You Don’t Have to Sell Yourself: How to Use a Networking Profile

To get a good job, you do not have to sell yourself.  You’re not a commodity.  Neither are you worthless, waiting for a handout if someone passes you by.  Here is where your new Profile will help you get your needs met. 

Helping people is a need. 

Having interests (like being interested in a customer service , tech support, or CFO position) are also needs waiting to be filled by filling others’ interests or needs.[1]  For instance, if I cannot figure out my electric bill, I need someone in billing customer service to explain it to me. Their need is to be of service, to help people, and my need is to be helped. This is what is meant by needing needing.  (I would love to hear your comments on this as I am working out the language to describe what I’ve been seeing in our job search interactions.)

Job seekers do not hire themselves or make employers hire them.  In job searching, we are a) looking for needs we can help fill and b) available for being found to fill them.  Employers are looking for good candidates and model employees who will fill needs the way the employer wants them to be met. So we need to be found. And when we are found, it’s because we seem to be whom the employer is looking for. They will feel like their search is finally over. (A lot like job seekers feel, no? ) We call this “needs-meeting” because it satisfies both the givers’ and receivers’ needs to meet.

In order for hiring managers to be open to hiring us, they need to feel like they know, like and trust us to perform the deeds that fill the needs the employer has or is anticipating.  This is where a Networking Profile comes in. Similar to a resume, it tells the reader something about your background and how you satisfy needs. It does not list a chronology or pattern of practice, but a list of needs that you are available to fill that would match up with an employer’s needs.

Additionally, someone who knows an employer with those needs, could refer you to a company or organization needing your ability to serve.  This is networking – not just finding out what somebody does, but what needs they fill so one can refer the other to someone with the needs. It may be skills, temperament or something else – specialized expertise, good people skills, or needs for leadership to change a culture or get jobs done on time and under budget (financial and time management, etc.) – that will meet the employer’s or customers’ needs. Your needs to do the work of meeting those needs is included in the referral. See?

 

What do you need to value in order to communicate your interests? 

 You need to value yourself, your expertise and your worth. This is paramount, for without it you will not communicate clearly. You will hold back on your expertise or needs and say, “I’ll do anything I’m asked to do,” running the chance of being picked up by someone who has unhealthy needs for control, or worse, neediness that just sucks you dry.[2]

 Put a stake in the ground and let your light shine from it! This way, people get excited about your needs, want to help and advocate for you! Convert your stake into a beacon for those who are looking for your talents, skills and demeanor. 

 Yes demeanor.  You need to sound like yourself so an ideal employer recognizes you as the one they’ve been looking for, the one who gets them – the needle in the haystack they are looking for. (We often feel like we are looking for needles in haystacks, but it’s more helpful to realize we’re the needles!)

 

How to Use This Document

How a Profile Fits Into Overall Networking

Networking is finding needs of others and filling them with our expertise. Sometimes our expertise is technical or specific to a need (for, say, a Java programmer, or an Accounting Manager). Other times, the need is for our people skills – empathy, trust in the process, or an idea of someone else who might help. Then our expertise of referral is needed.  (I see I have a topic for another post.)

 This Networking Profile (named by Jim Grant of Chagrin Valley Job Seekers, the forerunner of North Coast Job Seekers) is a tool to a) help you think through what you want to do, b) see the value of it, c) work out how to communicate it and d) help others see the value and help you communicate it to others beyond the conversation you are in.

Formulating Your Text in the Boxes

Using the format in Google Docs, see if you can answer the questions, in boiled down fashion so the boxes all fit on one page. Then you can use the words you come up with in networking conversations at parties, in line at the grocery store, or formal networking events. 

 The main thing is to pick the burning problem you most like to work on and the people or organizations who solve the problem for. Make the rest of the document support that, including who else might know about such a group or company.

 The line at the top, Job Search Focus, needs some explaining. These are not the title of your Profile, but a place holder for you to put the focus of TPJ, The Perfect Job.  Is it, for example, Extraordinary Customer Service Management, Improving IT Systems, Exploring Options in Recruiting?  Yes, you can use this document for exploring your career interests. Do this for a couple of weeks and see what new ideas you have for pursuing your next career goal or job.

There are two ways to use the document itself.

One is, if your contact has asked you to send a resume before you have a one-on-one, get-to-know-you meeting, send your Profile instead. 

Or, you can take it with you to the meeting and use it as a map to cover your topics.[3]  Ask questions about who they know who might have these needs or who they know who might know someone. This offer to meet needs is different from selling in that you need to uncover true needs in order to offer to help or to help them find someone who has needs you cannot fill. Do you see the difference?  Your genuine interest in helping is needs-meeting whether it’s to your immediate benefit or not. (You have a need to help, too. If you are doing too much giving and not getting help back, let us know. We can help you achieve that balance.)

 

Finally, one last thing

 To begin to see yourself as being found, emphasize that you want to be doing these things, problem solving for other people and not just for yourself. Say how happy people are when you work with them.  Sayings like “I got the job!” demonstrate people are happy and excited about concluding their searches well. See what you can say that conveys the emotion of the results you are helping people receive.

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In Case you need it, here is the Link to the Profile Template in Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tiZ-H_bwQ0ZT1sBXf9qVwxp6uey4CwXBSvG1rqoCJTQ/edit?usp=sharing

[1] Sometimes we don’t think of things we are interested in as needs.  Music on the phone while we are waiting, for instance, may seem more like an interest than a need. On hold with Apple, I get to choose the type of music I am interested in hearing.  In the I Got the Job! Success System, we look at interests and needs as interchangeable.  That’s because my need to wait for service because I can’t delay my question any longer, is met with support to stay on the line by providing music to my liking.

[2] Most often this situation comes from mental models and images that are fearful of retaliation, failure, betrayal, shame or abandonment. I will write another blog post about that.  In the meantime, pick a role or need you would like to fill and use this Profile tool as a way to communicate your value to anyone you meet.

[3] Going through your document is not your only agenda item for this meeting.  You also want to get to know the person and their needs and interests. Talking about you and your interests should be  approximately half of the conversation (maybe a little more if the original purpose of the meeting is to help you in your job search).