Originally posted 2013-06-18 13:18:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank.
“Be a face, not a file.” – Us, constantly
What’s itinthed.com all about, people?
If you said “networking” or “building relationships”, you’re absolutely right. We’ll even let you slide if you said “beer”.
We preached that to the job seekers forever – that you will get more out of a two minute conversation than you’ll get out of weeks of blind resume submissions and emails. Then the market shifted, and we told recruiters the same thing.
So why we’re the victim of so many drive-bys lately is beyond me…
Look, it’s really simple – itinthed.com is all about networking. Building relationships. Getting to know people in the industry and making good, solid connections that will help you along the way in your career.
So what does that actually mean?
It means that if we never see you in person, odds are good you’re not going to get much attention from us at all. It also means you’re probably not going to be very successful with our group, that you’re probably not going to “get” it, and that you probably won’t like us all that much.
It means that if all you ever do is pop into the LinkedIn group for a drive-by spraying of
bullets jobs into the group, and you can’t even be bothered to take the time to do more than post links to third party websites…it’s not really helping you very much.
It means that if you send one of us a random email out of the blue looking for resumes or candidates, you’re most likely getting a reply that tells you to join the LinkedIn group or come to our next event.
We actually talked about this on the air during a recent episode of IT in The D.
If you’re familiar at all with sales, or maybe even web analytics, then you’ve probably at least heard the term “conversion funnel”.
And it’s not because we’re raging egomaniacs who need a bajillion people at our events either. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times…the more of you that show up, the more work we actually have to do at our events. So we’re really just making our lives more complicated…but the end game is that it makes your experience better, makes you more successful, and actually helps you get something out of what we’re trying to do here.
Which makes it worthwhile for us.
The object of any funnel, whether you’re talking about a conversion funnel or you’re using one to put windshield washer fluid in your car without spilling it all over the ground, is simple – get to the bottom. Taking a look at that funnel for us (and you can click it to see a larger version), it’s pretty straight forward:
- At the top, you’ve got “basic web interactions”. Visiting our website and reading what we write is a great start, and it also helps justify the time we’ve spent putting all of this nonsense together. Hopping on and liking our Facebook page, joining our Meetup group, or firing off a random email request to one of us…also all good starts, but really just the beginning of your journey if you want anything good to happen.
- A step further, and you’ve joined our LinkedIn group. With over 4,200 members…all metro Detroit, all in and around the information technology community…this is where you really want your starting point with us to be. This is where we blast out our weekly updates from. This is where jobs get posted and discussions happen. But just hopping in and joining won’t get you where you want to be, because you’re still just an anonymous face in a crowd of over 4,000 people.
- So you dive a little deeper and start posting. As a recruiter, you’re most likely looking to come in and start posting jobs…and that’s fine…but remember that you’re still just a random face in a crowd. You’re still the electronic equivalent of a “Hey, you wanna buy some windows?” cold call to anyone reading. Sure, you might get lucky and the right person will read your posting and you’ll get a hit and walk away with a new hire, but it’s far more likely that you’ll get skimmed over because you’re an unknown commodity, or there might even already be a recruiter from your company engaged with our group…and that’s who’s going to get reached out to about that position you just posted.
- We don’t have events every day, so what do you do to start getting “known” by people in the group until an event rolls around? You go a step further down the funnel. You take a look at the discussions going on and see if there’s something you want to chime in on. You send a pointed, direct email to one of us (or someone else in the group who might fit your needs) indicating who you are, what you’re looking for, and why you think the person on the other end might be able to help you out. No generic LinkedIn invitations – those are a red flag that you can’t even be bothered to take a minute to introduce yourself…it’s the LinkedIn equivalent of showing up at someone’s office unannounced and asking if you can have ten minutes of their time. Don’t Be That Guy.
- Once you’ve made a couple of connections through virtual means, if the opportunity arises, you should absolutely follow up with a phone call if appropriate or invited to do so. Just the simple of act of getting tone and inflection through voice works wonders towards forming a stronger connection.
- Finally, the bottom of the funnel – get yourself to one of our events. They’re free, and we bounce them all over the area so there’s bound to be one in your neck of the woods. That’s where you really make the connections that matter. That’s where you’ll get more benefit out of a two minute chat with someone that will save you a 30 to 60 minute block of time on your workday calendar when you bring them in after a few emails and realize within moments that they’re a bad fit and now you’ve got 58 wasted minutes in your day. That’s where you’ll meet the person who might not be a right fit for what you need right now, but is a perfect candidate for the job that hits your inbox tomorrow morning. That’s where you meet someone new who happens to be the gateway to that purple squirrel you’ve been hunting down for a client.
There’s a reason why “Thou Shall Understand the Importance of Networking” is #1 on The Ten Commandments of Networking – http://www.itinthed.com/index.php/2697/the-new-and-improved-10-commandments-of-networking/, and that’s because it’s the most important one.
You will only ever get out of networking what you put into it…and that’s true regardless of whether you hit one of our events or others. If you never go, you’ll never get it. If you go and simply stand off in a corner and rebuff attempts at conversation, you’ll hate it and never understand the point. If you don’t understand that networking is far more about “what can I do for you?” than it is about “what can you do for me?”, then you might as well not even bother.
So don’t be a drive-by. Like I said earlier, sure, you might get lucky…but networking is about relationships, not one-night stands.