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NETWORKING (PROFESSIONAL FRIENDSHIP DEVELOPMENT) IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK
    Photo of Don Sutaria
July/August 2011
 
 
 
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

Article of the Month
In this issue we present an article, Networking (Professional Friendship Development) Is Easier Than You Think. We believe you will enjoy it and simultaneously gain a new perspective on networking.

Job Search During the Summer—A Gentle Reminder
Lest we forget, please do not slow down in your job hunt and networking during the summer months. If anything, accelerate your search! Note that other job hunters have temporarily dropped out of the race for two months which gives you a statistical advantage to win or bag your trophy—a desirable job.

Contrary to what the world thinks, my opinion, which bears out in practice, is this: Executives in positions with power to hire you are generally traveling less during this period. A summer spirit prevails, and there is a greater mood of receptivity, courtesy and charity. Managers have more time to talk with you and are relaxed. The seeds you have sown in July and August may bear fruit in September. You may surprise yourself by being delivered a belated summer gift—a new job—in the size, style and color you always wanted!

What an Outrage—Longtime Job Seekers Need Not Apply (Elizabeth Pope)
In last month's CareerQuest's newsletter, we had made a mention that the long-term unemployed but highly qualified people are considered 'damaged goods', and job advertisements ask the unemployed not to apply.

Elizabeth Pope, writing in the AARP.org bulletin of June 2011, says:


            
  • These days, it seems, you may need a job to get a job.
  • Excluding the unemployed from hiring is becoming increasingly common. That's the harsh truth facing older job seekers, who as of April were out of work for 53.6 weeks.
  • Job listings spotted on Monster, Careerbuilder and other websites flatly state that applicants should be currently employed. Some ads go further and say, "No unemployed will be considered."
  • While no official statistics exist, the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a Washington-based non-profit, found 60 such job postings in April across all industries.
  • Job experts say online listings are the most flagrant evidence of such bias.
  • Weeding out resumes from the unemployed saves time for overwhelmed human resources departments.
  • Employers often assume jobless workers were laid off for performance problems, or their skills and contacts may be out of date.
  • The unemployed are not a protected class under U.S. law, so discrimination is not illegal.
  • New Jersey recently became the first state to ban discriminatory language in online or print job postings.
  • Just because you ban the language, doesn't mean you ban discriminatory practices, says NELP.

(Editorial Comments: In my career counseling and career coaching practice, I have found for almost three decades, that most people in the 40-plus age category, have found jobs primarily through effective networking. All the more reason to take networking seriously! - Don Sutaria) .

Book Endorsements
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Eleven reviews give the book a 5-star rating, and four have a 4-star rating.

The latest review of June 30, 2011, has this to say:

Skills Brush Up!
    Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
"With today's ever-changing society, we all need to keep abreast of our education, job skills, professional appearance, attitude and effective communication abilities. In his book, Career and Life Counseling from the Heart, Don Sutaria gives young and old insight along with inspiration to sharpen one's career focus. Mr. Sutaria does this with a sense of humor which makes new direction(s) a fun and fascinating adventure!"
Eileen Hegel
Founder: Higherways.com
Author: Our Garden Room: 365 Days of Nourishment for Your Soul

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:
"Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."
We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

This book has been nicknamed as Chicken Soup for Your Career! Take a peek inside this book at Amazon.com before you decide to buy it. It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.

Your feedback is always appreciated, and we respond to every single comment. Keep it coming!

Enjoy the summer, and until we meet again through the magic of e-mail,

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach
CareerQuest


 
  Networking (Professional Friendship Development) Is Easier Than You Think  
  by Don Sutaria

This article is dedicated to the fine authors who have taught me a lot regarding networking. They are Tom Jackson & Davidyne Mayleas (The Hidden Job Market), Harvey Mackay (Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty), and Michelle Tullier (Networking for Job Search and Career Success).

A New Definition

Most people seem to cringe these days when a mention is made of the overused term networking. About ten years ago I changed the color of this horse in my mind. I now call it Professional Friendship Development (PFD), not to be confused with the term Process Flow Diagram, a term commonly used by engineers and computer programmers.

If you think that the purpose of PFD is for yours truly (I, myself and me) to get a job, you are sadly mistaken. PFD is a two-way street. It is not all "take, take, take," but also "give, give, give." We are supposed to share the information and resources. Even if you are on the receiving end of the favors in some cases, never forget to volunteer your help in some suitable area, now or in the future.

The cardinal rule to observe here is that every human being we come into contact with daily in our lives is capable of helping us and we are capable of helping them.

True Stories

A despondent young college graduate, who had recently lost his job, was having a haircut. He told the barber about his predicament. The barber suggested that he contact the kindly township mayor, who frequently came to the salon for a haircut. The young man contacted the mayor, who referred him to a friend who was director of community relations for a large pharmaceutical company. One thing led to another and the man is now employed in the marketing department of that company. The young man is also a musician. He volunteered to give a few free lessons to the mayor's daughter who was a senior in high school. Due to this extra professional coaching, the mayor's daughter was able to obtain a scholarship at a noted school of music.

During a flight from Chicago to Newark, an engineer in his 30's helped and accommodated a slightly older man to his seat, carrying some bundles of blueprints. In the course of in-flight conversation, the older man, who was a director of engineering for a food processing company, let the young passenger know that he was looking for a project engineer. The informal conversation that followed during the 90 minutes of the flight allowed the young engineer to sell himself for the job. The next day, at a meeting at the plant, the hiring process was complete.

