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The Fastest Path to a Job And Not What You Think


May 24, 2013

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I recently checked in with MaryAnne, my best friend since third grade. She told me she was interviewing with a large medical device company. A month later, she had essentially landed the job. I felt like I had just blinked in a tough job market, and after being out of the workforce for almost 10 years, she found a fast path to landing a job. You must be thinking: Come on, Jen, who are you kidding? She must have exceptional credentials, experience - or maybe shes super connected or rich. Actually, none of them is true. In fact, MaryAnne is a mother of three who walked away from her public sector human resources career in 2003 to take care of her family. After leaving her human resources management position with a large city, she chose to be a homemaker - the backbone to her family -- shuttling her kids to and fro, supporting her husband in his work, and volunteering her time to charities and non-profits. But recently, her husband retired and, with the kids now a bit older, it was an ideal time to head back to work and contribute to her family in a different way. Now, I do know (at least in my humble opinion) that MaryAnne is very bright and highly capable, especially when she puts her mind to something. But it was actually an entirely different approach to traditional job hunting that proved to be successful for her. Like a lot of you, she posted her resume on web-based job boards -- without getting a single call or email response. What did get MaryAnne her job was an approach that is, coincidentally, at the heart of my
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book, The Millionaire Zone (you can read an excerpt). The book, based on national research about how the wealthy use their social networks to achieve success (including landing a job), covers several key strategies. One of them is successfully leveraging the people around you the people who truly know you to help you get to where you want to go.
Jack Welch

I find this so important because so many of you whether youre looking for a job or a partnership or a higher paycheck are often looking out there in the yonder when the better place to start is literally right in front of you, with those who know you and want to help you succeed. So here's MaryAnne's story. MaryAnne developed a friendship with Megan, a real estate broker for a home she had purchased several years back. During a conversation about buying a new house, Megan naturally asked about her price. It all depends, said MaryAnne. If I have a job, our price point will be higher. Megan, now having known MaryAnne for several years, moved into high gear and asked for her resume. She then shared it with someone in her network, an HR executive for a medical device company in the area. Before she knew it, MaryAnne had a phone interview for 45 minutes with the companys recruiter (a good sign), and then a meeting with the people in human resources. MaryAnne did a lot of things right things that run contrary to what you often think is the way to find a job: Start with your Home Zone Your Home Zone, as I call it in my book, includes the people and organizations who know you best. Megan knew me and my strengths," says MaryAnne. "She knows that Im trustworthy, competent and industrious. So, she felt very comfortable, after seeing my resume, recommending me to a client in my field of expertise." That certainly wouldnt have been the case if she continued to just post her resume on job boards. MaryAnne adds underscoring my philosophy about leveraging your Home Zone -- that it wasnt the network she built that led to the job, but rather, a personal relationship and the philosophy of simply doing the right thing. The key was that I spent the last 10 years doing productive, value-added things for the right reasons, rather than for money, recognition, or something else, she points out. If you do that just focusing on adding value where and whenever you can -- the success will follow. Avoid looking desperate I know that you may be thinking to yourself, especially if you're looking for a job, something like this: Ive got to go out to my network or post my resume all over and tell everyone Im looking for a job. But that can hurt you. If I had said to Megan, Im looking for a job. Who do you know? it wouldve changed the whole dynamic, MaryAnne says. Instead, the way it came up was natural and unintentional it led Megan to help, not because I asked, but because she wanted to help a friend. As MaryAnne and others in the book discover, its all about who you are and what you do, not what you ask for. The other key is to know the value you bring to an organization and truly believe it, truly own it. Youll avoid coming off as desperate and will connect in a far more meaningful way to your future employer. Keep your skills current MaryAnne says it wasnt easy working around the major elephant in the middle of the room: being out of the workforce for a solid 10 years. But, she did a lot of nonprofit and volunteer work and always kept active and informed in her field. Wherever I could fit in my HR background, I did: When we opened a charter school, I recruited staff, and wrote policies - I participated and put my HR skills to work. And I put that

