It's about Networking and Professionalism

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With more than 4.2 million people looking for work and more joining the ranks every day, there are only two absolutes in the job search arena.  1) It is not what you know, it is who you know and, 2) a résumé never got any one an interview.  Networking and marketing are the key ingredients in today's career search.  So, when I am introduced to a new networking tool or job search web site, I visit and evaluate.

I use a couple of professional-social networks to communicate with my colleagues.  By far the best is LinkedIn.com.  It allows me to focus on my four areas of business interest: Human Resource management, politics, news and columnist freelance writing and post-secondary education. 

In less than six months with LinkedIn, I had won my first contract, the design and development of a negotiation-training program for LobbyingJobs.com.  While searching for my next contact and contract, I came across another interesting group, JobAngels.org.  They also show up on Twitter.com and Facebook.   My curiosity got the best of me.

JobAngels is a "grassroots" non-profit organization whose mission is to connect talented career professionals with those searching for work.  Unlike other job hunting sites, volunteers have been the key to the quick success of JobAngels. 
 
On the morning of January 29, 2009, JobAngel's president and head angel, Mark Stelzner's altruism was realized while eating breakfast and thinking about the economy.   He had been spending a bit of time on Twitter and had accumulated about 700 followers, a large percentage of whom are experts and professionals in the HR sector, and wondered, what if each of these followers helped just one person find a job? Could we actually make a difference? Here's the original Tweet:

"Was thinking that if each of us helped just 1 person find a job, we could start making a dent in unemployment. You game?"

As a Human Resource professional, college instructor and communication consultant, I have seen too many poorly managed job searches, especially ones designed by outplacement and job search firms.  How do I tell a person, whose personal esteem has been smashed by a multitude of rejection letters, or no contacts at all, that their résumé   is meant to put them in the rejection pile?  No matter how good your résumé   is, that is the bottom line.  Why not reduce the potential of rejection?

Volunteering my time and efforts, I offered to rewrite and edit JobAngels résumés pro-bono.  In today's economy, job seekers can use all the help they can get and getting past the first "cut" is so important.  And that is what I do, help people help themselves.

Within two days of my offer, I had five inquiries.  Not bad for one Tweet on Twitter. 

My first "client" was Regina Rainwater, a talented and award-winning editor and project manager from New York City.  With almost 1,100 miles between us, we would have never "met" if it were not for good networking. 

We have all seen bad résumés. Résumés with too much information, the wrong information or information that should never be seen on a résumé.  Professionally written résumés with information that makes no sense, printed on pastel colored paper.   Even hand written résumés.  Regina's "professionally" written résumé was two pages of fluff, ripe for any rejection pile.

Over the course of three days, four e-mails and some elbow grease, Regina's new résumé is one page of objectives, facts and accomplishments.  Her reaction to the rewrite was elation, "It contains a lot of information (in one page). Much better than what has been suggested by friends and others. So much better!"

There are four "Rosman Maxims" concerning the planning and execution of a career hunt.  First, your future employer only cares how you can make them money, save them money or save them time.  What you want is not even on the radar.

Second, a résumé will never get you the interview.  But a well written, documented and professional résumé will reduce the likely hood of being first on the rejection pile.

Third, "It you tell enough people what you want, you will eventually get it."  Network, network, network.   The idea that the majority of jobs are never advertised may or may not be true.  However, with many companies now looking for qualified professionals, the more people in the field who know you are available, the higher the likely hood you will hear about the opening.

Fourth, "SW/SW/SW/N."   This goes along with the "If at first you don't succeed" idea.  You are going to get rejection letters; that is a fact of life.  Yet another fact, many potential employers may never get back to you.  These are not personal rejections.  Just put a smile on your face and remember, "Some will.  Some won't.  So what. Next!"

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David Rosman is a award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Human Resources, Ethics, Business and Politics. David is also a featured columnist for the MissouriTribune.com, the Columbia Missourian and TRCB.com. He welcomes your comments.

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