What I’m Learning on the Job Hunt Part 3: Creating a Web

So this is the final part of my job hunting series (unless I decide to add to it, of course).  Feel free to refer back to Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them.  I’m really hoping to start a dialogue about successful job searching.

Networking is important, but I hate it.  I love meeting new people when it’s for the sake of meeting new people.  I also like meeting new people when I’m the one helping or doing a favor.  In general, I feel like networking has a phony/sell-yourself twist that feels disingenuous to me.  Plenty of people have told me I’m crazy for feeling that way but I’m going to pull the counselor card and tell you not to tell me how to feel.

That being said, I’ve had to get over it, and the more networking meetings I’ve had, the better I feel about it.  I’ve had to shift my thinking from: “I have to talk about how great I am and sell myself and ugh this is going to be awkward” to “I get to meet someone new who’s doing great things in this community.”  That shift in mindset has done wonders for my efforts to meet more people – which is good, because at nearly each networking meeting, I’m referred to 3-5 more people I should be talking to, which leads to more meetings.

I started to get more overwhelmed with how many people I had met or was told to meet and was having trouble remembering who had referred me to whom… etc.  So, I created a visual aid of my contacts and color coated it, and I love it.  Want to see?

I’m a systems girl, so, of course I’m loving watching this web take shape.  It’s almost another way to make my job search “me”

Talk to me about networking: What works, what doesn’t work?  What do you love and hate about networking?  Did I miss anything else about the job search that I should be learning or thinking about?

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6 thoughts on “What I’m Learning on the Job Hunt Part 3: Creating a Web

  1. Allison – I love that you are so honest about your search and where it has led you – It’s inspiring – even for the employed…My husband is getting ready to embark on an interview next week…his first since landing his job out of college – so I can personally feel some of your anxiety as I know what he is going through…

    My intial thoughts are this: I was glad to see that networking was finally included in your dialog. Let’s face it – most jobs are gotten through connections. It’s just a fact. That said, I can undestand 1. that it’s exceedingly hard when you are in a new town with not so many connections and 2. a resume for skills such as those of a social worker does not always clue you in to the person behind the skills. And what I mean by that is, it’s hard to really tell the story of compassion, talent, strength, etc. on paper.

    I wonder if there is a way for you to network that is less meeting, and more doing – something that I believe (even in the short time I’ve known you) you are good at. What I am suggesting is perhaps there is a place – children’s crisis center, hospital, community organization, etc. that might be able to benefit from your skills on a volunteer or interim basis allowing you to make new connections that can see the talent you have in real time.

    It’s a tough thing because I like anyone else would not want to “give away” the skills and services that you have studied for, taken out loans for and formerly were paid for….but it might be a way to lend meaning to networking and making a difference, which I know you are keen to do…

    Know that you are in my prayers – I have been praying about Jamie’s job situation and simply ask that the Lord guide him in the search to where he is supposed to be. I firmly believe that God has a plan – sometimes we get it – sometimes we don’t – I have seen it in my own professional career…the path may not be clear now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not planned.

    Don’t know if that helps…

    Amber

    1. Good thoughts, Amber. Thanks for taking the time to write out some encouragement and really good suggestions. You’re absolutely right about networking while volunteering being a really effective form of networking. I’ve had a number of people suggest that I do this, and it’s the next step that I need to take. Thanks for suggesting it! I’ll be praying for your husband, as well! Be sure to keep me posted.

  2. The web is AWESOME. Loved your series!! I think you will be a great help to others in the future after having learned all of this.

  3. Allison – I have enjoyed reading your blog and admire your courage in putting yourself out there saying the things that many of us have thought and done.

    During the winter of my unemployment (apologies to John Steinbeck) I really disliked my weekly networking meetings. I had very similar feelings – that I was just there to use others and that they were doing the same to me.

    What helped me push through was to focus on providing contacts and job leads to the others in the group without expecting anything in return. I tried to keep the focus on helping others to develop their personal marketing plan, providing feedback on elevator pitches and participating in mock interviews. Unexpectedly I found my self-esteem, motivation and job marketing skills improving the more I engaged in networking. For me it was in letting go of it being all about me and focusing on others that made the ache of unemployment hurt a little less.

    My advice to others going through unemployment is to use all the tools available to you, focus on how you can help others, approach job hunting as if it were a paying dream job and don’t dismiss even the dimmest possibility. Sometimes it seems as if God loves to use the road less traveled by (if I can mess with Steinbeck why not Frost). God provided my job through Monster in an industry where I had zero experience.

    To everyone who is looking for work you are not alone, there are many people praying for the great new job God is preparing for you.

    1. Thanks for the good thoughts, Gregg. What a great way to look at this job search; it’s a way to help others. Who wouldn’t feel good about that? It’s so easy to get focused on oneself through this process. Thanks for the insight and then encouragement to me and others who are searching for jobs! Great discussions, folks, thanks!

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