Him: What will you be doing after you take early retirement?
Me: Hmmm…I’m not sure.
Him: You can’t just sit around watching TV all day. Really, what will you do?
Me: Maybe teaching…. maybe coaching?
Him: Just a minute…. (he runs off to grab his black book)
Him: (back with a business card) …. Call this guy. He’s the founder of a small graduate school and he’s looking for teachers.
Him is not a recruiter, headhunter, job matchmaker, or career coach — at least not officially.
Him is the airport massage guy.
The consummate networker. And a recruiter, headhunter, job matchmaker and career coach. Think about it. Who does he connect with every day? People who travel and need massages including (!) Road Warrior Executives and Managers, Movers and Shakers, Decision Makers. Yes, Hiring Managers. (!)
You can get leads like this, too. Just be sure to do these 3 things while networking on job search…
1. Be Open to talking about yourself and your goals
I was very lucky to have someone who was willing to pull it out of me. You can make the conversation so much easier if you know what you want to do and are comfortable talking about it.
If you’re stuck about what you want to do, get going on some self-analysis. Read and do the exercises in the article “Knowing What You Want So You Can Find It” from Susan P. Joyce’s (@JobHuntOrg) Job-Hunt.org site.
And don’t forget to ask your friends, they may see something in you that you don’t. Check out this story relayed by Jennifer V. Miller (@JenniferVMiller) — “Giving Career Advice: Helping Others See The Obvious.”
2. Give Them Something They Can Touch — Something Tangible So They Can Help You
When I blurted out “coaching” or “teaching”, things started to gel. It was specific and gave the airport massage guy something to connect with.
3. Stretch and Reach Out to Everyone
Don’t assume that you know who might be the consummate networker willing to give you some help. They may be disguised like the airport massage guy. That recruiter, headhunter, job matchmaker and career coach could be your doctor, neighbor, your kid’s friend’s parent, your hair stylist, your yoga teacher or personal trainer, etc.
Here are some more ideas (cool outside-of-the-box ideas!) regarding who you can reach out to and how you can reach out. Read “Take Your Search for A Job Offline” from the Wall Street Journal.
Networking: Giving Back & Giving Forward
Giving back and/or giving forward are key to your networking endeavors and this quote from Sir Winston Churchill couldn’t be a better reminder.
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
Not sure how to give back or forward? Taffy Williams (@twilli2861) tweeted this article with 10 great “giving back and giving forward” ideas ranging from being a matchmaker yourself to paying attention to status updates and offering to provide advice or do brainstorming with that someone you’ve noticed who has an issue or challenge to tackle. The article is titled: “How To Add Value to Your Network”.
Epilogue: What About the Jackalope?
That lead from the airport massage guy led to
- An apprenticeship with a highly rated entrepreneur/teacher at an innovative graduate school
- New friendships with smart and caring people
- Total respect for those who teach solely by the Socratic Method
- Gratefulness for those who took a chance on me that didn’t quite turn out (if you’re curious about this failure of sorts, please do ask me).
- And of course, much appreciation for the airport massage guy, who also happened to be the massage guy who came weekly to our Austin Technology Center for anyone who had a few minutes and a few dollars for a massage.
Although I didn’t have much of an opportunity to see him at the technology center, the massage guy would drop by my office to say “Hello”. There he would gaze longingly at my prized Jackalope, a gift from my management team. (Not as strange of a gift as you may think, after all I’m in Texas! There’s a fun back story here, but TMI for this one post. But, ask and I will tell!)
It dawned on me it was time for my Jackalope to go to a new home. I was happy to give away something that meant much to me to someone who “had my back”.
Note to The Airport Massage Guy:
Thank you, ES. I’m still thinking about you and your generosity and the positive impact it had and still has for me!! And I hope everyone comes out to enjoy your take-me-out-of-this-world chair massage at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Note to You (the readers of this post):
Please do #TakeThisMoment to share your networking story in the comments below. Your story could just be the encouragement that someone needs. And what a solid way of giving back and/or giving forward that would be!
As you go about your day today, please remember to…
#TakeThisMoment to make that connection and see life take a positive turn. ~ Jackie Yun