This is a post about the employed elite. Those that you might call too comfortably employed to help others.
I hear stories all the time. Stories from job seekers who are struggling to network into a target company. They are qualified for the job. As are hundreds of others. Unfortunately they often meet up with the employed elite.
Of course there are some great working people out there who have learned the lesson of selfless networking. Perhaps they had a recent out of work experience or maybe they were just brought up in business that way. But, you know what?
There’s not enough of you.
And here’s my challenge. One that may have some uncomfortable with the characterization. But this world is experiencing hard times unlike any other period in recent history. In America and, in fact, throughout the world.
So . . .
Are You Among the Employed Elite? Are You Looking Down on Job Seekers?
If you do have a job, you may be part of this employed elite class. You may not think that you are, but you might be. Sorry, but when you are looking for work it feels like there is some elitism out there. Why else wouldn’t someone help me?
Now. If you are working (fully employed) and read this post. I’ll go where a lot of you are heading:
“Don’t hate me because I have a job”
“I work 12 hours a day. When do I have time to network?”
“Job seekers can be rude and expect too much!”
There are others reasons why people say they don’t or can’t help. You may want to add your own argument as a comment to this post. But to any/all of these reactions, I say B.S.
That’s a technical term for “I don’t buy it”. And I’m not saying that just because I think the above reactions are excuses. They are. Is there some truth in there? Of course!
So, whether you are a member of the employed elite or just employed, here’s how you can step up and provide support for a job seeker in need:
Join Networking Groups
Join a local networking group or Linkedin group and attend a monthly meeting. Your presence will be highly welcomed by job seekers. Why? You can meet and help people right then. Oh, and if a year from now you find yourself out of work, you will not be starting your own networking from scratch. Big bonus, that one.
Open Up Your Schedule
Make yourself open for weekly or monthly informational interviews. What does that mean? You allow a job seeker (veteran or college grad) to come learn about your company, industry or function. To sit with you for 30 minutes and ask you questions. In a no-pressure setting, you get to meet potential future employees and they get to learn about you.
Answer Your Phone
Answer the phone with a smile. Job seekers are already a bit nervous about calling. If you can answer the phone and spend 5 minutes with someone, they will be very thankful for a chance to touch base. If they start asking for too much, feel free to tell them so.
Be Open To Connecting on LinkedIn
Be open to Linkedin contacts. You don’t have to connect with them if you don’t want to, but if passed along by someone you trust . . . why not help?
Actively Help Others
Build a system for sharing job leads and keep your eyes open for a job that might be a good fit for those in your network that are actively looking. Especially if you are busy, this is a great way to help!
Now, I included a comment above that I hear from other employed folks. About job seekers being rude and asking for too much. OK, job seekers. Your job is to treat your networking contacts and those you wish to contact with respect and kindness.
Because there are many out there who tried to help and got burned in the process. And now are very careful as they decide who to help. I can understand that feeling.
Job seekers, as a group, you have to agree to the following job seekers networking pledge:
I, STATE YOUR NAME, agree to (1) treat networking contacts with respect, (2) say thank you, (3) take no more than a few minutes unless offered more, (4) not embellish a relationship that isn’t there, (5) ask before sharing the name and e-mail of a contact with others.
Because if networking becomes a free for all without rules, more and more working professionals will be forced into the employed elite class. A group they never intended to join. But, when pushed, walk through the open door.
At the end of the day, it feels great to help someone find a contact, learn about an industry, or (the ultimate) find a job. Because when you do, think about the people around that job seeker that you are supporting. Almost everyone I meet has a spouse, a few kids, a mortgage. That stuff pulls on you.
And if you can help? Go for it.
For job seekers: The 5 Keys To Successful Informational Interviews
Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: employed | employed elite | employment | Job Search | social networking
Categories: Career Networking