I just spoke with someone who’s looking for a project/product management job in the Boston area (my area). He hasn’t been attending local dinner meetings of the PMI or the PDMA or any other professional society, so I suggested he start.
Making contact with people, networking, is the single most important a hiring manager or a candidate can do to start the search (from either side). Meeting a person, seeing that person face-to-face provides the hiring manager or candidate subjective and objective data that an email or a phone call just can’t do.I have a few guidelines for me when I meet people. (I developed this little checklist because I’m a hopeless geek and can appear rude when I’m not thinking about the other person.)
- Keep a smile on my face. If I’m distracted by my drive or work or the kids, I’m not going to look approachable and/or relaxed. I want to be approachable.
- Use a firm but brief handshake. I hate those limp-fish handshakes, and they bring out the child in me–I want to grip the other person’s hand harder and longer. (Go ahead, shake your head. I am 🙂 So I use a firm but brief handshake so I don’t do the macho thing with the other person.
- Hug the other person if they start it. I’m very lucky and have had a wide network of people I’ve met and worked with over the years. We have personal friendships as well as professional relationships. So we hug. But I’m geeky enough that I have to wait for the other person to start it.
Making contact–real human contact–with someone is a skill that every hiring manager and candidate needs to develop. You may not need a checklist. If you do, yours may be different from mine. But make human contact with everyone you meet, and you’ll find sourcing or searching for a job much easier.