Meet Meghan and Robert (whose names have been changed for confidentiality reasons)—two Managing Directors working for financial services firms on the East coast.
Meghan, anticipating that her company could be downsizing before year end, was transitioning from her existing position to a new job. She is in her 50s, her family’s main provider and—in the parlance of Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point—a “connector”. With her envied contact list, no one was better positioned to land a job through networking than Meghan.
These connections would prove to be more important than she realized when she learned from one recruiter (off the record) that she was too old for any positions they might have. A go getter by nature, Meghan was also mining the web and in particular the job postings in the many LinkedIn groups to which she belonged. It was there that she noticed a unique job posting from what was to become her new employer, a small asset management firm that exclusively used social networking tools to fill the position. By looking down every road, Meghan went from spotting the job posting to job offer in just three months.
Robert, a 26 year veteran of a major bank, followed the same track as Meghan. He talked to recruiters and reached out to his network. One of his connections, a customer, recommended him to another Wall Street firm and that quickly led to a very strong job offer. Customers are like a highway—a highly direct route to the end point. When they speak for you and directly about your results it can have more influence than anything else.
Both Meghan and Robert reached their destination without hitting any speed bumps. A key one is the time between an offer and the start date. Hiring companies often extend offers contingent upon a number of final checks including drug testing, credit checks, and background verification. Make certain that the salary information you provide is accurate because in this economy, it is not unusual for a company to request copies of your W-2 tax statements as verification of salary. It might be tempting to embellish your current salary as a way of increasing your compensation potential, but this can come back to haunt you if you are asked to produce the paperwork. It can be grounds for rescinding the offer, leaving you at a dead end.
Finding a job is a lot like driving—there are many different roads to success. Just don’t forget the rules of the road while navigating.