Certainly the stereotype “It’s not What but you know whom you know “is often true. When people are in transition, I would add, “But in transition, who knows you is more important “because you are the one who needs a job and if people can’t find you, your job search will be unnecessarily prolonged.
I generally categorize communication as taking place on three levels: The lowest level is daily chitchat. We talk to people we know: family members, friends, and maybe others with whom we occasionally communicate, such as other job seekers. However, communication with job seekers is superficial as the only goal is to establish a connection.
The second level of communication involves passing on or receiving relevant or sometimes less relevant information. For example the news on television. This type of information is intended to be informative and is often rotated to dramatize it and keep viewers on TV. However, when the excitement peaks, we hear, “Now this commercial.” In this way, television broadcasters – which are corporations, after all – naturally generate revenue. In most cases, however, we only pass this type of information on to short-term memory. Nobody remembers news from two weeks ago.
The third level of communication has to do with ideas. That should attract you. You should be interested in the ideas of other celebrities or experts. Here we can get to know and understand the big picture.
How is all of this relevant to people in transition? Well, you want to be considered an expert and you want people to be attracted to you. When they check you out, you want potential employers to consider you an expert in your own professional field. The way to project this image is to communicate sporadically with the people associated with you. Note, however, that every time you communicate, your writing should be of greater value to them. If you have a little time, your connections will find that when you send them a note, it is indeed worth taking the time to read.
A good communicator during transition will know how to take advantage of social media. On the one hand, certainly you should connect with many people; on the other hand you must connect with prospects who could help you with your next job. Remember, when you connect with others, it is important that they are ready to share their networks with you. The power of the network does not rest with the person you communicate with, but with the person’s connections. You never know who you knows!