Founder, Jack Welch Management Institute

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on my resume. She also made sure to bring that up in interviews and explain that experience on her resume, keeping it fully current. MaryAnne told her prospective employer: I may have left my career, but I was always doing something; I was never idle or complacent. The key, no matter what you are doing, is to stay engaged and to demonstrate, if possible, that the career choices you made were your choices just as MaryAnne made the proactive choice to stay home with her family and wasnt afraid to communicate that decision. She also has stayed in touch with her old peers, subordinates and bosses and added them to her list of references. Theyre all in high places now, she laughs. Keeping your skills current has the added value of keeping your confidence up. When the HR manager asked MaryAnne what her biggest concerns were, she talked from a position of strength: I know that, as a contract employee, you may think of me as a temp who will always be looking for a full-time job, and therefore you may not give me challenging, longterm assignments. Thats not the job I want. My commitment to you is that I will stay for the duration of this assignment and wont look for another job; but in return, I want challenging work. Its a message thats honest, direct and compelling to an employer. Have realistic expectations MaryAnne knew she wasnt going to re-enter her career where she left it, as an HR manager. So, she lowered her sights. She did some online research to find what an HR analyst or generalist in her city with a college degree was earning, and used that figure to answer her expected compensation. I found I was right in the ballpark, she notes. I also made sure everyone understood I had realistic expectations with my competition, she told me. Even though I was engaged, it was all volunteer. And it had been 10 years. I was honest when I said: Believe me, I understand I cant come back where I left off in terms of responsibility and compensation, but I want to be compensated fairly. Yes, MaryAnne actually said this to her future employer, and she thinks it made all the difference not being greedy, but being realistic. Do your homework Know what the companys goals are, check out the person whos interviewing, check out the news online. Again, if you follow the Millionaire Zone principles, youll find that you can connect on a more meaningful level and truly focus on how your values and skills can truly contribute to an organization and move you both forward. In the end, leveraging our networks as MaryAnne did so simply isnt just about landing a job in a matter of a couple weeks. Its about building relationships and helping others to discover how you can enrich their lives or their companies. In the end, you might find that you have a stronger network - and one that may become your financial safety net, too. Not only did MaryAnne win, but so did her real estate broker and the company who hired her. Now thats a win-win-win. Jennifer Openshaw is president of Finect, founder of Womens Financial Network, and author of The Millionaire Zone (Hyperion) about how the wealthy use networking to achieve financial success.

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134 comments

Peter 'Raj' S. Agri-Commodity Sourcing & Trade Professional in W. Africa In 2001, when the dot-come bubble burst and I got laid off, I turned to a little book called "What Color is Your Parachute?" that essentially gave the same advice, so I put into practice- my first part time job came through my local church, then my second job came through my roommate, and another through my local prayer group leader. So, sending out resumes en masse was like shooting arrows in the dark, hoping one hits the bulls-eye. Rather, I tapped the people around me for help, and they came through fabulously. And, yes, I kept an upbeat attitude the whole time. To keep my skills current, I re-enrolled into college.
2h

Maricela S. Lead Account Analyst at American Health Information Management Association Very engaging, I am glad I ran across this article.
4h

Ciprian Z. PhD, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Development Engineer I would say that the article actually promotes your book, but not directly. So, it was networking that helped your friend finding a job + other factors (e.g. time, place, location)
4h

Antonis P. Experienced Sales/ Account Manager at Healthcare&Medical devices willing to relocate abroad I have to add that of you don't get any answers or calls after you post your resume either you have to rewrite it or you are looking for a wrong job at the wrong place.
7h

Anil P. Chartered Accountant Simple practical advice. Must be a very useful book. Congrats! I like this esp a) " Like a lot of you, she posted her resume on web-based job boards -- without getting a single call or email response." :) b) Avoid looking desperate! The thing is most do not either plan their sabbatical or are unfortunate to lose their jobs. The next three steps should really make a difference!
8h

Arno K. Head of Talent Management at Bank Al-Bilad Seriously? These are basics; we've read it all before, a hundred times. We were taught this at university. Great marketing platform LinkedIn has become for authors. Having to read and article or a book on how to land a job, especially if the advice is so rudamentary, makes me question reader intelligence and "author" authenticity. We are in a global recession partly because of America and the UK's greedy banker millionaires, et al. And now we have to follow their advice by reading a book on the road to a seven figure fortune?
8h

