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Career Networking Tip: Keep alligator happy if you want success

Keeping influential alligators is good for your career aspirations

 

Establishing contact with recruiters, HR personnel and potential rainmakers for job hunting has become easier through LinkedIn because you can connect with the target professional through your 2nd degree connections, Groups and even boiler template invites via the People You May Know section with 3rd degree connections.

The latter are often accepted if the other person’s agenda is to build a wider network or they see merit in your profile.

But (and I mean a really big but), if the invitation isn’t done properly, it also raises the possibility and danger of inadvertently insulting those very professionals who you need to be in your corner to achieve your end goal – an introduction and a chance to get your resume on the right desk and  job interview invite.

I’ve written tons of posts about LinkedIn etiquette, as well as a free downloadable ebook 5 Mistakes Professionals Make on LinkedIn that addresses professional conduct when connecting with people whom you don’t know in real life. The same etiquette and good manners that you demonstrate in the offline world is required in online networks.

I’m observing a break in code of conduct especially amongst the millennial generation. I wish someone would tell them that just because a professional is on LinkedIn doesn’t mean they are open to accepting your invitation or giving you access to their network unless they feel the connection is mutually beneficial.

There’s a Haitian proverb

Don’t insult the alligator until you’ve crossed the river.

 

Haitian Proverb about insulting alligators

 

 

I think this proverb applies to the situation.

You don’t behave obnoxiously with people who can be rainmakers or help further your career aspiration.

Here’s a real life example.

Way back in 2009 when I first joined LinkedIn, I received an invite from a young professional whose profile was incomplete, no profile photo and who didn’t respond to my inquiry about how we knew each other. It was a polite request on my part because I meet a lot of people and simply wanted to be reminded. I had no reason to remember him until he resurfaced in a shocking manner.

He started trolling me in an IFRS Group where I had numerous 1st degree connections from the offline professional world.

This person started abusing me instead of providing value to the technical questions that were the topics of discussion.

Then he made the mistake of mentioning my former employer and something very nasty which wasn’t true and  provided grounds for defamation and slander against the Troll as well as my former employer for their staff’s conduct.

I did 2 things – reported him to the LinkedIn Group Manager who blocked him and issued a warning to the Group to maintain propriety and secondly, contacted the HR Manager at my previous employers to discuss this person and his so-called connect at the firm.

Imagine my surprise when the Manager told me that there was no such manager in the firm (I had left in 2007 and attrition is high in that company). He took it seriously though and asked me for details of this young professional.

A few months later, the Manager called me to tell me that the person had applied for a job at the company and he had issued a notice that the person was blacklisted and wasn’t to be interviewed because ‘he wasn’t fit to be employed’.

A couple of Group Members including my connections wrote to me personally about how they admired my handling the situation and their own sense of disgust.  I emerged a stronger and respected member of the Group.

The difference between Troll and the others is the former didn’t recognize the alligator while the others did.

He made another mistake which can be summed in this Creole Proverb:

Don’t call the alligator “big-mouth” till you have crossed the river

Had the Troll played his cards right, the story would have been different. 1 phone call from me or my forwarding the resume would have helped him at least get noticed in a pile resumes because I had left on good terms to follow my dream.

Troll had caught my eye for all the wrong reasons. A Google search indicated that the same conduct had led him to be debarred by the professional body whose qualification was important for him.

This shouldn’t put you off from making introductions when you can or request introductions but be aware that when you make a request, the other person may do more research on you and an uncomplimentary Google search might mean a dead end to your request.

This brings me to the second tip for effective job hunting.

 

6 Degrees of Separation: networking with influential alligators

 

Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone on Earth is 6 or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.

In fact, it’s the same concept behind the parlor game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon where a group of players to try to connect any such individual to Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible. (Kevin Bacon Trivia: In 2007, Bacon started a charitable organization named SixDegrees.org).

The concept is well explained in this video by Veritasium and I encourage you to watch it in full.

 

 

 

The point is, it can work in your favor or even against you like it did for the Troll where there was a second degree of connection which went terribly wrong in his job search.