The Cardinal Rule

The cardinal rule to observe here is that every human being we come into contact with daily in our lives is capable of helping us and we are capable of helping them. The playing field is level here and there is no such thing as a person being above or below our station in life. No person is an island and we are all interdependent. We need to reciprocate and share and nurture our professional friendships. Everybody has contacts but we fail to recognize them. Life would be impossible without contacts, to be sure. Our existing contact network may not contain decision-makers in our career field. But they can lead you to other contacts, who can direct you towards your goals. May I offer a mind-jogging exercise for a starting point? How about past associates, former employers, professional associations, friends, relatives, neighbors, business owners, salespeople, consultants, bankers, lawyers, accountants, school friends, college friends, doctors, dentists, insurance agents, real estate agents, clergy, civic leaders, politicians, club members, sports leagues, parent-teacher associations, fellow travelers, casual acquaintances, and on and on. The possibilities are endless, based on our imagination.

Networking        
Professional Friendship Development helps you uncover the hidden job market. 70%-90% of the present jobs at higher levels are obtained through contacts. We instinctively ask neighbors to recommend doctors, dentists and automobile mechanics when we move to a new neighborhood. We just don't pick them out of the Yellow Pages. Let's use the same principles in our job search. The more we practice this skill, the easier it gets. The network replaces the weakness of the individual with the strength of the group. Ultimately, it is not how many people you know that counts, but how many you have helped and know you well enough to recommend you. PFD is not just a tool to advance your career and those of others, but also an essential skill to hang on to your desk during these turbulent times.

The Fallacy

It is a fallacy to think that PFD is only for extroverted people. It is a skill, which can be learned with practice, like swimming! You would call me absurd if I said that swimming, bicycling and walking is only for extroverts but not for introverts. It is the same with PFD.

I was a shy kid. My mother would tell me to be "pushy" (a British- English term) in social situations. What she meant was that I should circulate, greet people and talk with them. I finally understood it! Another myth that needs to be exploded about PFD is that one is too young or too old, too beautiful or too ugly, too short or too tall, too thin or too fat, too white or too black, too rich or too poor... and so the beat goes on! You get my point! What's love got to do with it?

Michelle Tullier, in her excellent book, Networking for Job Search and Career Success, an updated edition of Networking for Everyone!, talks about four goals which PFD can help you achieve. These are Career Choice, Job Search, Career Management, and Business Development. My personal philosophy of PFD is that whenever you see a homo sapien in any setting, you can always start with small talk, unless the person rebuffs you very badly and is not willing to talk with you at all. This face-to-face communication is my all-time favorite, because I am a visual person and I like to observe body language very closely.

If face-to-face meeting is impossible, connecting with our contacts through alternate methods such a letters, handwritten notes, telephone, e-mail and public speaking are perfectly acceptable. You alone can determine their effectiveness. Let's pause for a moment to examine why the conventional term "networking" has received a bad name. PFD should not degenerate into bothering, pestering, cornering or using people. It is not a game to collect the most business cards. Nor as we mentioned earlier, a selfish, one-sided, one-shot deal. If we forget basic manners, PFD turns into a sophisticated level of executive harassment, and no wonder people feel victimized. We also need to develop long-standing relationships with people before we ask them for something.

Tullier, in her book mentioned earlier, gives the following 25 networking/PFD tips for introverts:

  1. Take baby steps.
  2. Don't assume you're being a pest.
  3. Rely on your supporters.
  4. Get the competitive juices flowing.
  5. Rest on your laurels.
  6. Be a leader.
  7. Don't go it alone.
  8. Enlist a spokesperson.
  9. Don't underestimate the power of listening.
  10. Don't sweat the small talk.
  11. Like birds of a feather, flock together.
  12. Make the most of what you know.
  13. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
  14. Peel your eyes from that computer screen or book!
  15. Leave a brief message at the tone.
  16. Don't keep it to yourself.
  17. Attend events that have a purpose.
  18. Write often.
  19. Get out amongst them.
  20. Be positive.
  21. Consider seeking professional help.
  22. Be comfortable in your own skin.
  23. Remember that networking is as much a skill as it is an innate talent.
  24. Networking is like air.
  25. Just do it.

Uniqueness of Appreciation

The quickest way of showing appreciation to your contacts who have helped you is to write prompt and meaningful thank-you notes, including a statement of how you plan to follow through on their suggestions. That is the sincerest form of flattery. A small business gift is also appropriate in many circumstances, and they should not be very expensive. Flowers, plants, gift baskets, magazine subscriptions, etc. are in good taste. I would stay away from overly personal items but doing small favors is quite appropriate.

Another way of staying in touch is to remember birthdays and holidays. A unique way is to send Thanksgiving cards with a brief personal note inside, instead of Christmas cards, which tend to get lost in the holiday shuffle. This will put you ahead of the pack during the holiday season.

A word of caution about managing cross-cultural PFD relationships. There are major differences in world cultures regarding business and personal interactions. If you are not sure, read up on the issues or ask for appropriate advice from nationals. This may prevent you from doing irreparable damage to a relationship because of a cross-cultural faux pas.

Thank you note

The Bottom Line

PFD is not all peaches and cream. Be prepared for a few rejections. Don't internalize rejection. This is easier said than done! We need to view rejection as situational. Rejection is not because of a character flaw.

Let me quote an expert, Ellis Chase, a New York City-based career management consultant, executive coach, and my mentor and guru. Based on his experience, he suggests adopting a sales pose to deal with rejection.

He recommends that you "understand that people will occasionally treat you like dirt. Someone will stand you up, not return your call, or keep you waiting without an apology. You have to realize that it's not your problem, it's theirs. Adopt a sales pose and move on to the next step. Networking is partly a quantity issue."


 

Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).


 
 
Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
don@careerquestcentral.com     www.careerquestcentral.com     http://careerquestcentral.blogspot.com   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
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