EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Being successful at getting meetings with potential decision makers who don’t have a job right now, but who might make one for you after they meet you, is why networking is the most successful approach to finding a job. Frankly, this is how most business is really done at our level.

If you have only gotten interviews through ads or recruiters you are probably wondering how do those lucky dudes do it? How do they manage to get in front of the right people and sweet talk them into offering them a job?

Keep in mind that you are not a pea in a pod. You are a unique accumulation of talents acquired over a number of years. If you focus your energy at places where these talents can be applied effectively, potential decision makers should want to see you and should have the creative insight to offer you the job of your dreams. The first part of the challenge is to get in front of the right buyers.

If you contrast this part of your search to the daily barrage of job listings in the evening newsletter and all the other sources, it clearly takes a different approach to be successful.

Step one is do your research about industries and firms where your skills can best be applied. Ignore for the moment whether or not jobs are open at any of these firms. If folks compatible with your kind of thinking manage the company and if your background will make sense to these firms, you are most of the way there.

With your membership directory for The FENG at your fingertips through our Member Directory Search feature, and your target company list in hand, finding someone who knows someone shouldn’t be impossible.

Step two in getting an appointment is developing a softer approach. You are going to be in front of someone who will understand your background, and based on what you know about the company, your background will make sense to them. Trust me, they will be willing to see you because you fit.

Let me put this approach into a slightly better focus for you.

Compare the idea of buying a house with the idea of renting it for a few days. Buying a house requires a lot of detailed research. It is a really big commitment. And, it has a lot of financial downside. What if you don’t like the house? Will you be able to sell it? If you rush, you will regret this decision, BIG TIME.

On the other hand, if you are just renting this house by the week, heck, if you don’t like it after a few days you can just walk away. Even if you leave a few days rent on the table, no big deal.

The key here is to getting an appointment is to make the potential decision a lot less stressful. If you are seeking an appointment about a full time job, that is an all or nothing purchase decision comparable to buying a house. If you are there, however, only to present your credentials to a potential decision maker for his or her help in applying your skills, that is a much softer decision.

If all you have been doing is trying to get appointments by presenting yourself as a buy decision, you can see why you are still not connecting. It is just too stressful to talk to someone who is only coming by to talk about full time jobs.

We all have heard various pretenses that have been used. It may seem dishonest to say that you want to come by for a few minutes to share some thoughts on their industry or firm, but it is this kind of approach that softens and removes much of the stress in setting up an appointment. The person knows you are actually coming by looking for a job, but he is always prepared to accept your explanation. It is a game of pretend in which we all engage and you should allow yourself to become comfortable with it.

What I am suggesting is find ways to soften your approach when asking for an appointment.

Presenting someone with a buy decision of the magnitude of hiring someone at our level is stressful. If you are just a little less than a full purchase decision, you will find your buyers more open to seeing you.

Here is another opportunity to share our knowledge with each other. If you have been successful in getting discussion appointments, what do you use as the explanation?

Please write to [email protected] and Leslie will publish your thoughts in the newsletter. As always, if you don’t want your name used, we will certainly try to respect that.

Regards, Matt

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