One of the great mysteries in this world is why any two people would network. Yes, I know this sounds like heresy coming from someone who has built his entire life on networking, but it is actually a very good question, and one that members who have not been exposed to “the truth” often ask.
I don’t know if it is still true, but at Dallas chapter meetings members are encouraged to find their “mirrors.” I guess if you are standing side by side, you won’t look exactly alike, but face to face you appear to each other to be spitting images. Of course, Bob Walker, Co-Chair of the Dallas chapter isn’t talking about someone who LOOKS like you, but rather someone who has shared characteristics from a career standpoint.
In The FENG, we share job leads because it is just plain smart. The more job leads you share, the more others share with you. Job leads are the baseball cards of our world. You always have more than you need. And, most cards aren’t popular for very long. Giving them away and/or trading them as quickly as possible is the approach that works best.
Networking with those who are just like you is one of the most powerful job search approaches. You have to ask yourself who is most likely to hear about jobs in which you would have the most interest? Well, certainly it is going to be the folks with the most links to your background. If you are a manufacturing type that would be your fellow manufacturing types. If you are a HIGH TECHNOLOGY manufacturing type, it will be those knowledgeable about high technology manufacturing. The shades of meaning are endless in this world.
There really isn’t any way you can get hurt sharing networking contacts as freely as you do job leads as long as you make some effort to be selective. The “damage” that can be done by introducing someone you know well to someone else you don’t really know well is limited if you take a few minutes to really understand the person you are proposing to introduce. A quick look at their resume, a few good questions, all can assure you that you aren’t introducing someone who will ruin your hard won relationship.
Of course, the purpose of networking is to find work opportunities. So, what are the odds that the person you are introducing is going to stumble into a job YOU actually want and get hired instead of you? Well, like the lottery, the odds are a lot lower than most people believe. I am not putting down the value of networking when I say this. I am only commenting on the odds that the job that goes to someone else is one you would have wanted AND one you would have gotten hired for. Those are very different odds.
Which brings us to the “two peas in a pod” syndrome. In the case of senior executives, there isn’t such a thing.
All of us are as different as our fingerprints. Some of us are more affable than others. Some of us are more technically competent than others. Some of us are higher or lower paid than others. Some of us are in different parts of the country than others or are more willing or less willing to drive a distance every day or move. As alike as we may be, we are every bit as different.
One of those math facts that defy comprehension, don’t you think?