It’s Not Who You Know. It’s Who You DON’T!


As a retained and contingent executive recruiter in the automotive vertical, I get many one-on-one consults from colleagues and friends asking for career development advice.

Invariably, I cover all the basics: job posting sites, how to approach them regularly, how to customize your resume for every job opportunity, how to write a resume correctly, visualizing your career destination: the company, the position and the final outcome potentials. But the number one thing I advise professionals, other than being connected to as many recruiters as possible (more on that in another OP-ED), is to reach out to colleagues you know and know you and like you… and get from them introductions to the professionals they trust, but that you don’t currently know!

The reason this is important is that typically everyone who already knows you has done what they already can to help your career advancement, and whether you know it or not, may have a prejudice even slightly, against you.  They may like you personally but might not recommend you to their company because they remember that time, whatever it was, that formed their opinion. But they can help you meet new people.

So, it’s not necessarily the people that you already know that will get you that next job, it’s the people you know, and who THEY know!!

And when these new contacts meet you by phone or in person – or even through LinkedIN, they have no baggage, no experience, and no history with you except that their trusted friend or colleague, also your friend and colleague,  recommended you for an introduction.

You now have a new networking channel, with a completely clean slate.

So, reach out to all those in your personal and professional circle and ask them for introductions! For instance, “Hey Mike, do you know anyone who works in Marketing at Toyota, and can you introduce me?”

That’s how I think you keep yourself fresh in the career marketplace.

Steve Parkford
About the author: 

Steve Parkford is currently the Principal at Parkford and Associates, Inc. He has also been an executive with Caribiner, Sandy Corp., Drive 180, LLC and Maritz. Follow Steve on Twitter.