Tag Archives: Networking

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!

Why people you barely know are better to network with

Your closest friends are less useful in a job search than people you barely know.

Anti-intuitive, but true.  Here’s why.

The people you know well are few in number, and may all work in only 2 or 3 different companies.  They all know about the same job openings.

There are a lot more people you barely know.  They are spread through a much more diverse set of companies and geographical areas.  There is a much better chance that the people you barely know will tell you about a job or company you didn’t know exists.

Some studies have been done on job hunting through strong and weak networks.  It turns out that people really do get better job leads from weak connections.

Moral of the story: Tell everyone you know, meet, and recognize about your job search.  You may just get a lead to an unbeatable job by talking to those folks you barely know.

Something To Do Today

Have you been spreading your job net as wide as you can?  Talk to people you barely know from an association, your church, a club, or your kid’s soccer league.  Tell them about your job search.  It may just work.

And, do talk to your close friends about your job search.


Later:                                  How many times…

A Korean attitude

7 tools inside the box. What’s wrong with thinking inside the box?

I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it. (Terry Pratchett)

7 tools inside the box 

I got an email that said, “I finally got a job networking.”

The job came from handing out lots of business cards.  Often you get lucky working inside the box.  The box is where the proven tools are stored.  It is where most jobs are found.  Sure, think outside the box.  It might work.  First, use all the tools in the box.

This is the box

  1. Look for a job while still employed, if you can.
  2. Concentrate most on the jobs and companies you want most.
  3. Use an accomplishment filled resume – it proves you can do the job.
  4. Get the credentials of an expert.
  5. Constantly network – let people know you are looking, follow up.
  6. Watch the job ads – internet and newspaper.
  7. Use recruiters and constantly follow up with them.

Are you using all the tools inside the box?

Something to do today

Concentrate on a different tool every day or every week of your job search.  It helps keep the hunt from getting boring.


How to wait for the next interview

Be a squeaky wheel

Get the credentials of an expert

What the smartest guy in the room does

A stupid person can make only certain, limited types of errors; the mistakes open to a clever fellow are far broader. But to the one who knows how smart he is compared to everyone else, the possibilities for true idiocy are boundless.  (Steven Brust)

The smartest guy in the room

Frank was a legend. Phil was a legend in his own mind.

Phil gave off an odor of conceit.  He would condescend to help others.  He had very important things to do. He promoted himself all the time. We got tired of hearing him talk about another project he finished.  That boy could talk, as long as the subject was himself.

Frank entered a room of 20 people and the collective IQ doubled.  He listened.  Frank tended to migrate towards the leaders and managers.  They also migrated towards him.  He talked and mingled happily with the rest of us.  He was friendly and helpful.  Frank used persuasion and experience to sway others.  He also told his bosses in private, on paper and in emails of what he had suggested, whom he helped and what he accomplished.  In other words he reported back on everything to his leaders.  He got credit where it counted.

Frank even got credit for helping me, a peon.  He kept track.  He let his boss know how many hours he spent helping others.  He kept track of the projects he assisted.  He reported it.

Phil bragged, strutted and annoyed.  Frank helped, improved, reported and got credit.

Are you Phil or Frank?  Or are you just afraid to let people know how much you do?  A lot of people know a Phil.  They don’t want to be a self centered, conceited, bragging laughing stock.  So they hide what they do.  They don’t become a Frank.  Frank was well respected by all.  He helped and accomplished, and got credit for it where it counts.

Report back to your boss.  Keep a job journal.  Know and show what you do.

Something to do today

Give your manager a report each week of all the things you get done.  He may not really know how useful you are.


Top articles from the archives while I take some Scouts into the woods

Humility and job suicide, there is a difference

What’s wrong with the box?

How to wait for the next interview

New job search tools in LinkedIn

LinkedIn has some tools you may not have seen or used.

First thing to do is to link to me on LinkedIn.  bryan@dilts.us

Then read this article.  Note that there are 7 pages to go through on the right hand column.

