Thursday, February 03, 2005

Networking your placement!

A job, a career....There are differences between the two but at this point in time lets restrict ourselves to a great job.

Before we go further lets look at this scenario.

You just completed your MBA (from a top college) and you are the end of your placement week and still without a job. A lot of your peers have been placed, but you are nowhere. You start to think that there is something odd about it. The problem could be that my peers are better, or the college placements cell flunked, or there are not enough jobs in the market.

Yes, it could be all of this or more. Lets cut back to the start of the MBA course. You joined the MBA course with full earnest, did well to complete the acads, had a good time partying, met a lot of good students and now as the year is ending you are waiting for the placements season (this is where we started!) to complete and you will have 3-4 offers to select from.

As we already know, that was not how it turned out. Now, this is what happened rather did not happen. You did not network. You did not think about the kind of industry you would work with, you did not meet with the people in that industry, you did not write a blog or take part in some community portal within the industry, you did not attend conferences in the process. In short, you did not start conversations.

Expecting that you would get jobs on the campus is not a bad idea at all, in fact a lot of stundets see this as a right to a MBA program. They are right and they wrong.

One, there will be lot of jobs in the campus placement program however, you may be a little different from the mainstream and "that company" may not come where you could fit in.

Second, there is the difference between a big company job and a great job.

A large number of people think that working in big and well established companies means a good job. But is that true? Is working with a big or large company equal to a great job? Probably not. A lot of times a great job and a large company do not go together.

A lot of small companies are more innovative, more exciting and work on cutting edge stuff than large companies. Atleast it is easier to do exciting work in a small company than a large company. Now, how many small companies would come to the campus and recruit you. Think about that.

If that is not the case, how do the companies find you or how do you find those kind of companies?

Seth Godin writes about the process of getting a great job.

He says :

Let's start with one assumption that has changed in just a generation:

It turns out that 100% of all job growth is now coming from small (under 500 person) companies. In fact, the big companies are shedding jobs, not adding them.

That wasn't true for our parents. It's true for us.

Also true: more likely than not, the best jobs, the most interesting jobs and the most secure jobs happen in small organizations.

SO: first conclusion: fitting in to get a job for the big guy is a bad strategy for everyone.

Well, if it's the jobs at little companies that we want, what's wrong with the current system?

In my experience, little companies are rarely so organized that they know just what slot to fill, what to call that slot and who to hire for that slot. In all the fast-growing companies I've encountered, a new job is just that... new. More often than not, companies bump into someone cool and find a job for them. Or, even more likely, they see someone really cool at ANOTHER company, wish they had that person and invent a job that they hope someone like that will fill.

Implicit in this reasoning is this: it's the Purple Cow that will fill this job beautifully. Not some automaton who will follow orders, but someone remarkable who will ask great questions and make magical things happen.

Why not print this blog out, attach it to a letter (not a resume not a resume not a resume!!!) and send it off to the place that needs you? If two or three or ten people did it, it might not matter, but if thousands of people started auctioning off their skills in the way it ought to be done (recognizing that you, not the factory, is where the value is) it could become a movement.


As Seth points out, if you are a purple cow (remarkable) and if you want that remarkable job then you should not follow the normal process of getting a job. Get innovative, be remarkable, find a remarkable job and do something remarkable.

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