Job seekers wince at the notion of looking for a job by “networking.” They envision asking friends to help them find a job (awkward), going to networking events (back when we used to attend these), see the process as one best for extroverts, and more work (true, but it’s more fun than carpet-bombing the market with online job applications). And it’s a far more adventurous and productive way of getting that job you want.
Few have heard of this process, Strategic Conversations. With this approach, the job seekers do NOT sell themselves to anyone. That interferes with the process: The contact thinks you are asking for help getting a job. Instead, you engage others in your job search by only seeking their advice. When others become engaged, they:
· Learn your abilities and interests;
· Brainstorm with you, providing direction for both career and job;
· Think of needs for someone like you in their industry, organization, or in friends’ organizations;
· Try to come up with ways they can be helpful to you, on their own;
· Provide coaching in how to market yourself in their field;
· Provide the names of other contacts;
· Advocate for you if there is a need for you in their organizations, posted or not posted.
They do so willingly, because they do not feel obligated in any way to “find you a job.” All you’re asking for “Advice”. Anything after that is their idea.
You need a resume, but the Strategic Conversations approach makes the backward-looking resume secondary. Your conversations are looking forward. A document like a Handbill can help facilitate your Strategic Conversation.
Strategic Conversations are ideal for those concerned about age. When employers know you can help them address a business need, your age is irrelevant to them. This strategy is better for people who have broad capabilities more than narrow niches. And it gives you access to the hidden (i.e. not posted) job market, so you often have no competition.
The goal of Strategic Conversations is to get as many other people engaged as possible. When you’ve achieved that, you will find someone who needs your help (i.e., The Job).
- Jack Bigelow, CRC Advisor