I got a call today from a staffing agency doing employment verifications on a friend of mine. Bob worked for me as a contract consultant on a large project a couple of years ago and listed me as a previous employer. I verified his employment and gave him a glowing and well deserved recommendation as well. The staffing agent was very friendly and she mentioned that they had a lot of positions open in my field. Unfortunately, the jobs are in another part of the state, and I’m not interested in relocating.
The staffing agent worked for a large national employment agency and gave me the name of the head of the Savannah office and her phone number. I called her, and when I mentioned my name she reminded me we met years ago when I was the human resources director for a resort/hotel. I had invited her and her assistant to the resort for lunch and she remembered my hospitality, the tour of the island and lunch at the beach restaurant on the ocean. We had a great conversation, discussed the job market (tough in Savannah) and she gave me some ideas on improving my resume. Even better, she asked for my resume and is going to personally look out for job opportunities for me.
It had been at least six years since we had lunch together, but once we connected again it was as if it were yesterday. There is no substitute for making connections and building relationships. You can have a great resume, impressive “elevator speech” and the perfect interview outfit, but if you aren’t making meaningful connections, you may spend a lot of time without getting results now and in the future.
Making connections are important, but results aren’t always immediate. There are some tips on using the power of connections:
1. You can’t tell who will be a powerful connection. You have to treat everyone as if they were the most important person to your job search. The person who is a receptionist today may end up a hiring manager with your perfect job in a couple of years.
2. Look for opportunities to help others. I was looking for a good staffing agency to help find hospitality employees when I invited the staffing agent and her assistant to lunch. The resort was on an island, accessible only by boat, so I had to make arrangements for transportation to the island, to the resort and then around the island for the tour. I made a point to treat them like guests, not like someone who was lucky to get my attention and possibly our business.
3. If you want to make an impression, make it a good one. If you’re having a bad day, keep it to yourself. First impressions are the most memorable.
Making meaningful connections is a habit that can pay off today or years from now. You never know when an old friend or business connection will re-enter your life at just the right moment with an opportunity. If you’ve made a good impression that lasts, you may find a new opportunity that’s right for you.
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