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The Power of Relationships in a Job Search


Follow-Ups Shouldn’t Come Years Later

Every week, it seems that I get 3 or 4 phone calls requesting help in finding a job. More often than not, the individual wanting my help either doesn’t know me personally, or does know me but has not connected with me in a number of years. This week in particular, I received a call from someone I hadn’t spoken to in 15 years, asking for help locating a position.

These calls astound me each time – and not always in the most positive way. For me, it’s not a good feeling to receive a call from someone needing help, who hadn’t cared much to reach out before this need arose. Maintaining the relationship to them wasn’t so important until now. With technology that makes reconnecting so much easier than it used to be, you’d think these long lost friends would have called, texted, or sent a friend request at some point, but alas, this is usually not the case.

No matter what, I do my best to help people if I feel that I can indeed be a meaningful reference. However, that’s when the obstacle comes in; being a meaningful reference is close to impossible if I haven’t heard from the person in years, or if I don’t even know them at all. This is a common issue among those who may not have networked properly or thoroughly from the start, or failed to maintain connections in a healthy way over the years.

The Facts Say A Lot

Finding and snagging a job is hard, I know; the struggle there is real. In fact, about 70 percent of job openings are not posted, and for each posted opening, there are (on average) 118 applicants, and only 1 in 5 of those even get an interview. Add to these statistics the reality that about 70 percent of ALL jobs we will get in our lives come because of someone in our network, and boom – we have a big AHA MOMENT. This should be the only news flash any of us need to realize that, at a very young age, we would benefit from intentionally – and in a disciplined way – building a network that will be useful when and if we need it.

Standing at The Relationship Edge: where connections fly or fall

This brings us to what I call The Relationship Edge – in other words, the cruciality of making connections. Due to how important making connections is to all of our careers, and in turn, our futures, I am developing an app called ReallyLinked. The app aims to be a practical way of keeping connections alive – an easy way to fan the professional relationship flame.

Who do you want to be really linked to? I have over 5,500 connections, and 77 of them need my extra attention – meaning, they need persistent, relevant contact. My good friend, Buzz Williams, taught me how to efficiently and quickly stay in touch with 120 people a month:

  • Call one person each day.
  • Text one person a day.
  • E-mail one person a day.
  • Write one note per day.

If we do that, we will have touched 120 people in a month.

“Touching Base” is not Sending a Novel or Saying a Monologue

Fact: People want us to stay in touch.

Also a fact: They don’t want us wasting their time.

Balance is key. Sending a short text or a concise and meaningful e-mail acts as a decent reminder that the person you’re connecting with is important to you. If you think that at some point in your life you might be looking for a job, then be more intentional and disciplined about building, maintaining and leveraging relationships.

Being like my friend Buzz in his approach to maintaining connections will ensure that you have that persistent, relevant contact. Later, when you need them, they are far more likely to be there for you. This Relationship Edge will give you a leg up over those job candidates who have been negligent in cultivating their network. You will get more interviews, better job opportunities and more security if you are a producer with a great network. And that indeed is an edge all of us can use.