While no easy answers or miracle solutions exist for tough economic times, a recession economy creates a "networking" job market and certainly empowers individuals to take hold of their own career management. Employment opportunities arise out of our network of relationships, not from plentiful job postings and hiring-hungry corporations.
That has been the norm for most senior management who have found their positions and advanced their careers through colleagues’ recommendations or from search consultants. Consultant searches are now more circumscribed and careful, often taking months longer to find the right candidate, and positions are not as plentiful as companies are not expanding and hiring at the rate of previous times.
Networking is not Lead Generation
Unfortunately, for executives new to networking, lead generation is mistaken for networking. They use up valuable contacts asking for direct leads to job openings, rather than growing those immediate contacts into a greater network. Not knowing how to grow those relationships into a larger network of connections comes into play as well. Many senior level job seekers are uncomfortable with the process of making new contacts. Some perceive themselves to be empty-handed and asking for something. Others leave a negative impression during a networking coffee that they use for the sole purpose of finding job leads within their contact's company.
Connections are difficult to initiate and impossible to sustain when our motivation is getting rather than offering. Networking is a relationship building process that grows connections into a wealth of shared resources and opportunities, but only succeeds when approached from a perspective of quid pro quo. Powerful, successful networking occurs when our perspective and words change focus from what we want, to what we can offer. This is an attitudinal shift as well to view the process of networking as one of making and keeping connections not for this position but for a career lifetime.
When we consider the wants and needs of our contacts, then unforeseen opportunities appear to us. We can do this by approaching networking with no expectations other than to make connections and build relationships, and by sincerely offering our time, information and resources. We are limited only by our inability to think outside the "get a job box" to find creative, memorable, useful ways to reciprocate and show appreciation.
Beginner’s Networking in Six
Certainly there are very sophisticated techniques and approaches to all of the above. Detailed tactics were not described. The small steps must be taken first, otherwise there is no point to elaboration. When a professional has reached the 500 connection threshold on Linkedin and several hundred reading their blog postings daily then networking goals can be feasibly set and acted on as the numbers have reached a critical mass to actually produce results.
Eligibility: This giveaway is open to those who are 18 years of age or older. Employees of BlueSteps and their immediate family members are not