In Day 1, I introduced myself and my situation. In Day 2, I covered some of the mental turmoil that accompanies leaving a job, as well as my rough job search project plan and my targeted industries. Today I want to note some great networking opportunities I’ve found, how networking landed my first interviews and the results of those interviews. I also want to share a tip about resumes that I learned early in my career that has proved so beneficial that I have been sharing it with everyone in and out of my sphere of influence.
I am still a novice at networking, but one thing I have done through the years is kept almost every business card and a hard copy of every team phone list I’ve ever received. A few months ago I also started using LinkedIn, a professional networking system and have slowly been adding contacts. There are other professional networking systems out there – alumni, corporate, communities, and more. Some people use several, but I’ve heard that most people tend to keep to one primary system for simplicity. Also, I personally do not use any of the social networking systems, such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube since they do not have the features, security and to be honest, the professional appearance that I want for my professional business needs.
Here’s a quick survey for you:
? What networking systems do you use?
? Do you use more than one?
? About how much time do you spend per month maintaining your network?
Please share your answers by posting a Comment.
I have learned that the care and feeding of your network is on-going. If you don’t maintain it, its value is near zero when you actually need it. For example, if someone habitually only calls you when they need something, like say, when they’re moving furniture, then you’re less likely to look forward to their next call. However, if that same person called you every three to six months just to say hi, pass on a great article, or even helped you land a new client, then you are far more interested in talking to them, and of course helping them. I personally let all my networking contacts know that I will honestly try to help them if they ever need me – and then I follow up on that promise with action. For example, with recruiters’ calls, I usually e-mail a reply back to the recruiter, and blind copy my potentially interested network friends so they can decide if and how they want to respond.
I’ve previously noted that I have already created resume accounts in several executive career sites, as well as in Military.com, MilitaryHire.com, OperationHeroForHire.com and several of the largest military contractors’ direct hire websites. I like MilitaryHire.com’s site because it shows you what firms actually looked at your resume, including links back to their job listings. And, Military.com has a great networking resource I discovered just last week designed specifically for military veterans called the Veteran Career Network. Another great site I’ve found for information on and vacancies in all our federal intelligence organizations is Intelligence.gov.
Between all my networking systems — including good ol’-fashioned phone calls, mail, e-mail and live meetings — I have contacted over 175 people in the past 3 weeks, and I still have many more than that to go. That effort has paid off: two of my contacts panned out almost immediately.
The first was from Jeff Schwarm, a long time friend on our community’s police force. I bumped into him while grocery shopping (as a matter of fact, yes, we just happened to meet in the beer aisle, in passing of course). He gave me a great lead on a military contractor, and I have had three interviews with that firm so far. The other lead came from Joanna Sobran, a friend who founded MXO Technologies, a consulting and placements firm. We have helped each other with business, leads and contacts through the years, so when I called she immediately had some ideas, and I’ve had one solid interview from her so far. And from my other networking sources, I would estimate that I have at least a dozen other good to very good prospective positions and opportunities in varying stages of entry.
I’ve heard it put many ways – multiple income sources, keeping lots of pans in the fire, success is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration, cast a wide net towards your desire, always have a Plan B … and C and D, etc – all amounting to the same thing; reaching your goals requires flexibility and planning, and lots of hard work.
To wrap up for today, here’s my big career tip: Keep two resumes. I am not referring here to the general and the specific resumes that most career counselors and recruiters tell you to have. Rather, my two resumes refer to your public resume and your private resume. The public resume is the one that most people think of, where you provide a summary of your positions and key skills. I tweak this resume for each position I apply to. The private resume is highly detailed. It’s almost like a career diary. This latter document is never to be used publicly, since it thoroughly details EVERYTHING about every job and project you’ve had in your career. Seriously – ALL of your jobs, clients, projects (names, goals, results, statistics), teams, assignments, technologies, methodologies, skills, internal and external classes, training, seminars, conferences, awards, certifications, recognitions, bosses’ & team leaders’ names and contact info, dates, salaries, quotes (e.g. from one of my references: “Division President noted to Board that ‘(he’s) never seen anyone in (his) 25+ years learn this industry as fast as (I) did’”), etc. Details are the key to this document.
I know you’re asking yourself, why would anyone put that much effort and detail into something that would not be used. I’m glad you asked. You need all that detail so that you can prepare for interviews and networking conversations, allowing you to provide detailed accounts of each and every one of your accomplishments, projects, etc. Over time those details will be lost to you unless you maintain a private resume like this. And for goodness sake, make backup copies of it!! Trust me on this one point if on nothing else: The value of this document grows exponentially over time since it allows you to pull up detailed examples and memory refreshers for application questions, project examples, and interviews. Mine is nearly 15 pages long now, and I have wished many, many times that I had kept more details.
In my next entries I intend to note the kinds of things I do when I’m in “mission mode,” and the differences between corporate and federal job searches.
Don’t forget to reply back with Comments on my survey above on networking systems.
Thank you for your time, and your ideas and comments so far. Keep them coming.