Monday, December 7, 2009

Job Search Extra Point | Don’t Hide From Your Network (Destination Unknown)

Recently, I attempted to pass on two leads to folks in my network (one for a job and another for a business opportunity). I was unable to connect with either of these missing persons – so the leads went elsewhere.  These two examples illustrate a cautionary tale of thee proper care and feeding of your network.

The Tale of Vendor Gal

In this first case, I made a call to a contact at a company my company partners with. The phone call went like this (the names have been changed to protect the bozos):

Receptionist Boy: {ABC Company}, this {Receptionist Boy} can I help you?

Me: Good morning! This {me} from {my company}. Is {Vendor Gal } there?

Receptionist: [Nervous paper shuffling, followed by a very awkward and pregnant pause] One moment, I will connect you

Me: [Aside to myself: Well I don’t know what happened, but I sure know {Vendor Gal} had a bad day recently]

Unknown Person: This is {Unknown Person}, can I help you?

Me: [Aside to myself:  Maybe if I say the same thing again, this person will have a clue]. Good morning! This {me} from {my company}. Is {Vendor Gal} there?

Unknown Person: [another pause] {Vendor Gal} is no longer with {ABC Company}. I can connect you to {Another Person at This Company I Never Heard Of} who handles your account

Me: Sound good [as I feel like I just pressed Google’s Feeling Lucky? button]

Another Person at This Company I Never Heard Of: [VMM answers] This is {Another Person at This Company I Never Heard Of}. I am currently away from the….

Me: [Click…the sound of one phone hanging up]

Two things to note here:

  1. If you have to lay off people at your company, I suggest maybe giving your receptionist person a script to follow (so I don’t have to endure two unnecessary phone transfers).  Be respectful to past and current employees as well as your customers
  2. I think I need a new vendor for this particular partnership

Given that last point (that I am never calling back there), I thought perhaps {Vendor Gal} might be able to help me out with her new employer.  Unfortunately, I only have her company email and cell phone number in my contact list, so I headed to Linked In.

Two things I found out:

1. She hadn’t updated her Linked In profile to reflect her new status (whatever that might be)

2. Her contact email was her business email (which I am sure she no longer receives, but instead it is routed to {Another Person at This Company I Never Heard Of} – and that won’t help me)

Needless to say – we didn’t connect (and she lost the opportunity).


The Ballad of Contract Programmer Boy

The other Glengarry lead I had was for an awesome contract development gig. I instantly thought of my former colleague, {Contract Programmer Boy}. I tried to reach him by the last cell I had (disconnected) and the last email I had for him (bounce back).

So – what to do?  Oh – I know!  I headed out to Linked In. I found the email address on his profile was not only older than the one I had for him – but it was his work email from many years ago at company that no longer exists.

Needless to say – we didn’t connect (and he lost he opportunity).

Destination Unknown

Given these two stories, I’d like to pass on a helpful tip. Are you listening? Come a little closer, I’ll whisper it your ear. Ready? Here it is: IF I CAN’T FIND YOU – I CAN’T HELP YOU!

Said another way:

  • You (hopefully) spent some time and effort building your network, don’t hide from it when you need it most
  • As you make a transition in your career (voluntary or compulsory), make sure to let your network know where you are and what you are doing
  • If you have a Linked In account, make sure you update it when you switch jobs (or as soon as you legally can if there are non-compete or severance stipulations). And ALWAYS use your personal email address. Never use your work email.

Or if you prefer, we can sing my advice:

life is so strange (Destination Unknown),
When you don't know (your destination),
Something could change (it's unknown),
And then you won't know (Destination Unknown)

p.s.  Vendor Gal and Contract Programmer Boy, if you think this post is about you, send me an email and let’s reconnect.

No comments: