Got A Quarter?

I love to network and meet people. I learned as a third party recruiter (a.k.a. – headhunter) of accountants the importance of networking. For recruiters, meeting people and getting your name out there is key. When an active recruiter, friends often spied me at different events passing out business cards and jockeying for speaking opportunities. Many times the events had nothing to do with accountants. For example, I participated in a group that catered to technical writers. Why did I do this? You’d be amazed how many technical writers interact regularly with accounting and finance professionals. So often it wasn’t the initial contact I ended up working with, but his friend, spouse, cousin or coworker. The results I got networking my way to accounting and finance pros through technical writers were much better than when I attended, say, local CPA events where every financial recruiter in town was present.

Though I’m not an active recruiter at the moment, I still network heavily. These days I’m using every free moment I have to help unemployed professionals get back to work. When I speak to groups of job seekers I always try to drive home the importance of networking to find employment. Too often I find individuals who believe it is a waste of time to circulate with those who are not hiring managers while on a job hunt. Some have shown disappointed when I revealed I primarily worked with accountants in the past. You can see it on the faces of the non-accountants in the room… “great, this is going to be a complete waste of my time.” Never mind the wealth of contacts I have from various walks of life and professions. In order to effectively network myself to place accountants in companies, I had to build relationships with CEOs, CFOs, Controllers, Human Resource Managers, Office Managers, IT Managers, etc. Don’t you suppose a fair number of job seekers could benefit from those contacts even if their backgrounds have nothing to do with accounting?

It’s so easy to write people off based on general assumptions of what they may or may not be able to do for you. It is equally tempting to chase relationships with people you feel will directly benefit you and overlook the fact others may be able to offer more help indirectly than some are able to extend directly. I try to impress upon people you should view others as a scratch off lottery ticket. It’s impossible to tell if the ticket holds a prize if you don’t take time to grab a quarter and remove the layers that hide the answer. Passing up an opportunity to get to know someone new based on an assumption they couldn’t possibly be of any benefit is just like throwing away a scratch lottery ticket before scraping away the gray matter.

By the way, for those of you who followed me on another blog, this post is a rewrite on a piece I wrote several years ago. If it sounds familiar, that’s why.

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