This post originally appeared on the Business Journals site
LinkedIn is a great networking tool and I use it all the time. In fact I received the following via LinkedIn two weeks ago. I present it here word for word, only changing the sender's name to protect the innocent (or, in this case, the guilty).
Pop Quiz: How many flaws can you find in Randy's approach? The following was sent to hundreds of Randy's LinkedIn connections:
"I elected to communicate my immediate need homogenously to anyone who might be the source of my next opportunity. My objective is still a position in which my unique combination of business-building skills plugs in directly and supports those of the CEO of a $5 to $20 million company.
My priority, though, is to secure a position in the next two weeks that will enable me to bring my family from Dallas during the second week of June. This overrides the objective! My need is urgent.
Please let me know what I can do to make this happen. We can talk on the phone or meet if that will help direct thoughts on which of the people you know could benefit from someone adept in problem solving, dispute resolution and creative solutions. I appreciate your considering this very important request."
Flaw Number 1:While I applaud Randy's effort to let his network know that he is looking for a job, this is desperate and thoughtless. No recipient wants to be the "source of my next opportunity." They want to be talked to like a person.
If I were standing in front of Randy, he might have started with something like, "I'm sorry for the impersonal approach, but I could really use your help." As a rule, I don't recommend these broadcasts and the odds of this one generating a meaningful result are slim to none.
Flaw Number 2Randy's job search goal is squishy, selfish, and unrealistic. In my book, Cut the Crap, Get a Job, I spend an entire chapter on the definition of a good goal and bad goal. And nobody should be job searching without a great goal statement that you can articulate to virtually anybody including friends, recruiters, and your network.
Randy's goal is missing the single most important ingredient: WHAT FUNCTION? Does Randy want to be a Chief Executive Officer or an Executive Administrative Assistant? Or is he a sales manager or operations manager?
Another flaw in the goal: his use of "my unique combination of business-building skills..." This is not about you, Randy! His goal should state what he can do for somebody else. And I have no idea what "business-building skills" are!
Finally, "supporting the CEO of a $5 to $20 million company." So we, the recipients, don't know what type of function or what industry, but we have a very narrow definition of the size of Randy's target company. He would be better off saying "small to medium business."
Flaw Number 3The close of Randy's mission-critical request is very weak. Again, we hear a squishy description of "someone adept in problem solving, dispute resolution and creative solutions." Not helpful for me, as a possible source. However, even worse, the ending has no "call to action" or next step for the recipient. "Please let me know what I can do to make this happen." Make what happen?
I get it. Making this type of request is awkward, humbling and Randy is clearly desperate. However, imagine if Randy ended his blast with, "Please reply to this letter with any one of the following so I can get in touch with you:
Do you know of any open positions or any hiring managers I should contact now?
Do you have any favorite sources of open positions you can send me to? (Groups, associations, etc.)
Would you like me to contact you to provide any additional information?
Millions of employed and unemployed people are networking for their next career move. Don't be Randy.