Thursday, June 17, 2010

Job Hunting Suicide

When I was heading to college, a cousin of mine stuck his neck out and made contact with one of his friends from law school. He made arrangements for me to interview for an entry level File Clerk position when I arrived. At the time, I wasn’t interested in being a file clerk, and especially in a law firm. So I never called the guy, never went on that interview, never met those people, and worst of all, I damaged my cousins reputation and tarnished our last name.

I talk to people all the time about the importance of your personal network. You must understanding that your friends and family, who care about you most, will put you in the best position to find a new job. Back then, I made the mistake of not recognizing the value of that introduction.

I am compelled to write about this topic because I find myself on the other side of the equation now. I have a friend who is looking for a new job. She is in her mid 20’s and uncertain of her abilities. Her self-confidence has been broken a little. Regardless, she is extremely bright, has a great attitude, is coachable, and people love her.

A few weeks ago, I offered to help re-write her resume. We went through a small part of the process, and I gave her some examples of what a good, strong, professional resume should look and read like. I even gave her a copy of my own resume as a sample to follow. Then, just the other day, one of my clients opened up a position that would be absolutely perfect for her. The pay is twice what she made last year, and I have a very good relationship with the hiring manager.

Much to my surprise, when I approached my friend with this information, she was less than enthusiastic about it. I asked her to call so I could give her the description, and I never heard back. It seemed so easy to blow off my cousin when I was her age. Being on the other side, I can tell you it’s extremely painful to have the ability to help, and be willing to put in extra effort, just to watch as it all fizzles out. My friend is still looking for a job and not reaching out for help.  It is hard to hear her talk about how worried she is about her situation.

If you are looking for work, even if you are experiencing total despair, when a friend comes to you with an opportunity, get excited. And, if your friend is someone like me, a professional in the staffing industry, then  get really excited.  When a personal call comes over with a real opportunity, you need to be prepared to move quickly. The power of personal relationships is unbelievable, and can move you in either positive or negative directions. If you neglect the opportunities that come by way of your friends, then your friends will stop making the offer, and then you will be out in the market just like everyone else who has no more friends. Try finding a job then!

I am going to call my cousin and apologize now.

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