2 ways to exploit the good old boys network

My partner Karen was pointedly told, “We can’t use you as a recruiter.”  She went to the head of HR and said, “I was just told you can’t use me anymore.  Is that true?”  The answer was, “Of course we can still use you.  You bring us our best people.”

Karen was part of the good old boy network in several banks and other companies.  She knew who to call.  They knew they should call her when they have a particular problem.  Karen exploits them, and they exploit Karen. Actually, it is a case of mutual trust.

How to exploit the network

There are two ways to exploit the network.

1. Become part of it.

2. Get a couple of powerful players to trust you so you can use them.

By the way, number two is number one on a minor scale.

The way to exploit the network is to become part of it.  It isn’t a matter of becoming the chief string puller.  You need to discover two or three influencers and take them to lunch, help them out or get their help.  The manager 2 levels above you relies on the advice of a host of people.  Who does he rely on in cases you care about?  Which people have been able to shoot down your favorite projects?  Is there someone who always seems to be able to get a budget for little projects?  Those are people who are significant players in the good old boy network.  They can get things done. They have “juice.”

One more time: invite the folks in the network to lunch one at a time.  Do it after you have had a chance to compliment them about some project they got funded or finished on time.  Tell them you want to talk to them about how they did it.  Ask them to help you understand who influences projects like that. And if they don’t accept your invitation, be prepared to talk with them for a few more minutes about what THEY care about.  The invitation and the conversation are important, not the lunch.

Or you can help them out.  If they have a project, ask if you can help.  Volunteer to do research outside of work hours.  Do what you can. You can even ask them for help or an opinion on one of your projects.

Under capitalism, man exploits man.  Under communism it’s just the opposite. (John Kenneth Galbraith)

The way to exploit the good old boy network is to become a minor or major part of it. You can’t always do it, but it is worth trying.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to knife anyone in the back.  You have to be able to get things done.

Something to do today

Figure out who the “good old boys” are.  Ask them to help you with particular projects that will succeed.  Give them credit for their help.  Get a reputation for winning.

What the master of the good old boy network does

I wrote an ad for a perfect job networking guru a few years ago.

“I need to hire someone who knows how companies work.  He has to quickly figure out what really motivates people.  He has to walk into a room of executives and figure out which ones are the real decision makers, not just the ones with titles.  If he can’t figure out who the influencers and elephants are during a one hour group meeting, I don’t want him.”

That was one of the most difficult recruiting assignments I ever worked on.  That describes the perfect executive and the perfect salesperson.  The perfect team leader and assembly line worker can do the same thing. It really describes the master of the good old boy network.

The good old boy network is really a bunch of people, men and women, who have learned to trust each other.  They know what motivates the other people in the network.  They know the hidden agendas as well as the stated goals.  Some people want to be executives with a home life.  Others want to get away from their family as much as possible.  One guy wants money and another wants fame, a third just wants more people reporting to him.  Then there is the guy who wants most to be an influencer.

This ad hoc network offends many people.  It exists in most companies, even small ones. It is a major part of every industry and government. It is the groupings of people who rely on each other to really get things done.  The good old boy network is reality.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about some ways to exploit those good old boys.

Something to do today

The first step towards exploiting the good old boys is to recognize who they are. Get in the habit of asking people who put off a decision they should be able to make, “Who should we run this by before a final decision is made?”


Later: Exploit the good old boys

The money question

3 kinds of death

12 networking tips

Not only are jobs scarce these days, but those that do exist are highly competitive. Whether you are just entering the workforce and trying to land your first job, or whether you want to continue to successfully climb the ladder, successful job search networking can give you a leg up on your competitors.

This article explores 12 tips designed to help you become a more effective networker.

Job search networking and Christmas tree lights

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. (Jane Howard)

I plug in a string of Christmas tree lights and they shine.   The next set of lights plugs into that string, and they shine.  String by string I build the decorations for a tree, the outside of my home or a wedding reception.  If one string isn’t working, I replace it with another.  I won’t hurt the feelings of the string of lights that is not working.

