The third speaker, Phil Segaloff, Esq. at the 2012 LCL/MBA “Managing Your Work Search” held the group in rapt attention as he spoke about how to successfully network during your job search to not only find job opportunities, but also to become more aware of one’s skills and desires, and thus target appropriate employment opportunities.
The most important job hunting activity, by far, is networking – or to spin it more elegantly, “strategic outreach.” This is one of those activities that powerfully evoke the urge to procrastinate. Drawing from his own experience when a lay-off landed him “between jobs” nearly 4 years ago, Phil Segaloff, Esq., now happily employed in-house as an Associate General Counsel, could identify with the struggle to leave a comfy warm house in the depths of winter to meet a total stranger for an “informational interview.” And he could speak to the angst of those initial meetings where he felt anxious, awkward, and inarticulate.
In the course of those countless interviews, however, he became increasingly clear about what he wanted, what he had to offer, and how he would be of value to a prospective employer. He quickly improved his interactive skills to the point that he actually enjoyed those encounters, all the while, acquiring new information, building his professional network, clarifying the area of legal interest he would pursue, and preparing himself to speak knowledgeably, cogently, and confidently at interview time.
Familiar as he was with that understandable fear of “imposing” on a busy lawyer when requesting an interview, he urged group members to recall that most folks are gratified by the opportunity to help another person, enjoy the chance to talk about themselves and their experience, and usually welcome that time-out for a coffee break that you are offering them.
In order to capitalize on the contacts he made, Phil mastered the art and science of recording (on Excel) and tracking everyone he met, noting the date of each contact, company/firm, position, contact information, additional networking contacts offered by that person, and useful personal data. By doing so, he followed up at reasonable intervals, updating that individual on his recent activities, and again expressing his appreciation for their interest.
No, it didn’t happen overnight. It was an on-going one-foot-in-front-of-the-other effort. Not everyone will find, as Phil did, the ultimate payoff of a “perfect fit” job that was conveniently situated at the end of a painless 10-minute commute, but it is certainly reasonable to hope for a position that is a distinct improvement over the status quo.