Several years ago in the movie “A beautiful mind” about John Nash, the mathematical genius, one of the things that made him brilliant was that he could see patterns in numbers and words that no one else could see.
Detecting hidden patterns or reading between the lines is one of the skills that a good researcher learns to develop. When examining data, looking beyond the obvious can create value when at first there appears to be none.
Let me start with the evening newsletter, that mountain of data that comes to you 5 days a week.
On the surface, there are our routine sections – the evening editorial, good news announcements, members in need of assistance, and job leads. One of the statistics that I watch is the number of pages in a typical 2 week period. It is a measure of the general economy and the devotion of our members to sharing leads.
Hidden and perhaps not entirely obvious at first are the NAMES of the members contributing leads. Have you ever taken the time to look up members who contribute the leads in which you have interest? Try it some time. If they became aware of and had interest in this lead and you do too, is it possible you have something in common and should become close friends. (Okay, but maybe nodding acquaintances at least.)
Are particular search firms posting leads on a routine basis? Could it be they specialize in financial searches and you should make them aware of your background? (Good guess!)
And then there is The FENG’s Member Directory Search feature which gives you dynamic access to the FULL list of members of The FENG. (Available just by signing into our website!) Sure, it would be nice if you could email a copy of your resume to “every man, woman and child on the face of the earth,” but think of all of the data analysis on which you would miss out.
Our membership directory is a treasure trove of data that you can analyze, if you only take the time. Sure you want to search for old friends and review the list for your chapter or special interest group, but you also want to dig beyond the obvious. There is knowledge buried there of which you can make good use.
For example, let’s say you work in an industry you want to leave. Where do folks go who have a grounding in your firm, or in other firms from your industry? What are the logical industries and companies where your skills will be most appreciated?
Again, this is easily done. (Okay, perhaps easily is not the right word.) Do a search limited to say 50 folks who fit your criteria and take the time to examine closely all of the firms in their work history. Sure, some of them won’t make sense, but some career tracks will. What patterns do you see? Perhaps some thoughts will occur that might not otherwise have hit you “upside the head.”
The patterns are there, it just takes someone as crazy as we are to try do dig them out. Go to it, and make some phone calls to other members while you are at it. It will add to your fun.