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Don’t Tell Me That First!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me share an important nugget of wisdom with you. It’s great that you are willing to compromise in terms of employment opportunities, but don’t make a louder case for your compromises than you do for your ideal career situations when talking with networking contacts. Your loudest message is what will resonate with people. Do you really want your networking contacts more focused on identifying entry level positions or opportunities in other states when what you truly want is something close to home that relates to your developed base of skills and abilities?

I shared a giggle with a nice fellow who made this very mistake. The first thing he said to me was that he was open to opportunities in other states. After talking with him for a while it was clear he is heavily invested in his community and that his most valuable contacts, contacts employers could potentially benefit from, are here in Mid-Michigan. When I asked what he would do if one of his networking sources immediately offered up information on an opportunity in Phoenix he cringed. The truth of the matter is he would take a job in Phoenix if he absolutely had to, but he’d prefer to exhaust all local opportunities first. Makes sense, but his game plan doesn’t support this strategy so far. He now knows he’s got to stop leading with his compromises.

I understand this economy is unique and individuals must show they are open to a variety of situations. Too many job seekers go overboard with this, however. I personally think it’s because job seekers don’t believe suitable opportunities exist “in this economy” so they lower the bar immediately and focus more on settling. The truth of the matter is all sorts of opportunities are out there. Jobs may not be as abundant as in the past, but there are certainly options at all levels and in many fields. Your contacts can help you find them if you prep them properly. Lay out a good strategy for identifying these opportunities and use your networking circle well. Keep key contacts focused on what you truly want. You can handle identifying entry level work on your own. You can involve a limited number of contacts in a search outside of your geographic area when and if it becomes appropriate to do so.

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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.

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1 comment

  1. Computer Publishing Concepts 21 April, 2014 at 10:04 Reply

    Now that I’ve built up a large network of people on LinkedIn, now what? How can I leverage those contacts to help me find work? I know you gave me homework, and I intend on doing it, but I thought you’d might know a little more on how to leverage LinkedIn in this manner.

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