A couple weeks ago I started attending a local jobs networking group at a church near my home in Frisco. I am not sure why I felt compelled to show up, but I wanted to go see what it was all about. I have to be honest, I think it was one of the best decisions I could have made for my own career.
It was weird, walking in to a room of people that are under or un-employed when not only do I have a job, I have a job helping other people get jobs. The group didn't make me feel out of place but I could tell they were suspicious about my attendance. I represented the person who they were emailing, calling, linking into. I also represented in many ways a lot of no's, rejection emails, and unreturned phone calls. Here are the reasons I think these meetings are going to prove to be a great thing for me personally and in my career.
- In talking to these people I was taken back to some of my earliest days as a TPR and why I was better than most of my competition; I cared. I can remember the calls with the people who were desperate for work, the people who needed help, the people who needed a voice. I can remember placing a guy who had been out of work for 2 years. I can remember his wife crying when I called to give her the good news. I can remember the pride on his face when we walked with him to his first day of work. He still has that job, has been promoted once, and is still one of my best success stories in recruiting. Do you remember your best success story? I hope it was more than the biggest placement fee you earned or the best sale you made.
- Each of these people is more than the resume they use to represent themselves in their job searches. They are people. Each one is someones mom, dad, uncle, brother, friend, and neighbor. Each of these people have mortgages, rent, car payments, and dinner to worry about. Each of them is a person. Have you lost site of who you are talking to on the other end of the phone? Do you see resumes instead of faces?
- These people want to work, and not just because they want a paycheck. Most of the folks in my group were really good at what they did, and that makes it that much harder on them. I have met a call center manager, an aviation stress test engineer, an M/E with 33 years of experience, a controller, a senior buyer, and a strategic planner. I have met a helpdesk engineer, a mechanic, a financial planner, collections specialist, and a programmer. While their skills haven't matched the jobs they have applied to recently, all of them are skilled. Do you look for the skills in all the people you talk to? Do you counsel the folks that might have an uphill battle or do you walk away?
- What if it were me? What if I were sitting there as a job seeker? I would feel lucky to have a network of people all sharing in an experience that an outsider like myself can't fully understand. I would feel blessed to have a group so committed to people "landing" their favorite times are donuts and saying goodbye to people that don't need the meetings anymore. This group is self moderated by volunteers who keep up to date with job boards, movers and shakers in the industry, and members of the group. They schedule speakers, industry leading speakers in social media, resume writing, career coaching, and interviewing. In fact, some them know LinkedIn better than I do!
So what is my point? Simple! Please take a step back and remember these are people we are talking to. Human beings. Maybe it was you some day, maybe it was a family member, or maybe it is your neighbor. Not everyone we speak to is in this boat, but 10% of Americans, maybe more, are. Do you take the time on that 10% to help or do you move on? Many of you have a voice, an influence, the power to help. You all are experts at getting people jobs. Help people get jobs. Take a chance on a resume you may have normally passed over and see what you find. Share your knowledge with the people who need it. You have he power to rebuild self esteem, you have the power to teach, you have the power to champion people, you have the power to be humane to people who need it.
If you want to help my group, please share your own tips, tricks, and best practices that I can give to them. Share with them heart warming stories of success that can inspire them to keep going. Share with them your own humaneness in a tough time. Share them with a comment, share them with an email to me, or come to the group and present if you are in the DFW area. Please share with my group, and share with your networks as well.