 

5 ways to stay in the Alligator’s good books

 

The adage “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know” applies to both job hunters and   self-employed professionals.

 

5 ways to stay in the alligator's good books

 

Having the right connections that are able and willing to recommend you is as important as a resume that makes you stand out above the crowd. Make sure you are adhering to the following 5 pointers to make your network viable:

 

Courtesy is not old fashioned – Manners still Matter

Assume everyone you meet whether in the offline or online world is either an alligator or has the potential to be one for you and needs to be treated with courtesy & respect. You don’t know who they know who might be someone you need to know (remember The Troll).

Even when you are leaving a job that you hated, make sure you part on an amiable note. Potential employers often do reference and background checks or if it is a closed industry, they know each other. You certainly don’t want to be given a verbal reference that is in conflict with a written one.

On the alligator note, here’s another Haitian proverb worth remembering

Only when you have crossed the river, can you say the crocodile has a lump on his snout.

 

Build your Network before you need it

Make networking a part of your regular professional activity and not something you do when you suddenly need a job. Start building your network of professionals with whom you share common interests, industry and professional backgrounds.

This will not only keep you abreast of industry developments but quite often provide you with an inside tip-off for a potential job.

Many companies offer incentives to their staff for recruitment referrals. You want to top of mind if your contact is in a position to recommend you.

 

Know Like Trust Factor

Make sure your network really knows you. People like to help out those whom they know, like and trust. If you make a new connection, whether it is offline or on social media, cultivate that connection with useful information and generally get to know them better. That way, if you need help the alligator who is in a position to recommend you would be able to do it with confidence and you’ll avoid the disappointment of a no response.

 

Exercise your Gratitude Muscle

Remember to always thank your connection for leads whether they work out or not. Acknowledgement of their stepping out to help you ensures they will do it again if required.

 

Become the Alligator!

Networking is a 2 way street. Just as you may need an alligator to help you achieve your goals, avail every opportunity to be a rainmaker alligator to someone who needs your assistance or recommendation.

It demonstrates your prowess as a well-connected professional. Helping others often results in help when we need it. The Universe always makes sure that assistance given is returned even if it isn’t by the same person.

Have you ever experienced the 6 degrees of separation in your job hunt or in setting up your business?  What about the alligators? Ever experienced the wrath of an angry alligator?

 

PS.  Do you understand the dynamics and purpose of this professional networking platform?

I invite you to check out 5 Mistakes Professionals make on LinkedIn. In this short guide, I’m sharing 5 key mistakes and potential areas where you need to be careful. If you’re making any of these mistakes, you’ll find doable tips to course correct.

Click on the image of the ebook to get download directions and start creating meaningful connections with alligators on LinkedIn.

 

Karmic Ally Coaching ebook on mistakes professionals make on LinkedIn

 

 

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16 Responses to “Career Networking Tip: Keep alligator happy if you want success”

  1. Natasha Botkin says:

    Great post! So very true in many ways! Great ideas! Xoxo

  2. I know I don’t utilize Linked In well enough, but have actually been stalked there as well! Next time I’ll contact the group manager–thank you.
    And I just love the Haitian quote!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      It’s a good move to inform the Group Manager at first instance for harassment. If the Manager doesn’t take action, you can report the offender directly to LinkedIn, Susan. There are some weirdos out there but thankfully, there are more awesome professionals who are always ready to help.

      I’m delighted you loved the Haitian quote, Susan. I’d found it last year and wanted to use it. Looks like the Muse finally found the way for me. 🙂

  3. Reba Linker says:

    Corporate or otherwise, it’s so important to learn more about the care and feeding of the alligators in our lives. Loved your story about the troll. It always boggles my mind at how simple it would have been for a young man like that to help himself rather than hurt himself.

    And, yes, you handled it exquisitely, which is, I think fodder for another post about how to turn obstacles into assets, as you did so beautifully!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Keeping the alligators in our life happy and content converts into opportunities and help when we need it, Reba.

