Once again, it is a holiday weekend. The holiday weekends are a good time to reflect and write a more personal post, yet one that shares lesson. Last week, we mentioned that networking was the “old school” job search approach that still works.
After I finished the story, I thought about the role networking has played in my own career. Of course, one person’s example does not prove the common quote that up to 80% of jobs are found through networking. It’s just an illustration that I hope will inspire you to give it a try instead of clicking and sending resumes to job boards all day long.
A form of networking played a role in landing at least three jobs I accepted, and one offer I passed on. The four examples we’ll discuss include:
- Joining the Federal government after graduating from college,
- Transitioning to the non-profit sector after being downsized from the government,
- An invite to apply for a job at a holiday party, and
- A referral from a hiring manager that said “no.”
Networking has made job search “less glum, more fun” for me on several occasions, too. It’s boring, I think, to click on hundreds of online applications, fill them out, and upload your resume. I also know of few professional and executive-level job-seekers that have gotten jobs that way.
How have you made your own job searches more fun, less glum? Click here to speak with me about or post a comment below.
A contact helped me land a Federal job.
The transition from school to work is, for many of us, one of life’s most challenging professional adjustments. We expect that the business world will welcome us with open arms because we graduated with honors from a brand-name school. It happens for some graduates, but others struggle for a time.
My search for a “real job” after college lasted nearly a year. The breakthrough began about six months before I landed. I was asked to meet with a rep from an employment program that, I was told, could help me find a job. Myrtle at the program listened to my story, made some notes, and said “a client just started at his job and has a similar business and economics background. I’ll put you in touch.”
Months passed, and then Myrtle’s contact called me. Karl ultimately asked me to call one of his managers at the GAO, Vince, to set up an interview. The wheels of government turn slowly, but the interview eventually occurred.
Vince, Karl, and I spoke for an hour or so, and then Vince said “I will recommend to the boss, Chuck, that we hire you.” I had heard similar statements in the past after interviews, and then had nothing happen, so I took it with a large grain of salt. The government wheels started turning, though, and this time I got a call, and a letter, offering me the job. A temp job I held at the time was coming to an end, so I gratefully accepted.
Sadly, Vince Grimaudo, Karl Davis, and Chuck Forbes are no longer with us. Nonetheless, the job lasted for 15 years, I made many friends along the way, and I was promoted three times. I had just interviewed for another promotion to supervisor when the GAO New York Office closed.
Contacts helped me step into the non-profit world.
After several months of fruitless searching, I found my way into a short course on non-profit management. The professor referred me to someone she thought might know of opportunities in his organization.
I got into a temp job through the professor’s contact. He met with me, and several weeks later, arranged for me to interview with the Internal Audit Manager. The Internal Audit Manager hired me to fill in for his regular auditor who was on maternity leave.
The internal audit role lasted six weeks. Then, Diana in HR offered to bring me on for some projects in her office. We did not get along, but I learned a lot about HR in a short time—something that was valuable down the road. For example, Jim, her Assistant Director handed me his half-finished draft outline and some tomes called the “Proskaur books. He asked me to write an HR Policy and Procedures Manual. I had to learn quickly about recruiting, onboarding, timekeeping, FMLA administration, labor-management relations, and a host of other topics I no longer remember.
Another job offer was a “Christmas present.”
Business-related holiday parties are a great place to network. I experienced this first-hand in 2004 when I attended a holiday luncheon held by a professional organization in Manhattan. An acquaintance at the luncheon knew me from a prior job. She told me the department manager at her job would be posting an opening, and that she felt I should apply. I applied, was promptly interviewed, and then the department head offered me the position. The job was “geographically undesirable,” so I turned it down when I was offered a position closer to home. Nonetheless, the networking lesson was valuable.
The COVID19 crisis could put a crimp in the holiday party season this year. Keep holiday networking in mind for future years.
A manager that said “no” referred me to a job elsewhere.
The job I accepted instead of the Christmas party opportunity resulted from a unique networking situation. I had several discussions over the course of a few months with the Executive Director of a well-known New York charity. Eventually, a position opened up and I applied. The Executive Director called me about a week later to say she was not considering me for the job. Few managers call when they are saying no, so I was puzzled. Then she told me that another organization was staffing-up to undertake a very large welfare-to-work contract known as WeCARE in Brooklyn. They needed 300 people right away, so she sent my resume to them.
My resume landed on the desk of an executive that had worked for the organization that had just lost all its employment program contracts and downsized me. He hired me.
Did my resume matter?
The HR department in each of the jobs I networked into required a resume for their files. It was essential even if it was not the deciding factor in landing the interview and job.
Resumes are even more essential today, despite talk of their demise. A freelance writer told me last week that prospective contract clients are asking her to submit a resume online now, perhaps because one must be entered into their ATS for compliance purposes.
Networking my way into jobs has always been more fun to me than sitting home and sending out resumes. I’ve gotten to meet and speak with a lot of interesting people that way. Don’t miss out. Have a great, ATS-compatible resume ready, even if you are not plastering it on every online job board. You are welcome to get on my calendar here for a complimentary consultation or a networking conversation.