4 keys to take charge of a group – networking

Networking?  It is leadership.  Some of the best connected network creators I know have never been managers, but they all have been leaders.

Seize Opportunity to take charge of a group

90% of opportunity is seized, 10% is granted.

So who decides where you go for lunch?  In a group of 10, 8 people will meekly suggest a restaurant, one person will call for a vote, and one will decide where to go without a vote. How does that one person get the whole group to follow her? 

  1. She makes decisions that are desired by other natural leaders of the group.
  2. She finds out who has a strong bias against her decision and deals with it.
  3. Occasionally she goes somewhere she doesn’t like, to please others.
  4. She pulls or pushes people out the door to get them moving.

It is not just a matter of having a strong personality.  It isn’t just being decisive or insistent. Seizing opportunity requires a decision you really care about, dealing with all opposition, and getting people moving.

To seize opportunity you have to care, move yourself and move others.


Something To Do Today

Take the lead or watch a leader take charge of a group.

Starting tomorrow I’ll be giving at least one suggestion each day for networking.

For a few days:           The first step towards leadership

How to network at the top.

Creating networks


I Really Saw A Crab Do What People Do

Our family had stopped for lunch on a pretty little beach in Hawaii.  A family was there fishing.  The father was throwing a net and had some crab pots out.  The kids were fishing with a stick and a hook.  They invited us to join them.

Eventually the crab pots were brought in.  There were 3 crabs in the pots.  The dad grabbed the crabs with his bare hands and plopped them in a bucket.  I was 9 years old at the time and I remember telling all the adults that those crabs were going to get out.  I was scared.  They showed me how a crab can grab a stick with those claws.

One crab did get part way out once.  An adult came over and knocked it back in.  Other than that once, it was never a problem. You see crabs won’t let another crab get above them.  They pull them back down into the bucket. 

As a recruiter I’ve interviewed a lot of people who are like those crabs.  They complain about how unfair things are.  I can get lists of offenses they have suffered at work.  I can also get ingenious methods of retaliation they used.  They concentrate more on what they want than how to help the business make a bigger profit.  They expect someone to appoint them to lead and for everyone to meekly do as they say. 

Frank Fox told me, “Leadership is 90% seized and 10% granted.”    I’d say opportunity is also 90% seized and 10% granted.  Networks?  90% seized and 10% granted.


Something To Do Today

Look at your work group, church, friends, etc.  Who always decides where the group is going for lunch?  Who picks what you are going to do?

Who decides where you will meet?  How do they seize that control?  Write down some thoughts in your job journal.


For a few days:      How to network at the top.

Creating networks

Seizing opportunities

How natural leaders do it even if they have no titles.


Who should you ask to help you in your job search?

I learned a lot about who are the most helpful and nicest people when I was a missionary.  The lesson applies directly to your job search.  Who should you ask for help?

Newly arrived as a missionary in Murcia, Spain I got to start teaching some of the richest people in the region.  It was not due to me.  My partner had been there for months and had started teaching one company president.  He introduced us to other hard charging business leaders.  Every single one of them was very nice to us.  They listened politely and either sent us off with a referral or heartfelt thanks for talking with them.

That was my first experience dealing with truly rich and powerful people.  I found out that the people who can do the most for you are generally the nicest too.  They help you even when they get nothing out of it.  In this case they thought we were wrong but appreciated our enthusiasm, so they gave us what assistance they could.  I liked it so much I looked for ways to call on business leaders in other cities.

In Seville, Spain there is a small group of condominiums that are pretty nice.  Many of them have a maid or a butler in a uniform straight out of the movies.  They have some money, but are not rich. They appear well to do.  They don’t lead or own companies.  They are the ones who think appearances and posturing will get them promotions.  Help someone lower than them?  What a laughable thought!  What’s in it for them?

The people living there are the rudest people I met in Spain. And you know what?  They aren’t going anywhere.  The only place you get to the top by being cut-throat, mean, rude and despicable is in the movies.  They got to where they were because many people helped them, but they had forgotten to help others.  They were stuck, living lives of ostentatious desperation.

That small enclave was the only place I met people like that in Spain.  My conclusion may well have been off base about those particular people.  However, I have noticed that the most helpful people rise to the top.  So guess where I start my networking? Where do I go for help? To the top.  That’s where the nicest people are.


Something To Do Today

Are you afraid to network with the people who can and will help you the most?

Tomorrow:  I really saw a crab do this!

Later: How to network at the top.


Are You Networking With Minnows?