Three things are relevant to your job search:

  1. You plug in strings of lights until you get the coverage you need.
  2. Just because the lights worked last year doesn’t mean they work this year.
  3. Replace the strings that aren’t working.

Your network needs to be big enough to get you a job.  Your network starts with your friends.  Ask each one, individually, for help. Next come your acquaintances.  Next are the people you work with or have worked with.  Finally come all the people you meet while job hunting.  For each one figure out exactly who they know at companies that might give you jobs.

There’s a time and place for everything.  The time to ask someone who is interviewing you about other jobs is when they have told you that you are not suited for their job.  They may tell you to apply for a different job in their company, or at a friend’s company.  Build your network until you have the coverage you need.

Last time you looked for a job, it may have been someone from the synagogue or the Elks Club who helped you find it.  Definitely try that approach again.  Keep asking people about who they know.  Don’t rely solely on that single group of people this time.  Be sure and expand your network.  Use all your contacts.

Sometimes people refuse to help or can’t help.  So what?  Go on.  Find the next network starting point.  Plug in that network.  Try another and another.  Don’t let one person’s refusal stop you.  For example:  Our recruiting agency refuses to help half the people who contact us.  That just means you contacted the wrong agency.  We have a narrow focus on banking, accounting, computers and sales.  We just couldn’t help the two rocket scientists who applied for a job over the years.

You need to plug in enough networks to show a bunch of jobs to apply for.  It is hard work for most people.  It also pays great dividends.  It helps you get into that huge pool of jobs that are never advertised anywhere.

Something To Do Today

Make a list of companies you would like to work for.


Tomorrow:     Spaghetti networking

Later:              Calls to companies

Intelligent use of recruiters

Get famous, get a job

Sneaky no good cops set a trap for me

Cowardice in job seeking

A 5000 email resume spam campaign may get you a job.  That’s why there are people who will legitimately mail, email or fax your resume to a boatload of recruiters.  If you want to spend the money on it, go ahead.

Putting your resume on a hundred job boards may get you a job.  On my blog sites I have a link to Resume Rabbit, who will do it.  If you want to spend the money, go ahead.

How to REALLY get a great job is personal contact. Here’s why: if I put an ad in the paper or on a job board, 50 to 1000 job seekers will reply.  Most of those will be unqualified for the job.  Basically, I have to wade through spam to get a few gems. Similarly, last week the same resume was sent to me 5 times.  It was from a guy in Texas who tries to hide where he is from so I will call him with a job “anywhere in the US”.  It is spam.  I delete a lot of spammed resumes.  I call 1 out of 50 of them.

The people who get my attention every time are:
1. Recommended to me by their friends, or
2. Call me personally and introduce themselves, or
3. Are recruited by me when I call them directly at their jobs.

All three are guts and glory ways of contacting someone.  Getting a friend to recommend you or calling yourself is a very high risk and high reward way of looking for a job.  Sending an email or applying online is a no risk and very low reward way of looking for a job.

Cowardice is too strong of a word, but an effective one.  Email is not cowardly, it is just the least effective avenue of attack you have.

Personal calls and recommendations from friends are the most effective way to get that job you really want.  Hiring managers insulate themselves from job hunters so they aren’t bothered by unqualified and ill prepared job seekers.  If you are absolutely qualified and prepared why not use the absolutely most effective job hunting techniques you can?

Do a search for “networking” on my blog site archives.  I have written a lot of articles on how you can find the people you need to contact.  Look for a title that includes “networking”.
The easiest way, however, is just to call the company.  Ask, “Who is in charge of US sales?” or, “Who is the head of computer programming?”, or “Which VP runs commercial lending?”  Then call that person and ask them what you can do for them.  Say, “I’m Jim Tarrington.  At my company I report to the guy who does your job.  I’m looking for a job.  Is there a place I would fit into your group?”  Then listen.

Try a high contact, high risk, and high reward way to job search.  Give it a shot.

Something To Do Today

Which 3 companies would you most like to work for?  Or, which 3 advertised jobs do you want the most?  Get a friend to recommend you, or call in yourself.