Raise your hand if you’ve ever posted or read a status update like this on LinkedIn or Facebook:
“Hey guys! My time as CMO with Company ABC has come to an end! I'd love to connect and explore opportunities in the City XYZ market. Let me know if you know of any positions or if you'd like to chat!”
This is the equivalent to announcing a breakup, and immediately soliciting blind dates from anyone and everyone you’ve ever met. Would you really do that?
Activity Does Not Equate To Productivity
It takes just thirty seconds to kick-start the “networking” initiative with hundreds of close personal contacts. Efficient, right? But, let’s examine the typical first responders, and what they have to offer:
“Link to the profile of a peer recruiter in City XYZ.” - Recruiting Manager, Big 4 Recruiting Firm
“Reach out to my company in City XYZ. We would be happy to keep our eyes open for new opportunities. 111.222.3333” - Account Manager, Recruiting Agency
“These guys have a pretty great thing going, and some openings as well. Link to company website.” - Operations Manager, Random Company
“I would love to see if I can help. Send an email to me at this address.” - Director of Talent Acquisition, Boutique Search Firm
“It’s been a long time since our time together at Company XYZ. Let’s catch up soon. Lunch on me!” - Director of Marketing
People are naturally inclined to help, and it feels amazing to have their support, but here is the biggest problem with playing the referral game. Most of your peers are the same level or lower, meaning they have little to no influence.
Every job offer goes through a hiring manager, right? So, aren’t referrals just another way of being directed to company websites, job postings and recruiters? Is that saving you time?
Ever use an online dating app? These are the equivalent of incompatible suitors who send you lame pickup lines and inappropriate pictures. Interested?
This is like soliciting relationship advice from the person who has never been in a committed relationship. Is that the kind of help you’re looking for?
The Trap Most Job Seekers Fall Into
Recruiters have somehow earned the reputation of being the “10” everyone aspires to go out with. The truth is that they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Looks aren’t everything.
Most recruiters lack functional work experience and have no idea what to look for beyond a job description. Worst of all, they represent just a few needles in a haystack of opportunities.
Case in point. What’s the difference between being asked how much money you make on a first date and a recruiter asking your salary expectations before granting an interview?
Do you want to find a leadership team that shares your vision and values or are you ok with being screened based on your past salary before they even know how valuable you are?
Are You Looking For A Paycheck Or Your Dream Job?
Would you rather marry the very first person who asked you out, limit yourself to a few different suitors, or meet hundreds of compatible matches and truly find the right fit?
Then why do so many job seekers settle for a few interviews and rationalize the first job offer as their dream job? After all, isn’t there a difference between paying the bills and being happy?
Instead of waiting on referrals, networking with recruiters, and applying for jobs, wouldn’t you rather meet with 50 hiring managers, get to know them and secure a target job offer?
We’ve all been burned, and made mistakes of our own. It’s how you apply that wisdom to put yourself in a better position moving forward. What have you learned today?
How To Find The Right Job, Boss And Company
Contrary to conventional wisdom, networking isn’t about attending mixers and asking everyone under the sun if they can introduce you to someone looking for your background.
If your target role is Vice President of Operations, the only people who you need to be engaging are COOs or CEOs. Everyone else is irrelevant to the talent acquisition decision and the business partnership.
Start sending connection requests (no need to type a custom note) to these people on LinkedIn. Regardless of the advice you read online, I promise 30% - 40% will accept!
Do not mention you’re in transition or send them your resume and ask if they’re hiring. Instead, tell them you are tracking their company and want to learn more from a key stakeholder.
Show up, ask questions, discover their vision, identify their challenges, articulate your solutions, and determine if they are a good fit for your future. Focus on helping them. Not you!
Invest time to distinguish your brand, maximize your exposure, and cultivate mutually beneficial relationships (instead of transactions). Here is proof that it works.