each of the 10 points one after the other without squeezing other things in, and (b) this just might be my favorite. It is super-powerful:
9. I will be a valuable resource to professional associates in networking situations, with no regard for self-interest.
Let me change “networking situation” for “anytime I’m dealing with people.” This could be at a networking event, at a restaurant, or when you are checking your e-mail. There have been many times that I’ve gotten to know someone and what they are looking for and think of others that they should meet. So I send them an e-mail introduction.
But then, a week later, I’m doing something totally not related to that person and I think “OH YEAH… they should really get to know so-and-so!” So I shoot another “e-mail introduction” to both parties. I don’t do this thinking “man, they are really going to owe me big time for this!” Its more like when *lending* money to a family member – if you do it consider a gift… if you get it paid back, great. If not, get over it and do not harbor bad feelings!
The point is, don’t stop being a valuable resource when you aren’t with them anymore.
I have been thinking about this for months – what do I wish that the recruiters and working professionals would have done for me back when I got laid off? Take me to lunch, offer words of encouragement, tell me of companies that are hiring? NO! The most important thing that I could have gotten was a networking lead. “You really need to get to know my friend Jenny, she knows a lot of project managers and may be able to help you meet others that can help your job search.” I’m not sure if I would have been ready back then (I feel like I’ve gone through a lot of personal growth this year) but I think this is the most valuable thing to give to someone in job search mode.
So, two questions need to be addressed:
First, how do you know if you should really recommend someone? This is a similar question that I see with LinkedIn people (with regard to the “endorsements”). You aren’t going to call your very best contacts and say “You really need to meet Jason Alba – he’s pretty cool” without getting to know me. You can check out my resume in one minute, and then let’s talk! Maybe a lunch or breakfast… but we really need to get to know eachother. As a matter of fact, I don’t want you to hook me up without a meeting because I want you to get to know me better, and see what my passions are. I want to become a real person to you.
There are a few folks that I had networked with at formal events for a couple of months before we had lunch together. During these couple of months our relationship was more on the superficial side because we always dressed formally and our conversations were short. But when we went to lunch I could really drill down and get to know their breadth and depth and these guys just amazed me! I was encouraged, after really getting to know them and their histories, to hook them up with some of the key guys in my network. (they are both readers of my blog – hi B.B. and L.J.!)
Second, to whom do you make an e-mail introduction? Ooh, I love this one. I have a buddy that interviews people. I e-mailed him and said “hey, could you e-mail introduce me to so-and-so that you interviewed a few months ago?” Later that day I get an e-mail introduction addressed to me and the person that I want to hook up with (usually with some kind of endorsement like “Jason’s a cool guy and has a great thing going on – I thought you should get to know him better,” and its up to me to take it from there.
Contrast that with another e-mail I got this morning from another interviewer who I asked for introductions. Note that I have a really good relationship with this guy, and he loves what I’m doing with JibberJobber. In the e-mail he says:
I only have an â€œinterviewâ€ relationship with these people to be honest.
Itâ€™s not like they are personal friends that I can introduce.
Also, the ones you really want to knowâ€¦I would actually like to get to know myself! Truthfully.
Now, this guy is missing out on a huge opportunity. Not only does he interview these people and add value to their career by letting them get more notice, but he knows lots of people! Keith Ferrazzi (Never Eat Alone) would call this person a power connector – or at least he is in a position to be a power connector!
I think that you probably have a lot of casual friends that you would like to get to know better also, don’t you? Don’t preclude them from the list of people that you can hook up with others, no matter where your relationship is at. Here’s why: If you introduce them to someone that they really should know (so don’t over do it!), most of the time they will appreciate it, and guess what – they will remember who you are! Each time you connect someone you become more of a power connector! Is there a better way to get back into someone’s life, or on their radar screen, then bringing something of value to them?
You become more valuable to someone when you bring value to them! Sound simple? Try it out – it will come back to you.
What do you think?
- 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)
- 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)
- I will attend the Professional Career Workshop and attend at least one Professional Networking Group each week. (read the post here)
- I will define and continually refine my professional brand and unique value-added proposition. (read the post here)
- I will identify and understand the needs of my target market – looking for industry gaps, problems and trends – and will target my best prospects within that market. I will do the same for each target company I am pursuing. (read the post here)
- I will understand and will be able to discuss my leadership style. (read the post here)
- I will do the homework needed to develop my own unique value-added proposition(s) (to be presented in less than 90 seconds) that are based on the companyâ€™s needs and my own talent, skills and abilities. (read the post here)
- I will initiate and proactively pursue activities that will put me on the â€˜radar screenâ€™ within my industry and with my targeted companies – such as joining and interacting with targeted professional associations and community service groups, and working to get top-level leaders within my targeted industry to know me and know of me. (read the post here)
- I will exude credibility, confidence and expertise, and use a professional voice, grooming and handshake at all times. (read the post here)
- I will be a valuable resource to professional associates in networking situations, with no regard for self-interest.