September 6, 2012 08:30
Hey, I’m back again. It occurred to me the other day that if I write enough of these blogs, that I could combine them into a book. That way, everyone who didn’t read them the first time around could not buy the book, and I would have a clean sweep of being ignored in more than one type of media! Certainly something to aspire to…. But, since you’re here and so am I, let’s talk……………..
Much has been written about Networking. Even I have written about Networking. (../../../blog/post/2012/05/21/Do-You-Wanna-Be-My-Friend.aspx)There will certainly be a chapter in my book dedicated to Networking. (Never too early to start the ‘Buzz” about the book!)
But for the most part we deal with being the “Networker” and not necessarily the “Networkee”… so to speak. Not sure that ‘Networkee” is a real word, spell checker doesn’t think so, but I think it should mean you when someone reaches out to you as part of their networking. Let’s go with that for now. (I will have to put a Glossary at the end of the book, remind me.)
As a retired naval officer on my fifth career, I am perceived to be a good person to reach out to when someone is looking to change their employment situation. Honestly, I am happy to help whenever I can. But it got me thinking, is there an etiquette surrounding accepting that responsibility, or is it actually a responsibility? I think it is. Not exactly agreeing to put their kids through College, but a responsibility none the less.
When someone reaches out to you and you say that you will help, you should. If you don’t think you can assist then say so up front. It’s a good and honest thing to do. Be careful not to make promises, but keep the ones you do make. If you say you will let them know if you hear of anything, then do so. A great friend of mine used to say that he would put their resume in his “Cousin File” (If he heard of a job he might say, “Maybe Cousin Matt could do that!”) Having said all that, here are a few things that I have learned and try to do. In no particular order:
- If you tell someone that you will help, try your best to remember that you said that and really do it if you can. I have a dry erase board and on it in the corner I have a list of my active “cousins”. That way I see it every day and remember to be on the lookout.
- Don’t get impatient when they follow up with you. Remember what it was like the last time you were in their shoes. This is VERY important to them, and you DID agree to assist.
- Take a few minutes to search the job boards on their behalf. Look for something that might be a good fit at a company where you know someone. They can find the jobs, but they don’t know your friends. Send your friend their resume and then tell them to apply on line. That way it is working on both ends.
- Talk them up to your network. Simple, but sometimes we forget the simple things.
- Actually keep a “Cousin File” in your computer. Mine is on my desktop so I can find their info if I need it. Human nature: what I “will do later” sometimes never gets done.
- If you don’t know them very well, get to know them, have lunch, meet for coffee etc. Not only will it make you feel better recommending them for something, but will also give some detail to put in the recommendation.
- Remember you are NOT being a pest when you refer them to somebody. Employers are always looking for the right people, if it turns out to be a match; you have actually helped two people!
You may or may not end up being part of the solution, but at least you will know that you tried. Consider it paying it forward for all those that have helped you.
Until next time…………