There was a powerful scene in the fifth season of AMC’s award winning show, “Breaking Bad”. In it, Walter White (a.k.a. Heisenberg, a high school chemistry teacher turned master meth cook and drug lord) offers a potential drug distributor a percent of his risky business. What unfolds is a highly unconventional business dialogue, with far more tension than your typical distribution agreement or salary negotiation.
The episode is entitled “Say My Name.” It’s worth taking the two minutes to watch the scene included above but for our purposes, I’ll summarize. After offering to cut the drug distributor in for a mere 35% of Walter’s growing enterprise, the scene unfolds as follows:
Drug distributor: “Who the hell are you?”
Walter White: “You know… you all know exactly who I am.”
Drug distributor: “Do what… I, I don’t have a damn clue who the hell you are.”
Walter gives the distributor some background of his nefarious activities and the distributor realizes who he’s dealing with. Walter White: “That’s right… now, say my name. “
I thought of this episode when I was speaking with a client who had texted a former colleague and received a curt text reply along the lines of, “Who the hell are you?” The former colleague went on to say “I’m not in the habit of memorizing phone numbers.”
We’ve all done this before. I know I have, texted someone forgetting that you might not be in their contact list and the recipient had no clue who you were. In fact, this just happened to me this past week with a dear friend, my name wasn’t listed among his contacts and he didn’t recognize my phone number. Once he knew who I was, our communication improved dramatically.
This is important to remember as you’re reaching out to people and networking in your efforts to make a career transition or build relationships. Remember to identify yourself in the text, in other words, “Say your name!”
I recently read a blog post that suggested resumes may soon be a relic of the past. In the Forbes post, 2013: The Year of Social HR, the author points to trends indicating your Internet presence will be more important than your resume. The article states that “before you’re interviewed by a potential employer, expect the recruiting manager or hiring manager to check out one or more of the following sources about you: 1) the top ten searches on your name on either Google or Bing, 2) the number of Twitter followers you have and last time you tweeted, 3) the size and quality of your LinkedIn community, 4) the number and quality of recommendations you have on LinkedIn and 5) your Klout score.”
This begs the question of how you received the interest of the potential employer in the first place. Might it have been a resume? I certainly agree that a LinkedIn profile and online Web Portfolio can complement the traditional resume, but you’ll still need to tell a compelling story about your experience and expertise in the content of those online tools, especially at the executive and upper professional levels. How many executives are spending hours on social media, generating a following through entertaining tweets. And if they are, would your really want them running your operations?
I can see a strong social media presence being important for someone in marketing or advertising, but don’t you want your executives to be spending their time contributing to bottom line growth, running the company or their division? Even if you’re fresh out of college and just starting your career, do you really believe a 140 character tweet will get you in front of a hiring manager? And whether social media will completely replace traditional marketing as far as yielding ROI is not even up for debate at this point, it doesn’t and probably never will. Social media is just another arrow in the quiver of marketing managers.
Remember in the mid to late 90’s when there were dire predictions of Apple’s demise? The last time I checked, it remains an industry leading, technology powerhouse and has not gone the way of the dinosaurs. So too will resumes, in some form or another (LinkedIn, Web Portfolio’s, Online Resumes), always be with us. There’s no better way to share you skills and expertise.
Job searchers frequently make a major mistake during the holiday season, they stop looking for their next position. That’s a big blunder for two reason: first, companies DO continue to hire this time of year and second, it’s a great time to be networking and building relationships.
Networking is one of the most important tools in your job search. As is often said, it’s not what you know it’s who you know. To expand on that proverb, it’s who you know that gets you in the door and what you know that keeps you there.
‘Tis the season for holiday parties. What a great opportunity to reconnect with people, to find out how they’re doing and let them know what you’ve been up to. Reconnecting with colleagues, old friends and acquaintances is one of the best things you can do to land that plum position you’ve been pursuing or to uncover new and interesting opportunities.
Schmoozing at holiday parties is just one way of taking advantage of the holiday season, another is setting up coffee or lunch dates with people. As things slow down and shopping picks up, people are out and about and more accessible. Taking a breather from the holiday rush to sit down over a cup of coffee with an old friend can be a welcome break.
The thing to remember about networking is it’s about building relationships, having meaningful interactions and not just asking your contacts if they know of any job openings. You want to have a two-way discussion, engaging them on topics that are meaningful to them as well as to you. You want to think to yourself, “what’s in it for them . . . how can I assist them” while at the same time giving them information on ways they can be helpful to you.
People do like to help others and sometimes it’s just a matter of helping them help you. Having some targeted companies you’d like to approach or people you’d like to meet and asking your contact for the introduction can be the first step on the road to your successful career transition.
So remember, if you don’t schmooze, you lose. By enjoying the holidays and the people in your life, you can make this holiday season a happy and productive one. So get out there with bells on and jingle while you mingle.