When I first got into the world of third party recruiting, the computer wasn’t a big part of the profession. It was 1995. I had a computer for access to the company’s database and to send an occasional email, but that was the extent of my digital reach. Before you take a pass on hearing advice from someone who might as well be admitting she has a pet dinosaur, let me add I was a million dollar producer for my company. That’s right. I closed that many deals in a relationship driven industry without the advantage of online job boards, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and constant email blasts. I also…gasp…read resumes with my very own eyeball scanning for the keywords that mattered.
That was then and this is now, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
It is 2014 and I’ve definitely joined the ranks of those who make good use of email, social media and websites. Though I’m no longer in recruiting, I’m still in a role that relies heavily on relationships. The internet allows me to keep in touch with large numbers of people with minimal effort. That said, the virtual interactions that are the most fruitful are those where I have enough of a relationship with the individual to pick up the phone and call. Most often, those are the individuals I’ve met in person. The same is true for most people, I imagine. That’s why I scratch my head at those looking to connect with me for access to my contacts. Until they have the type of relationship with them where they, too, can pick up the phone in a pinch, they likely won’t experience much of a boost from the addition to their virtual rolodex.
As great as the internet is, it would do many a world of good to give it a time-out for a spell and increase their participation in the flesh and blood world of relationship cultivation. This is especially true for those on a job hunt. Those holed up with their computers chasing leads, firing off connection requests and blasting emails are neglecting the human element. If you can list hundreds of resumes and emails you’ve sent during your search, yet only need two hands to count the number of meaningful interactions you’ve had in person, you’re losing out to those covering less ground in a deeper way. Add to that, you are limiting your options to those known and chased by the masses with little in the way of genuine personal connections to give you an advantage.
I’ll close with a snapshot of an average week for me. Considering my role at Michigan State University, I hear from a lot of people who want my help directly or want me to connect them to someone they believe I have access to. On average, I receive 500+ emails per week, 50 LinkedIn requests, 50 InMails, 40 pieces of mail that are canned messages and…now here is the important part…10 phone calls, 1 piece of personalized mail (we’re talking hand written note card) and 3 requests for an in-person meeting. Of the individuals who contributed to the above stats, who will be the ones I’ll have deeper virtual interactions with over the course of time? For what it’s worth, I can say it will likely be those who called, wrote or met me in person.
Time to go feed my Pteranodon.
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.