No, not mine!
When talking with folks searching for their next job, I always stress “old-school” networking – face-to-face conversations to get that next introduction, leverage the other person’s network, generate leads on positions, or introductions to more folks that might be able to help. I am definitely a fan, I know it’s a powerful tool – and I’m speaking from direct experience, it can be very effective. Of course, I am very aware of LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo, and the power of online professional networks – especially LinkedIn, a platform that is continuously innovating, with APIs and other on-line connections that can really empower your search. But you can’t rely solely on your electronic connections, especially if you are targeting higher management positions or Advisory / Board of Director roles. At the same time, you can’t rely on face-to-face connections alone – the process takes a good chunk of time.
A balanced approach, leveraging the strengths of both, is the way to go. Want some proof? In a recent conversation with a skilled networker, I asked how they are working their search process. What I got back was a methodical, data-enabled, proactive search that focused primarily on his personal professional network, augmented with research on LinkedIn – and barely a mention of sourcing job leads from corporate postings or job boards. And, he reported some very impressive statistics …
500 direct outbound e-mails (… Let’s reconnect; I’m looking + what can I do to help you?)
200 responses and follow up conversations (some email, some in person)
30 solid ideas (job leads or business ideas)
4 hot opportunities (any one of which would be a terrific next step)
And all in just 6 weeks!
Impressive response rates – but he was working his personal network, nurtured over the last 20+ years; a highly targeted / qualified list to start out with. And that is a core takeaway from this story – it’s extremely important to continuously build and feed your network right now – even if you are not actively looking. You never know when a serendipitous opportunity or interesting bit of information will appear – but if your information net is not always up, you will miss them.
It’s also a great way to keep the personal relationships going. And, when the time is right to start leveraging those relationships for yourself? Those search stats tell a pretty strong story – nice work!