By Lisa Parker

Job seekers, don’t get caught up in waiting for perfect. Postponing reaching out to key contacts because you want the stars and planets to align themselves in a certain way before taking action is a mistake. More than likely you will find the perfect moment never materializes or that, when it does, someone else has beaten you to the punch.

When I worked on a sales floor as a recruiter typically two types of people could be found. The first was the individual who stayed on the phone and efficiently rolled through a variety of conversations. That individual was well practiced, relaxed and full of all sorts of valuable information gained from his efforts. He had a wealth of professional relationships developed that he was able to nurture and grow daily. The second was the individual painstakingly reviewing files, reading every letter of a job description, checking his phone voice and watching the clock for the decided upon moment when the magic would be able to happen. Once that individual finally got on the phone he was tense and  over-selling because the call had too much at stake. What could have been “a” call was now “the” call.

Please don’t think I’m against incorporating good strategy into your job search. It’s definitely important to be considerate of when and how a contact would be more receptive to your message. Don’t be like me the time I called a Tax Manager in a public accounting firm on April 14th for a reference. That, my friends, was unfortunate and dumb. The key is to map out a plan of contact while being realistic in terms of what needs to transpire ahead of action on your part. Too often when my ears hear job seekers talk about wanting certain things to have happened before reaching out, my brain hears them saying they are afraid of or not interested in action. That’s unfortunate because most times I get the sense all are hoping for a positive outcome. They want a job. They want this business of looking for employment to end. Too bad for them what could be a perfect ending is being postponed by getting too caught up in having a perfect beginning.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

With 15+ years’ experience in third party recruiting, Lisa offers a balanced understanding of both employee and employer perspectives.

Lisa is a firm advocate of the networking process and considers it a vital element in a successful job search. In addition to helping job seekers develop and best utilize networking contacts, Lisa shares her knowledge and insight-gained aiding corporate recruiting efforts-to give Spartan job seekers an edge in terms of lead sourcing, resume presentation and interview strategy.

Among Lisa’s notable accomplishments: Prima Civitas Foundation Scholar; Michigan Works Association Volunteer of the Year; Pink Slip Mid Michigan Planning Committee; career content blogger.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.


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