Monday, January 28, 2013

Employee referrals are working!

My LinkedIn network, visualized
You have more connections that you think - LinkedIn network, visualized (Photo credit: For Inspiration Only)
Interesting  NY Times article about how big companies are getting more and more referrals from current employees these days.  And even more interesting are the 104 (and counting) comments by people that have read that article.  There are a couple points I would make about this:
1) Like it or not, networking is probably the number 1 way to find a new job today, and it has be come so much easier with sites like Linkedin. Many of the comments about this article were negative saying employee referrals constitutes cronyism, lazy recruiters, etc, however the simple fact is that we trust people we know more than people we don't know.  And we all have a bigger network than we initially think we do.
2) One point in the article (and the comments) is that networking is difficult for those that have been searching a long time and have "lost contact" with much of their network.  I would make 2 points about this:
     a) building a network can be started on line. Make a connection online by searching for people you know  (via Linkedin, Facebook or other) and then propose you catch up and chat.  See what they are up to and be interested... Relationships are built one conversation at a time. At some point you can ask whether they know someone in a particular field or company that you are targetting.  
     b) working to get contract work, volunteering, etc can help build the new component of your network, which is something everyone can do if they just do what they can do at this moment (e.g., if you can't contract work you can volunteer).   You will meet new people and extending your network is key to finding opportunities.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Synthesis of 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth - Chapter 1

I first listened to the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell in my car. It was a great "listen" but there were so many things that I wanted to capture and spend more time on that I thought investing in the paper copy made sense (this is a great side-effect for authors by the way - sell more books when you put them out in a number of media formats). I bought the book and started reading each chapter, doing the exercises at the end by writing notes in my personal notebook and thinking more about each point. Somewhere in that journey I decided to share my learnings with my family so I synthesized the chapter into a few key points that I shared with them. Since I now have the synthesis of each chapter, I want to share with you! To that end, here is the synthesis of Chapter 1: the Law of Intentionality. The key message that I took away from this chapter is that Growth doesn't happen by accident, but we tend to believe it does! There are many misconceptions along this line, and the ones I have been guilty of are:
- Assumption Gap: I assume that I will automatically grow.
- Mistake Gap: I am afraid of making a mistake.  An aside here, I am currently reading Sam Walton's (of Walmart fame), and the commentary from others in the book is that Sam just didn't care if made a mistake. He would simply get up, dust off and move on. He lost his first store after 5 years because he made a mistake when negotiating his lease. Imagine the difference in his life if he had given up because he lost his only store at that point!
Inspiration Gap:I don't feel like doing it.
Comparison Gap: Others are better than I am.

Intentionality is key to getting started and staying engaged. the quote I leave you with is, "You cannot change your destination overnight (you are where you are), but you can change your direction overnight".  That is intentionality.