Tomorrow, I’m facilitating a ‘Networking’ session for professionals in career transition. Based on similar workshops I’ve run over the past few years, I anticipate that many of the people in the room would rather be elsewhere. They’ll be there because the majority of employment opportunities aren’t on SEEK, they’re ‘hidden’ – discovered through informal conversations with like-minded professionals, especially in a tight market-place.
I’ll spend the first half hour trying to get them comfortable with the concept. The thought of old fashioned press-the-flesh kind of ‘networking’ leaves them cold. I’ll soon spot the sales or business development manager. For them, networking is as cosy as ugg boots on a Melbourne winter’s night. Their confidence and success stories are always welcome, and can be contagious. A few reluctant debutantes will leave the session with more spring in their step.
But that won’t be before I tell them to forget ‘selling’ themselves and schmoozing cocktail-party style, and approach job search as a career due diligence exercise.
The process of acquiring objective and reliable information on a person or a company as required, especially before a commercial acquisition.
Many of them will have applied such skills in their day job, or researching a property purchase. The challenge will be to summon up some courage*, engage their curiosity, and apply the principles of due diligence during career transition.
As social media redefines networking, career due diligence via cafe conversations has been elevated to a new level. If you’re tackling a job search post-redundancy, or planning a career change, why not do yourself a favour and give it a go?
* From my experience, many introverts find this process confronting. For some great tips, I recommend Nancy Ancowitz’s book ‘Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide for Getting Ahead’.