Walk on to any golf course between the early mornings and lunch time and you will see many men puttering about on their golf carts with other people. They’re laughing, talking, and having a good time. From a distance they are just people enjoying a nice time out on the range shooting a few balls around.
During the same time that is happening there are people eating in nice cafes or restaurants either for brunch or lunch. Then there are the people who are enjoying a really nice dinner in a high end restaurant to cap off their busy day somewhere in the world right now. Again, from a distance they just look like people enjoying a nice meal and talking.
Now lets zoom in to those conversations. What is really happening there? Why aren’t the people who are playing golf at work? Don’t they have jobs and shouldn’t they be working to make money so they can support what ever it is they do? This is regardless of those who are retired and grew up doing the golf grooming thing. So, bottom line….why aren’t they working?
Real Work Happens Outside the Office
The truth about what those people are doing is that they ARE working, in the form of networking, conducting business deals, and talking over the details of prior arrangements. The idea of all business being conducted inside a closed office is one for the movies to show, and enough though some business does get done in those fancy rooms, people are people and high-end individuals like to conduct business in a fashion that is enjoyable for them.
The golfers and diners like to conduct business in a setting that puts them at ease so they can focus on what matters. This is also the place where offers are made, such as promotions and new job openings. The reason why you will never see an opening online for a CEO position is because those only go to people they already know (like a boys-only club), except in this case it’s an executives-only club. This is why people from Ivy Leagues have a greater chance of getting high end jobs, not because they know how to do the job (that’s just a given expectations and many times they have no experience so they will be groomed by their network of connections) but because their family knows people who know people who know who to talk to about getting the job.
Those dinners’ that happen over an expensive meal are meant to cover what is happening at the company. What new jobs are coming and in many cases, the new jobs that are created just to bring someone they like in to the company. This happens all the time. The higher up you know people the more power they have to create anything they want, even job positions. These are the very jobs that normally never get posted anywhere because they are only by word of month and friends of friends and even associates or class mates.
Word of Month Jobs
In many reports, studies, and magazines articles, you find those never-heard-of-jobs through people you know or network with. I have been offered many jobs that didn’t exist because I have always been asked to come in and create programs for businesses. Would those jobs have been advertised if I didn’t take the job? Maybe, but the idea here is that companies are more interested in finding people who have proven that they know what they are doing and can see their work in action. This is better than reading a faceless resume. When people see what I am doing first-hand it takes out the guesswork of trying to find out if that person will be a good fit for what they are looking for. That is a better test than performing an interview.
In Keith Ferrazzi’s top networking book, Never Eat Alone, he explains the power of networking and why the top jobs always go to people who are connected with those at the top. These jobs are handed out because they see something in that person they know. More than 80% of jobs are found through a person’s network and the type of network a person has will depend on the type of job a person gets.
Rings on the Ladder
Many people complain that they never advertise the jobs they want online. I remember when I tried the whole looking for jobs online thing and found it to be a very depressing experience. Infact, if you look very carefully, the same jobs I was looking at a long time ago are still there on the sites today. Why is that? Well, those same jobs (ex. work from home, medical billing encoders, and sales reps for outlet stores, etc) are a whole business unto themselves, meaning there is a whole new business of making sure people take those jobs because the people posting them make money anytime someone signs up. Infact even the website The Ladders is an odd experience because if you are already making more than $100k (the only jobs posted on their website have to be more than $100k in salary) then chances are you are already surrounded by high-end opportunities through networking, your company culture, and even the jobs your friends are telling you about. So why would you use it if your company already posts all their jobs on their company website? Unless you plan on switching to another company.
So how does someone get out of that whole mess? If you want to improve the type of jobs you hear about you have to improve the type of people you associate with. Again, going back to Ivy League graduates, they have been around people who are successful in life and attend high-end events and parties. They mingle with other people who are successful and hear about opportunities that are not advertised. They end up working in jobs that are three or four levels higher than someone else who applied directly to the company would have started.
This is why birds of a feather flock together; why office assistants hangout with other office assistants and hear about more office assistant positions, why construction works hangout with other construction workers and hear about more jobs in construction, and why middle-class hangouts with other people in middle-class. If you want to find the jobs that are not advertised (i.e. executive level positions) and you have the knowledge, social skills, and some experience then you need to change your social circle of contacts and meet those who already work in those fields.