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Neil W. Communications services at Computershare - INTERESTED IN TRADING/ANALYST OR LEGAL/COMPLIANCE POSITION Right on! Honest and Direct. Here's the value if you want it. But that means a REAL conversation. Don't become Georg Simmel's blase man/woman in the faceless crowd..
9h

Saad A. Proactive and Self-Motivated Executive with over a Decade of Global Experience Great Article. Reality help us to be ready to find options to reach our goals. Improving our soft skills which is today's world is vital to stand out and take risks be confident to help others succeed. Keep Learning new things help us to connect with all industries and open the door for more opportunities. The more pilot projects is done, the more confident you can go out there and market yourself taking in consideration the importance of soft skills techniques and keep practicing help us to be more proficient and confident to be able to help others i.e. create your own opportunities. It not easy road but as long as you have passion then you get there with hard work.
9h

Carlos F. G. Customer Service, Sales and Social-Media Specialist at GordianDomains.com Fantastic advice and great article!
10h

Jeong Hwan(Andrew J) P. Director of Application Marketing at SK Hynix It seems very insightful story. Thanks to social media and connectivity by internet, we are so much open to some network. Sometime, too many..^^ In the meantimes, we need to figure out what my identitiy is on compared with other people. The differentiation is the most important key to recognize oueself among the world. That should not be only for money and job but his/her life. Because that will be happy to last our life evetually...Is this too ideal thing to be accepted? To my best experience, it might be true for these coming digital society. Thank you for sharing this great article.
10h

Obinna A. Network Analyst & System Admininistration Great article, the key to success is knowing what you want in life, believing in yourself, and making a difference in the lives of people. Realistic expectation from my point of view is not limiting yourself and thinking positively. Great leaders do dream big.
10h

Tia D. P.T. Barnum in a skirt producing intelligent creative to expand your brand. Dynamic content providers ring me up! I love a smaht real estate agent. (Trust she got the sale!)
10h

Christophe B. Head, serving High Purpose Organisations, Change Agents and Social Entrepreneurs, at Primeast (Southern Africa & Global) The fastest way to your dream job - to your calling - is to create it yourself!
11h

Brandy S. O.L.I.V.E. Segmentor Overall, I like this article. It points out some good non-mainstream ways to get a job, but spends too much time pointing to her book about the subject.
11h

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John K. Offering research services for electronic design, compliance and patent decisions A lot of people doing this and not getting jobs....nice ideas...but as it turns out it's really about who got tired and who then decided to just hire the next person on the list.
12h

Christine R. Digital Marketing Analyst at Rollins, Inc. .....The key was that I spent the last 10 years doing productive, value-added things for the right reasons, rather than for money, recognition, or something else, she points out. If you do that just focusing on adding value where and whenever you can -- the success will follow......
12h

Mark C. Director Technology Services and CIO at Federal Court of Australia The post strongly resonates with how I believe you find work outside of the advertised market. When you think about it there is a lot of commonsense in what Jennifer says particularly in the areas of what value can you add and to be yourself. An interesting article.
13h

Javier N. 6A:61:76:69:65:72:20:69:73:20:61:77:65:73:6F:6D:65 wow is it me or does this sound like an advertisement to sell a book. "you can get a job with the methods featured in my book". all its missing is the, "it yours for only 19.99"
13h

Giridharan R. Business Head - Retail at City Tyres - Mandela Group of Companies Good article on not only networking but also on keeping yourself updated so that you are updated industry developments. This surely helps prospective employers to rate you fairly high on their list of probables and also builds your self confidence. Thanks,
13h

Lidija B. Chemist, Organic Chemist, Synthetic Chemist, Analytical Chemist, Lab Manager, Project Manager, Photographer It is called coincidence, good luck, but that is an important moment by every success. Networking makes that likelihood coincidence a bit bigger as for lottery, after all for lottery win you have to do also something, to get a ticket.
13h

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