Times are challenging for countless people across the United States. Between lay-offs, pay cuts and businesses going bankrupt, a good number of individuals are pounding the pavement seeking employment. “Networking” often plays a key role in obtaining work, but in a recent article, it was suggested that Social Networking on sites like FaceBook and LinkedIn may not be the solution to rely upon when trying to find that dream job.
While these types of networking sites may serve to advertise your skills and abilities, and make you accessible to more people, most often these sites are considered to be more “social” than “business” resources. Also, while you may quickly expand your network to include hundreds of people; how many of these individuals can you really call “Friends?”
This week on the Today Show, Bob Beaudine, author of the book “The Power of Who” shared his thoughts on how to use your network, given today’s economy. He feels that most people are constantly looking to expand their pool of acquaintances and attending events in hopes of meeting individuals who can help them to obtain employment. He tells job-seekers they are all making a common mistake; waiting for individuals who may know OF you, but who don’t really personally KNOW you, to offer you an opportunity.
The likelihood of that happening is very small. Instead, Beaudine suggests that we should be asking those near and dear to us, who know us best-our friends-for help. Friends will in turn ask their friends for help on your behalf. After all, who better than a close friend can vouch for your character, your skills and your personality?
Beaudine stated that in our closest relationships we have all extended ourselves at some point to our friends, and that there comes a time when it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help back. The challenge lies in the fact that we are fearful of what our friends will think of us, and so we don’t ask those who could be of the MOST assistance for their help! He posed this question; “If your friend needed your help, and asked you to do something for him or her, would you do it?” The answer, of course, is “yes,” and yet people will not ask those closest to them for help in times of need.
Key to making this type of networking work for you, of course, is making friends and spending time socializing. If you don’t have many friends, you may want to think about developing and expanding this area of your life. Here’s your first assignment to get you in the practice of ASKING for help; Why not encourage the friends you do have to introduce you to some of their friends-ask them to invite a guest to your next social gathering. Better yet, build your own networking group based on mutual interests; sports, books, activities or common interests and passions. Remember what Bruce Alexander said in his interview (A PROFESSIONAL SPEAKS: BRUCE ALEXANDER, August, 2008) He stresses the importance of creating genuine friendships with people, rather than superficial acquaintances based on your hopes of securing a job.
Below is an Excerpt from Bob Beaudine’s Book:
Chapter One: Whatever I’m doing, it’s not working
Just as we aren’t born with all the skills we need, neither are we were born with a strategy for living. We learn about life by living it, by pushing out on life while life pushes back on us. This is how we create our own space. Old sayings are still around because they usually contain an element of truth. “Life begins at 40” is one we’ve all heard. It’s true because the first 20 years of your life is programmed and controlled by others. The next 20 years is often spent working out a lot of the stuff that was put in during the first 20. Somewhere around 40 you begin to take ownership of your life. It’s here that youthful dreams begin to reawaken.
It’s also here where you discover that some of your old strategies for living are going to need realignment if you’re to successfully pursue your dreams and goals. All our lives we’ve been told that if we work hard, keep our head down, and mind our P’s and Q’s, everything will eventually work out. Really? If that were true, then what happened to our dream? What I hear more often in my role as an executive recruiter is something like, “I’m no closer to my dream than I was yesterday. If anything, it feels even further away.
I feel stuck – stuck in a rut.” But there’s the paradox. My life is filled with so many good things already. I’m blessed. Sometimes I may even feel a little guilty about wanting something more. But that’s actually part of the problem. The things I’m blessed with are the very things that crowd out the dream. My life is filled to overflowing. I’m like an aircraft carrier with so much stuff on the deck there’s no room left for anything else to land. I know the dream is still out there, but it’s become a little fuzzy. It’s just not as clear. A lot of this stuff on my deck needs to be moved somewhere else or just tossed overboard. I sometimes find myself wondering, “Can I even get there from here anymore? Can I make enough money in my current job, which I don’t particularly like, so that I can start doing what I always wanted to do?”
The short answer is, “Probably not.” Here’s more bad news. Only a small percentage of people actually end up living their dream. You may have asked yourself on more than one occasion, “Why that person and not me?” I’ve heard that question asked many times over many years in countless interviews. Surprisingly, I’ve discovered that individuals who are willing to make even a few slight course corrections were able to alter the entire trajectory of their lives. At first a lot of these people thought they needed an extreme makeover, but the good news is that just a small change in strategy makes all the difference.