If you have been following this blog post string for the past few weeks you know that this is the third in a series of blogs to help you start a proactive job research project. Why a research project? Well first of all a research project is something that you have done successfully many times in your life. Secondly a research project is one of the few ways to actually control the progress of your search. Lastly, if you already knew everything that you needed to know about the market and where you fit in it you would already be employed. So as we continue the series I want to focus on how to make it easier for people who are WILLING to help you understand what you are looking for in your next job.
Referrals to other people and companies is the goal of your networking meetings. It is important that you make it easy for people to understand the type of company or person that you are looking to talk with. Remember, they have probably never worked in your industry or in the type of job you are looking for. Helping them easily relate to your job search goal and targets is job #1. How do you know that you didn’t explain it well and have confused them? How many times have you heard from people, “Well, I can’t think of anyone for you to talk with right now but if I think of someone I will let you know.”? Wow…dead end. Why would they say that instead of trying to help?
Considering that each of these already WILLING people know 300 people that you don’t, this is an indicator that they had no idea what you were talking about. What are the chances that they know 300 people and they done’t know ANYONE that you could talk to about your search? Explaining the type of job you are looking for to someone who has never done that job comes down to comparing it to something they already are familiar with to use as a reference point.
In Wisconsin we eat brats…and lots of them. Can you imagine trying to explain a brat to someone that has never had one? “We take a pig’s intestines and shove low grade ground up meat and spices into it…it’s delicious!” How many people would choose to try a brat for the first time? Not many. What if we said this instead:
“A brat is just like a hot dog only bigger and spicier. Want to try one?”
My guess is that this person has eaten a hot dog at least once in their life and now can easily relate to this thing you are trying to explain to them. Because they have a point of reference that they understand and have accepted the slight change in size and kind of herbs involved is a short leap for them. How can you do that when explaining the job or company that you are looking for? How about these examples:
“The companies I am interested in talking to are just like Kimberly Clark but are on a much smaller scale.”
“A logistics manager is just like a person running their errands. They figure out how to get things from one place to another in the most efficient way.”
“A business manager is just like someone managing their own home. They manage the finances, identify important tasks and manage the resources to get them done.”
“The nonprofit organizations that I am looking to talk with are just like Goodwill but they are focused specifically on children’s health.”
I’m not sure if these are the best examples but I think you get the point. It is important to remember that if you start your research with people who are WILLING to help you, the only hurdle left is them understanding the type of person you would like to meet. At the very least this new description will get them to say: “Tell me more about that…”. That question shows that you now have their undivided attention and can make them ABLE to provide referrals to you. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
Please note: You have seen this method used by advertisers for years. Remember the old commercials comparing Pepsi to Coke? “Pepsi is just like Coke but it is sweeter and has more bubbles!” If it works for billion dollar companies, how about we give it a try?
“Be humble, be sincere, ask for help…”