You can learn a lot about networking by watching fish

Did you ever watch minnows?  They can be in a five gallon bucket or a 500 acre lake and they still have a 3 gallon comfort zone.  Sometimes they will be in a group with other minnows and explore a few more cubic feet of water.  The only thing that really gets them out of their comfort zone is a big hungry fish.  As soon as that big fish is gone, they go right back to their comfort zone.

Medium sized fish are no better.   Only one out of a hundred minnows grows up to be a middling sized fish.  They live in an area about 20 feet by 20 feet in size.  He defends that territory and refuses to leave unless a bigger fish chases him out.  It doesn’t matter if he is in a backyard pond or Lake Superior.  He lives in a 20’x 20’ area.

Forget the size of your personal pond.  How big of an area do you live in?  Is your influence limited by the size of the pond you are in….or by your comfort zone?

Now look at your job search.  Do the big fish scare you?  Do you stay away from them because you don’t think YOU are worth their time?

Big fish won’t eat you.  If you talk to someone too important, they won’t take your car from you.  If you ask a really important person for help they never send for an armed guard to drag you to the dungeon and beat you.

So why do you stay in your 3 gallons of water?  …or your 20’ x 20’ kingdom?


Something To Do Today

In your job journal write down the limits of your pond.  How big is the company where you work or last worked?  How many companies use people with your skills?  How many countries use people with your skills?  The size of your pond is limited by the number of places you would work and your skills, not the size of the department you are in.

Later:  The rudest people I met as a missionary.

and:   I really saw a crab do this!


What the 3 types of recruiters can do for you

There are three basic recruiting types. Knowing which one will help you the most is extremely important.  Go to the wrong one and you’ll get that nagging feeling that he is not on your side.

Mass marketers work with companies that need a lot of people.  They process candidates in a systematic way and send out resumes by the dozen.  They are great if you want a job where there are 10 or 100 people doing the same thing you are, like at a help desk or clerical job. I was talking to one mass marketer who said, “We always check references.  We hope no one remembers our candidates because that means the candidate didn’t cause any trouble.”  If you want a job without a lot of questions asked, look for a mass marketer.

Professional pickers find individuals for spots where 1 to 3 people are needed.  The pace is slower.  Personality and skills become a huge factor.  Programmers, accountants, managers and other jobs are often in this group. These guys will match your specific skills and background to the job.  You have to be willing to answer a lot of questions and go through several interviews.  The better you do in the interviews, the better you will be paid. But you have to find the right professional picker.  You have to find one that specializes in guys just like you. Send them your resume.

Boutique elite recruiters are looking for top jobs.  They are headhunters. They hunt their quarry one person at a time.  The find presidents, CFO’s, CIO’s, plant managers and very high level engineers. They find you.  Put your name and reputation out on LinkedIn and publish a few articles in online forums if you want to attract their attention. If a headhunter calls you, remember that they generally talk to 50-100 qualified people for every opening they fill. So, expect to be contacted by several of them before one finds you a job.

Think about the type of job you want.  You need to make sure your recruiter is at the right level.  Ask your recruiter how many people they have placed in the job you want in the past year.  Ask them why you should let them represent you.

Control your job search.  Evaluate the people who offer to help you. More on that soon.


Something To Do Today

Take control of your job search.  Let any recruiter who offers to help be a helper.  You keep searching yourself and control your search by requiring feedback.


Is that recruiter lying to you? How to tell.

Have you ever talked to a recruiter and had the hair on the back of your neck stand up?  …the feeling that you are being lied to?  …the nagging doubt about his sincerity?  …the dread that you are making a big mistake?

You were right!  Listen to your feelings.

Why recruiters lie

Not because their lips are moving.

Recruiters want to be liked.  They wish they could help everyone.  They can’t.  They lie.

What you should do

Whenever you talk to a recruiter you should ask tough questions about what he will do for you.  If he won’t commit to submitting you for a specific job, he won’t.  He may get lucky and a job will come in the next day, but you should not bet on it.  Find another recruiter, and another.

If a recruiter asks you to allow her to market your resume without your looking for a job, ask for weekly progress reports. Don’t let a recruiter stop your job search unless she is getting you interviews.  If she is not making progress, tell her you are going to take back the job search and do it yourself, but she is welcome to continue co-marketing you..

You are in charge of your job search. You have to know your resume is being submitted or do it yourself.  A recruiter asking for time to exclusively market you should report back and get results.  Take charge.


Something To Do Today

List all the recruiters you are working with.  Rate them.  Who do you trust?  Who is getting you interviews.