The last part I just mentioned is a difficult change for most people because if you have never been around people who have been successful their whole life and always been offered jobs instead of looked for them it can be a very intimidating experience. That is why books like, The Fine Art of Small Talk, The Art of Mingling, How to Win Friends and Influence People (I read this important book when I was in high school), Never Eat Alone, How to Make People Like You in 90 seconds or less, How to Work a Room, How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends, Conversational Speaking are so important to read. But very few people ever take the time to read these important books. Infact if you go to college, or even public school, no where in all those classes will you ever hear about these important books. These books teach you how to talk with people and make meaningful connections, they are the glue that binds us to other people. Something that is worth its weight in gold.
Creating Your Own Opportunities
Go on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and look at all the amazing ideas that people have come up with. Each idea for either a product or service is a business all by itself. These people, instead of sitting on their computer looking for jobs online, went out and created their own opportunities and gave themselves their own job. They created a good enough presentation for people to think their project was worth investing in.
The idea now is there are tons of different websites now that allow people to create all kinds of things on their own. Infact there are many websites, like Cafe Press and Threadless, that lets you create your own clothing line without ever touching a single piece of fabric. You just select the type of clothing you want to use, pick the style, and then upload your graphic image or text you want to appear on the clothing and then edit how it should look and then submit. You can create your own store online of all the different things you have create and post the link on your website or to give out to people you meet so they can see what you have done.
The ability to create any kind of business is so easy that it would only take you an hour or two at the most. You just have to be creative enough to come up with a fairly decent idea that people will be interested in buying. Even if the store is not successful right away (and you should never think your product or idea will be a viral hit right away, no one can predict that) you will have created something for you to showcase your talents that way if any employer is interested in hiring you then you can show them all the different projects you have created.
This is better than someone who sits at home all day sending out resumes to random employers for basic jobs that won’t go anywhere. If you create something at least that looks better than the person who does nothing all day. In either case, who would you hire?
Network Your Way Up
If you want to start networking then you can start by finding your cities main websites that tells you about all the events happening. A good place to start is your city’s Chamber of Commerce website and read about all the events happening. They always have networking opportunities. Here is how I would do it for Austin
Austin 360 Lists Tons of Events – Click Here to See
Austin Chamber of Commerce Events Calendar
Do512 – List of Events
Austin Business Journal – Events Calendar
MeetUp – Business Networking Groups
As you can see I found tons of events to fill my entire fall calendar already. I will probably find a lot of new leads, job offers, and amazing opportunities by attending them. You can do the same for your city. A few key terms I used were “<name of city> networking events”, “<name of city> business events,” and “<name of city> business networking events.” That will help you out so take a look around and use the website Meetup to help. If you do not find what you are looking for, then use Facebook groups or Meetup to create your own networking group and invite people to join. You can also use Leftover Swap so you have food for everyone who attends or you can make it a potluck event. You can even create your own rules, like you introduce one person to someone and then that person has to introduce someone they know to someone else and pretty soon everyone knows at least two or three people at the networking event.
Whether you are looking for just a job to pay the bills or you actually want to elevate yourself into a new social circle then you will need the people skills to get you there. I have seen many great people at networking events bomb terribly, not because they didn’t have the skills or experience in their field but because their social skills were not up to par. I have heard comments or off-the-mark conversation topics, that they though were appropriate at the moment, that didn’t leave a good impression. The problem with that is they didn’t see it for themselves, they weren’t aware that what they were saying was making the other person uncomfortable.
If you want to improve your opportunities, get to know different people around you anywhere, and be able to have a conversation with anyone anywhere then my advice would be to read those books (their at your local library) and study them like you would for a final exam. It’s hard work because you have to keep testing out everything you read until you finally meet that person where you have a conversation with them that makes the both of you feel like you have known each other for a long time. That sounds easy reading it but it takes a lot of practice before you can make anyone your friend.
Once you know how to do that the world will open up with lots of opportunities.
Side Note: All the Books Listed in this article and in the Books Resource section of this website I have read. So I am not just posting books that have catchy titles. I have already put in the time and effort.
Expanded Reading List
Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion
Your Network Is Your Net Worth
Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know Is Worth More Than What You Have
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
What Got you Here Won’t Get You There
Study: Half Of All Available Jobs Are Never Advertised
Who you know is more important than you realize
80% of Today’s Jobs are Landed Through Networking