Last week I attended a panel discussion of people (three men, two women) who had recently landed mid-to-higher level professional jobs. Here, in no particular order, are comments and advice from the panelists.
- Katherine’s story was noteworthy. Katherine wanted to continue her career in financial communications after a layoff. She read an article in the St. Louis Business Journal about a company that was acquiring a northern California firm. Katharine knew that communicating to shareholders about this acquisition would require a special set of knowledge and skills. She wrote the CEO of the acquiring company and suggested that she might be able to help. After their initial meeting, Katharine was offered some contract work. Three months later she was offered–and accepted–full-time employment. Wrapping up, she stated that when she wrote to the CEO there was: No job; No screening; No interview; and No competition!
- The most important factor and valuable use of the panelists’ time was connecting with others: for information gathering, generating referrals, and uncovering opportunities–networking. Not the job beggar, desperate “do you-know-of-any openings” humiliating and irritating version unlocking the hidden job market. But the “meet people, uncover opportunities, and help others” version of connecting with others.
- Resumes were far less important than a focused marketing/networking document containing three sections: Summary/Objective; Selected Achievements; and Industries/Companies you’re interested in. Several panelists advised against simply handing out resumes. One even commented that resumes stop the process of building connections with others.
- 6:30 to 8:00 A.M. is a good time to reach high-level people. Their assistants aren’t in yet.
These panelists landed jobs in difficult times. They invested time and energy. They ran into obstacles and hurdles, and they had days of worry and frustration. But through developing a focus and reaching out to others in a professional and dignified way, they found new employment. AND they are now ready to pay it forward.