Tomorrow:  3 types of recruiters


What if there are 6 ads and you really want the job?

You see 6 ads for one job you really want.  It is so good you would quit you’re your current job just to apply.  What do you do?

High Priority Jobs

Getting your resume into the hiring manager’s hands is your quest.

First gather information. 

Is there anything that makes you think the writer of one of the ads knows the hiring manager personally?

Check the date on all those ads.  When were they posted?  What day did they appear?  List when the company and each agency first advertised.  Did an agency advertise before the company itself?  They may have a close tie to the hiring manager.  Have the ads been going on for months?  The company is either getting a little desperate, has decided not to fill the job, or the job is full but recruiters haven’t bothered to pull the ads yet because they are still getting lots of calls.

How are the ads different?   Does one include a lot more in-depth information?  Is another extremely short?  Look closely.  Do any of them make you feel like the writer talked to the manager?  You want to talk to someone who has the hiring manager’s ear.

Second work your network.

Call the people you know at the company, or invite them out to lunch.  Call up recent employees. Connect on LinkedIn to everyone at the company you can.

What can you find out about the job?  Is there someone who can personally take your resume to the hiring manager?  How about to the hiring manager’s boss?  This is still the research phase.  Don’t give anyone your resume yet.  You only get to submit it once.

Is there a recruiter you trust?  Find out what information they have.  If they can bypass HR (Human Resources) or have other great connections then work with them.  For instance, there is one company I work with that requires all recruiters to submit resumes through their online system.  But I call the HR manager and tell her when my candidates go in so she can immediately extract them.  She is afraid of missing a truly hot candidate.  Other people who submit themselves are first sorted through by the receptionist.

You really do have to quiz recruiters about their connections.  If you answer a particular ad when there are 6 ads out there, you have a right to ask why you should send a resume in through them.

Third decide how to apply.

If the job is not exciting, it doesn’t matter how you submit your resume.  Just do some quick cosmetic changes and submit it through an agency or the HR department.

For the job that really turns you on, figure out who should submit your resume.  For any company it could be you, a friend, a recruiter or an acquaintance.  Choose in this order:

  1. Someone who can hand your resume to the hiring manager and personally recommend you.  It doesn’t get any better.
  2. Whoever can get your resume past HR and talk to the manager.
  3. The person that can talk to the HR manager or screener and get you past the first cut.
  4. At this point all submissions really are equal. Do it yourself, have an employee there submit you to HR or let a recruiter you trust and who gets back with you do it.

Fourth get your resume perfect

Put the bullets on your resume in order of importance.  Put a few key words in bold to make sure the screener and manager sees them.  Get rid of bullets, lines and sentences that do not apply to the job!!  A two page resume is fine for most jobs, but the second page may never get read.

Do the 10 second test with several people.  Hand your resume to a few friends and ask them to read it for 10 seconds.  Time them.  Take it away in 10 seconds.  Ask what they remember.  Do they mention your most important qualifications and accomplishments? If they do, it’s a winner.  If not, change it.

The 10 second test is critical because most screeners and managers give all the resumes a 10 second review to try to find the best ones first.  They will probably throw out your resume without further reading if they can’t see what they want in that first 10 seconds.

Fifth submit and follow up

Submit your resume.  Call up and find out what happened two days later.  Did your resume arrive there?  Did the manager see it yet?  When will he decide?

You really want that job? After your two day follow up call send a thank you note. Give them a nudge, short and friendly.  It is amazing how a thank you note can get someone to personally try one more time for you.

Keep calling back at least weekly.  Sometimes it does take a couple of months to fill a job.  Keep your candidacy alive until it is pronounced dead by someone who knows.

Take Your Best Shot

If you really want a job.  Go all out.  There may be 100 applicants.  In some cases there may be 1000.  Use personal contacts to set yourself apart from the herd.  Make sure your resume instantly says, “I’m qualified.”  And follow up in case you somehow get missed.


Something To Do Today

Start prioritizing all the jobs you can apply for.  On your written list make sure the jobs you crave stand out.  Treat them differently.  It is worth the extra effort.

Next week:  Recruiters and the hair on the back of your neck.


What to do if there are Six Ads For One Job – part one

You see 3 job board ads with almost identical wording for a job in the same suburb.  You go online and find 3 social network ads that are almost identical from 3 more different companies.  It has to be one job, not 6 different ones. What do you do?

First decide how much you want the job, then give it the time it deserves.

