I remember at my first recruiting position how scared I was to pick up the phone to talk to someone. I could feel sweat start to drip from the back of my neck and my voice started to quiver as I asked for their name. I figured emailing would suffice and I could fill jobs that way, right? WRONG. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was asking. All I knew was that I wanted to get off the phone and make the next call so the day could be over. Well, years later I hardly use email and would rather pick up the phone for many reasons (did you know email can be brought up even AFTER it has been deleted -twice!?).
Now, I'm recruiting horticulturists, hummer drivers, financial analysts, and litigation attorneys. Well, all of that until December 31, 2008 as I was notified my job would be eliminated due to a flat hiring plan for next year. No need to have a senior recruiter on board filling a dozen positions in one year. Not a financially wise decision for them and well, incredibly boring for me. I need pizzazz! I need a real challenge! I need.....ahem....a job.
Since now I am in the job hunting mode for myself I'm starting to realize how all of my efforts are now coming to fruition. Most of my past has been a regret for always sticking my foot in my mouth because I'm not one of those to give fluff to those who need it. You can't handle the truth! Trust me though, I do understand the importance of a filter every-so-often. After I drive home from an event I slowly lower my head in to my hands and think, "Geez, Tina. Can't you just sit back and shut up for once?" But no. That's not how it works as a recruiter. WE ARE SALES PEOPLE. Always selling a talent, selling a company, selling our efforts and it's our ability to network. How loud can we talk? How much information can we put in someone's brain storage in one night?
The key to all of this madness? Who will remember me when it comes time to network? Do you think they will remember Elbert who sat in the corner with his stale piece of chocolate cake, crumbs fallen on to his tie, cup of cold coffee sitting next to him while waiting to see if someone would occupy the empty chair he noticed beside him - secretly hoping it will stay empty? No.
I'm not talking the cheesy, 5'0" fast-talking, snazzy dresser who thinks he never smells will be successful in his ability to network. You have to be strategic. You have to be intuitive. You have to be a good listener as well. Networking is a talent and if you are good at it, you will find out if your efforts have worked once your boss asks you to come to her office and shut the door because the conversation she is going to have with you will be a tough one. SHUCKS. No need to worry though because I have a great network of people who I know I've strategically - while they were sleeping - slipped a little seed through their ear in to their brain to remember ME.
So, I'm on day four of my search for "what I want to do when I grow up". I haven't, even after 8 or so hours a day, reached all of my networks just yet. I haven't even touched those nasty job boards - you know, those who make up college degrees, been fired from every position, can explain short term employment history with "trying to find myself" excuses.
Go forth networks and thrive, but whatever you do, don't take advantage of them. Wish me luck!