Using passive networking in your job search

Pounding the Pavement

I haven’t been out here for over six years and it didn’t take long for me to recognize why I hate it. Everyone’s an expert, and groveling is an art form, an art that I suck at. Looking for a job ranks right up there with puking after ingesting a bad Chinese meal.

As job seekers, we are constantly reminded of what we can and can’t do or say, how to dress, what not to place on our resume, when to use a referral, etc., etc. Employers are not held to the same standard. Here are some of my favorites to date from interviewers:

  • “You’re from the South?! You speak pretty good English!”
  • “You know when I lived in the South, they taught the American Revolution differently. Yea, in New England when I was a kid, we learned about the Boston Tea Party, Washington crossing the Delaware, and stuff like that. You people down South think the revolution only happened in South Carolina.”
  • In a second interview with the same person, “You know, there’s another Tom Feary at Adelphia. Do you know him?”

The new big one for me is networking – tapping the hidden job market. Recently I took a class and learned how to network from another seeker passively: “A guy left our company, then out of the blue two years later he called and offered me a position,” a student shared. “Yea, that’s passive networking,” the instructor pointed out.

Well, I’m excellent at passive networking. I’ve taken Jason Campbell to the Super Bowl in Madden football. I’ve written six training sessions for my U12 soccer team. I’ve cooked about a dozen kick-ass meals (future blogs will include recipes and pictures). I’ve taken my kids to their dentist, eye, vaccinations, and every other pre-school prep appointment. I got drunk a couple of times. But I don’t think it works because that damn guy that left the company two years ago still hasn’t called me with the job I need.

I am learning some new tricks too. I recently received a resume and cover letter critique that revealed my resume is tight, but the cover letter has been my downfall. My thinking on the cover letter used to be, “just make sure everything is spelled right.” After that, who cares? Chances are it won’t be read anyway. Boy, was I wrong. These days it has to be customized to each position applying for. Yet, has anyone ever gotten a job where they did exactly what the posting said they would do?

There’s the Internet now, which has been somewhat useful because I have gotten some nibbles, although I could do without the spam coming from the job board sites. Now that the insurance companies can see I’m transitioning, they are becoming more daring with actual phone calls. Two this week have called with local sales opportunities. No complaints. I’m glad the phone rings.

Speaking of complaining… In general, I can’t complain too much. I’ve been spending more time with the kids – I bought a bike and have actually been riding around with them. They seem to love it. Taking the kids to all their appointments and getting ready for the school year has been kind of neat too. All the cooking I have been doing has been fun. And, of course, coaching soccer is highly rewarding. So at the end of the day, ya’ll, this job huntin’ stuff ain’t so bad.

Gotta run for now, though… Gots mo’ passive networking to do – I’m out of bourbon.

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