You have to set your priorities first.   Would you quit your job just to apply for it?   Then it will be worth a few phone calls and some research.   Is it so marginal you would NOT quit your job if it paid 5% or 10% more than you are earning today?  Treat it differently.

Low Priority Jobs

Look at all the ads.  Are any by a recruiter you know and want to work with?  Give them a quick call.  Often you can get more information from a recruiter than from the company itself.  Ask them if you have a chance at the job.  Do you want the job?  Commit the recruiter to submitting you for the job.  Then call up in two days and ask what they have heard back.

If you can figure out who the primary employer is and don’t want to work with any recruiting agencies, just apply directly.  For low priority jobs it isn’t worth stressing out about whether an agency or a direct submission will work best.  Call the company in two days to see what happened.

High Priority Jobs

This is more involved.  We’ll talk about it tomorrow.


Something To Do Today

Look online and find a job with more than one ad. Figure out which ones are from agencies and which is from the actual hiring company.  Make this a habit.

Tomorrow:  Job Boards:  What if there are 6 ads for the same job? – part two


A resume if you are overqualified

Did you climb the corporate ladder and find it was leaning against the wrong wall?  Tired of 80 hour weeks or being in airports constantly?   Did you get a degree that makes it harder to get a job?  Do you want to go hunting more?  I know a lot of people who managed to get a huge responsibility (and pay) cut.

One essential thought: Your resume has one job….to get you an interview.  It is not a confessional booth.

If you are overqualified but want the job anyway, make a new resume.  Put in what you did that directly relates to the job.  Leave the rest out.  Get over your job wounds.  Your future boss doesn’t need to know your deepest sorrows.  You don’t have to say that you led a team of 40 people in your last job. You need to say what you did that applies.

What you think of as a job title is used by screeners and managers as a job summary.  In one or two words they see what you did.  Since that is how screeners and managers use it, so should you!  If your job title hurts you, then make an accurate title that helps. Describe what you do using your job summary (title).  When you fill out the job application right before an interview you can put your official title.  Never lie.  Don’t deceive.   Be accurate.  Use the “job title” spot as a summary in your resume. The manager reading it does.

Over-educated?  Choose from these resume options: a) no education section, b) an “Applicable Education” section, and c) put your advanced degrees under “Hobbies.”

You can get a job you are overqualified for.   Make sure you are honest in everything you say and present to an employer.  Then blow your new boss away with how well you do your new job.


Something To Do Today

Look at all the job titles on your resume.  Are they effective summaries of what you really did?  If not, change them.

Tomorrow:  Job Boards:  What if there are 6 ads for the same job?


Tricks To Get Past The Screeners

First of all, apply for every job you are qualified for.  It is impossible to tell if the job is real.  You may as well take 5 minutes and apply.

Did you notice I did NOT say take 15 seconds and apply?  Internet job boards let you send off a resume without thinking.  You can send off a hundred in an hour.  That just assures you of 100 failures.  If you take 5 minutes and send off an effective resume for each job, you’ll do better than if you spam every employer in your area.

Most resumes are screened out electronically for large companies.  Every company then uses a clerical screener to throw out 90% of the resumes that are left with only a 10 second glance.  The remaining resumes get a 45 second read through and often only 5 out 100 original resumes are seen by anyone outside of HR.

Machines only care about one thing….a perfect match.  You have to have every requirement.  Look at the job advertisement.  Does it have an acronym like “MS Word”?  Then have “MS Word” and “Microsoft Word” in your resume somewhere.  Does it ask for “PC experience”?  Then put the words “PC experience” somewhere.  You may want to put a “Technology Experience” section at the end of each job or the end of the resume.  You can put PowerPoint, Access, SAP A/R, Lawson GL and other cryptic requirements there.  The machine will find an exact match and you will get to the clerical screener.

The clerical screener really wants to throw out as many resumes as possible.  Every one he keeps means more work.  Look at the job listing.  What are they asking for?  Don’t bury your most important experience in a paragraph.

Screeners do not read paragraphs.  They read

  • The first 5 words in bullets and paragraphs.
  • The first 3 bullets only.
  • Job titles that are in bold type
  • Words that are in bold type.

They may read italicized words, but not as often as bold.  Warning:  Don’t camouflage your qualifications by bolding everything YOU think is important.  Only bold the things asked for in the ad.

Make sure a screener who doesn’t want to have to read your whole resume sees you match the job.


Something To Do Today

For every job you are applying for, create a resume that will get past the screeners.  Bullet and bold everything the job ad asks for.

Tomorrow:  Job Boards:  How to beat the internal candidate.