Debra Feldman
Debra Feldman
Landing Jobs During an Economic Slump

Top strategies revealed.

June 4, 2009
by Debra Feldman

Does the concept of exponentially increasingly greater numbers piqué your interest? The notion of expansion in a geometric progression fascinates many because of its explosive impact. It appeals to one’s sense of an ever-enlarging world and brings to mind an image of a pebble hitting a pond with the resultant sound waves spread out in circles from the point of impact.

So what does throwing rocks into an aquatic ecosystem have to do with finding a job? Where is the connection you wonder? Simple, just as the water keeps rippling and spreading out, your professional network has to continue to seep outside original boundaries in order for you to be successful in obtaining leads to new opportunities. If you tell everyone — and I mean everyone you know — that you are in the job market that still won’t broadcast far enough. You need to get past that first point of contact in your comfort zone — those in your immediate circle of friends, neighbors, acquaintances, service providers and colleagues — to spread your message beyond anyone with whom you have direct contact.

Why? Because these people already know you need help finding a job and if they could, they would be sharing leads with you. For your search to progress, you need to get in touch with people who you don’t already know. In fact, your goal should be to meet and talk about new career opportunities with individuals who even those you already know, don’t know. By doing this continuously, you will start meeting new contacts, making connections, sharing information and ideas so that lots of highly-qualified individuals whom you respect reciprocate by having you on their radar when a new job lead matching your qualifications appears on their screens.

Remember the “Six Degrees of Separation?” In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the origin of this common phenomenon. He describes how a large number of individuals ultimately all got connected to one other person by just a very few, surprisingly connected individuals who provided a common link. He talks about how certain persons proved to be centers of communication because there are pivotal persons in any network of connected individuals who know a lot of other people.

In the context career planning and proactive career management, industry reports have shown that there are certain especially well-connected individuals who deserve a special value-position for being able to best make the critical connections to grow your career. They can introduce you to more of the people you need to know than if you randomly select someone and ask them to introduce you around their network. In other words, if you network purposefully with the “right” chosen individuals, those who are connected to others in your targeted network and explain your interests compellingly enough for them to want to assist you, then your network building efforts will pay off better than if you just happen to know a lot of people a little bit. Makes sense, doesn’t it? In other words, dig your well or build your networking foundation before you decide to be a job hunter. Decide in advance where you might need connections and purposefully begin the chain of introductions to get to know people at companies that might offer future employment opportunities.

How should you apply these keen networking insights to improve your potential job search results? First of all, recognize that to whom you tell you are looking for a job is as important as what you tell them. Effective networking has two main components: communicating your message clearly describing your value proposition to an employer, telling them in simple but incontrovertible terms what makes you unique, and communicating with those who will agree to help you get further connected. You should focus your efforts on those who will deliver for you by being generous suggesting additional introductions. Why? You want to be on the inside track, to be privy to restructurings and other events impacting organizations that produce new challenges needing new resources like yourself. Just remember that to be the fortunate recipient of great tips, you need to return the favor and pass the good news or other information along.

If you strategically, purposefully and proactively focus your networking on those who can offer you a job or know a lot of other people who can make you a job offer, then your job search is bound to progress forward more swiftly and successfully. Successful executives portion their time to networking activities in which the winners participate. By targeting your efforts in a narrow segment whether geographically or in terms of specialization, chances are improved for establishing multiple connections to individuals. Once there is a critical mass of individuals all knowing you and wanting to help, a faster and better campaign results.

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© 2009 Debra Feldman

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior-level executive job-search campaigns, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for cold calling, executed with high energy and savvy panache, connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Network Purposefully™ with the JobWhiz, and compress your job search into mere weeks, using groundbreaking techniques profiled in Forbes magazine. In addition to her private practice, writing featured columns and conducting exclusive workshops, Debra is a recommended resource to alumni of top-tier business schools. Contact Debra at www.jobwhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent.