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Highly Effective Networking Wed 08 Apr 09

Pierson's Guide to Meeting the Right People and Getting a Great Job

OrvillePierson09 A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Orville Pierson during my job search.  He came to talk at Between Jobs Ministry and help us get our job search work teams off the ground.  These teams were based upon Orville's book The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search which shows us how to conduct a job search as a project.  I know it certainly helped me in successfully completing my job search.

Since that time I've kept in touch with Orville and consider him a good friend.  That's why I was pleased to learn of his timely new book Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Great Job. In this book Orville gives us an excellent structured approach to networking.  As Vice President and Corporate Director of Program Design and Service Delivery for Lee Hecht Harrison he knows a lot about this and we're fortunate to have him share his expertise with us.

One of the things that caught my attention was his first step in the sequence: DECIDE to network effectively.  As Orville states:

Sometimes people ask why I put "Decide" as the first step in the sequence.  I do that because many people don't decide to network.  The try the Internet; the mail out resumes; they call recruiters.  Finally, they half-heartedly start networking only when nothing else works.  When they back into it like that, they usually don't plan it.  Then it's more about muddling through than being effective.

A friend once showed me a cartoon that showed someone sitting at a computer and commenting to a friend, "I've been busy networking all day.  Boy, are my fingers tired!"  This is not uncommon and typifies the muddling through approach.  For some, real networking comes naturally but for most of us it is not all that easy.  Orville covers and explodes the common myths of networking and provides a structured approach to real networking.

Many believe that networking is sheepishly asking friends and acquaintances "If you hear of anything let me know".  Orville gets more specific and shows that real networking has 3 elements:

  1. An authentic conversation
  2. Common interest
  3. Information exchange

I learned this the hard way.  I would often send out emails and connect with my network but not much came of it until I learned to clearly state what I was looking for and asking for specific help.  I regularly had lunch with two old classmates but it wasn't until I specifically asked about contacts at a target company that they both volunteered that they knew a number of people there and gave me their contact information.

As way of preview here are the chapters:

  • Chapter One. Everybody Knows You Need to Network

  • Chapter Two. Systematic Job-Search Networking

  • Chapter Three. Networking Myth, Misunderstandisngs and Dumb Ideas

  • Chapter Four. Real Networking and How It Works

  • Chapter Five. Your Total Network Is Bigger Than You Think

  • Chapter Six. Plan Your Job Search -- and Your Networking

  • Chapter Seven. Your Personal Networks and How To Use Them

  • Chapter Eight. Build Your Professional Network

  • Chapter Nine. Networking Tools and Advanced Strategies

  • Chapter Ten. Moving From Networking to Interviews and Job Offers

So unless you're a natural networker or want to learn through your mistakes I highly recommend that you read Orvilles book, Highly Effective Networking.  You job search and career are to valuable to leave it to chance. 

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