      I haven’t seen the Troll around on LinkedIn for some time now and I guess he must have been banned or else has gone undercover.

      The Muse says I must write about turning obstacles into assets – watch this space. 🙂

  4. I agree you handled the problem with grace and professionalism Vatsala. Having spent much of my life in travel industry sales networking with peers as well as clients was just part of everyday life and I can’t imagine behaving so childishly. This person experienced a harsh lesson, but I hope that he took it to heart and grew from it instead of allowing it to turn him even more bitter. Thanks for sharing!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Fingers crossed he would have Marquita. Clearly the arrogance of having a coveted professional qualification had gone to his head but he forgot he was dealing with someone who had at least 20 years seniority over him. 🙂

  5. Millen says:

    Great suggestions that apply to corporate and entrepreneurial endeavors! I too was approached on Linkedin by people who assumed that I should accept the invite just because it was sent! And I love the Haitian proverbs – thank you for sharing!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      That’s something people who aren’t social media savvy forget, Millen, the right of refusal to connect by the person whom they’ve sent an invitation to. It’s one reason why it’s important to personalize invitations or provide a reason for wishing to connect. I have it in my profile for connecting with me and yet people ignore it or see it after I ask a few questions. The Caribbean is full of great proverbs and the one from Haiti is awesome. 😉

  6. Love the Haitian proverbs in this post, Vatsala! They definitely support your message. Although I am not very active on LinkedIn, I have had a lot of these types of men ‘troll’ me on FB. Generally, I am kind and considerate to them, especially if they comment all the time on my posts, and work to establish a harmonious friendship or relationship. I appreciate the way you handled your situation and it sounds like everyone in the group ultimately benefitted too. Unfortunate that the young man didn’t approach things differently, as perhaps it would have played out differently for him!

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Thanks Beverley. Trolls on Facebook is quite common and from what I can see, Facebook is very active in taking action on complaints. I prefer the courteous approach but bad manners is bad manners. It’s sad the Troll played his cards wrong because he could have added to the dialogue instead of behaving in a manner that got him booted out.

  7. Suzie Cheel says:

    I love this post and the alligator imagery is marvellous- Those 5 points are so important as we towards the life and biz we desire xx

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Yes, the 5 points do apply to our life as well, Suzie. I’m glad you liked the alligator imagery which is important to drive this point home to the intended audience.

  8. Joyce Hansen says:

    It’s amazing how some think being devious will get them ahead. In today’s world, it’s way too easy to get caught. Love the wisdom words of being the alligator and how “the universe always makes sure that assistance given is returned even if it isn’t by the same person.”

    • Karmic Ally says:

      Being devious can work perhaps once in a while but falls flat in the long run, Joyce. Better to stay in integrity and exercise one’s ethical muscle. There’s an alligator in each one of us that can emerge in the right setting. I love the way the Universe gives back to us when we give out to others. Good deeds never go to waste.

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Meet your coach

I work with driven, passionate, talented and ambitious professionals who've hit a speed breaker in their business or career create their desired breakthrough reclaiming control of their situation with customized strategies and tactics that work.

Using a combination of intuition and analytical skills, I help my clients identify their real issues with exercises to still their mind and allow their inner feeling to emerge in a place of confidentiality and trust. 

When my clients first come to me, they are not in a very happy place and need clarity about themselves and their chosen vocation. Their professional problems are playing havoc with other areas of their life. They know they need to take radical steps to change the status quo but they also know that they need support and accountability to get them their desired result.

 

I really get it, because at one point, I also experienced getting lost in my work rationalizing decisions that were detrimental to the other aspects of my life. I’ve struggled with and won battles of stress management, life balance and career decisions to emerge in a place where I can confidently say that I live my desired life according to my personal Manifesto and have created a business that provides me with a platform for my desired lifestyle and self-expression for myself. I want that for you too!

 
I adhere to the Certified Coaches Alliance Code of Ethics and Standards. A copy is available on request.
1st place BCB 2012
Email: Vatsala(at)karmicallycoaching(dot)com Phone:91 9818517664
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