One of my clients is in the process of launching his career. He earned a bachelor’s degree a couple of years ago and has since graduated from a certificate program in one of the trades. He is eager, enthusiastic and motivated. His résumé is up-to-date, LinkedIn profile complete with professional head shot, summary and experience sections and interview skills are prepped and ready to go. He is looking for an entry-level position in the industry and has identified companies of interest.
His next step is to tap into his network. Before seeking me out for assistance, he applied for several positions online and discovered firsthand that that approach simply does not produce results. Hiring managers are overwhelmed by the volume of online résumés they receive, what they want is an effective, less time-consuming way to source qualified candidates. Networking is the answer.
Why am I sharing his story? Because he, or someone like him, is going to come to you for help and in too many cases he will be met with indifference.
For those of you who are happily ensconced in your career consider how many times you found that perfect opportunity through someone you knew. Often is my guess. And when you are ready to make your next move it will very likely happen because of people you know.
So when someone seeks your advice on a job or career move, here are some things that you can do to help:
1. Respond to his request for a recommendation on LinkedIn. Yes, it takes a few minutes and the psychic income you generate will more than pay for your small investment in time. Oh, and according to LinkedIn, doing so improves your profile’s visibility.
2. Share what you know about your industry or offer insights about companies of interest. Spend 15 or 20 minutes over coffee (or by phone) to share what you’ve learned over the course of your career.
3. Make a warm referral to someone who can offer additional information or industry insight. It only takes a couple of minutes to compose an email or make a call on behalf of the job seeker. Who knows, you could be in the same position tomorrow, next month or five years from now.
4. Offer to put his résumé on the hiring manager’s desk or provide the hiring manager’s name and contact information, if there is an appropriate position available.
5. Agree to be a mentor or sounding board during his search. At some point, we all need a helping hand. Successful leaders will tell you they owe their success in part to the folks who took time to coach them.
In his book, “The 2-Hour Job Search,” Timothy Dalton identifies three types of contacts that my client and job seekers like him are likely to run across: boosters — those who are willing to give others a hand up because they know how difficult it can be to get in the door; obligates — those who drag their feet and lead the job seeker on with no intention of helping; and curmudgeons — those who simply never respond, leaving the individual to shift in the wind. Which are you? The day may come when your decision comes back to help or haunt you.
Mary Jeanne Vincent, career expert and strategist, has a coaching practice in Monterey. She may be reached at 831-657-9151 or email@example.com.