Here is a nice article from Business Week of leveraging this time of year.  People have budgets to fill, candidates are not available, people are less professional so you can stand out.  Give it a quick read.

cruss's picture


"The new definition of networking is to find out how you can help other people." New? I heard that back in 2006.

What I'm really curious about is when he says "Orlando suggests contacting the top people in the career field that interests you most..." and "Calling potential mentors or head honchos of companies that interest you over the holiday season is a good bet. Many of them give their assistants time off while they keep on working, so they're likely to pick up the phone and answer your questions, say experts."

Some how this sounds like a bad idea to me. First, it seems to be the "hunting" that Mike and Mark talked about in the network cast. Second,  how many "head honchos" are actually impressed by a cold call asking for their time and expertise from someone they don't know or have a relationship with? Third, taking advantage of not having an admin available to weed out your call seems... well sneaky. Not the impression I would want to leave with anyone, including a "potential mentor".

Canyon R


asteriskrntt1's picture


I am guessing you are a High C, given your concerns about breaking these "rules".  These are not rules or laws of nature.  They are peoples' opinions and experiences.  Yours may differ and you may not be comfortable trying some of these.  That is fine.  Doesn't mean that they are wrong.

Here is my experience.

Executives are not executives because they were passive and waited for things to happen to them.

Lots of head honchos are impressed by cold calls and many love to give back.  I can tell you that I have had face time with about 100 VP and up executives just from a cold call/email.  I know others with similar experiences.  Obviously not all of them turn into anything but like they say, 70%+ jobs are not advertised.

I emailed a VP last week and asked for some face time.  He looked me up on Linked In, then asked for my resume.  In our meeting, he told me he had been looking for someone like me for 3 years.  Now I am progressing up the chain and have another interview scheduled later in the week. 

Lastly, many execs have been stripped of their assistants.  They answer their own email and phones anyhow.  They have caller id, voice mail, all the tools.  They are not stupid people and are often looking to build new relationships (I guess you forget the podcasts about building relationships and building a bench).  And they can also choose not to answer a phone or email.

There you have it.  Different people, different experiences, different perceptions.  Have a great holiday season.







cruss's picture

"I am guessing you are a High C, given your concerns about breaking these "rules"."

Yes, you are correct. I often get accused of inaction for fear of "doing it wrong". Didn't your mother ever teach you "If it's not worth doing right, then it's not worth doing at all"? Maybe my Mom is a High C also. I do consider myself a High D - High C and don't shy away from being assertive when it's called for. I just can't always decide when that is.

I'm glad to hear that things are going well for you. It sounds like you have taken a risk and it's paying off. Given your history of great input on this forum, it's not surprising that you are the kind of person an executive is looking for.

I do remember the casts on building relationships and benches, but being that I have a "person focus" deficiency then I often think of building down and not up. I think in terms of who can I put into my network and who would be on my bench (not that I'm in a position to need a bench). I rarely think about myself in someones network or bench. I see that this is something I need to work on.

What steps would you recommend an individual contributor take to network upwards?

Thanks and have a great holiday too.

Canyon R

asteriskrntt1's picture


Maybe you would best serve yourself by using a tool like  You can cheaply create an event in your area and people can seek you out instead of you seeking them out.  At this point, do what you find easiest (although that doesn't mean avoiding it! ;) )

Also, if you have someone you can make yourself accountable to or report to, that often helps.  Set a goal of meeting 2 new people a month and then report on it.  That is 24 new people, plus whomever they introduce you to, minus the natural attrition of the network.  You will probably net out at adding 30 people a year, which is pretty amazing.

I know an insurance executive who had a goal of meeting 5 new people a day.  He would simply walk outside his office building for 20 minutes a day and introduce himself to anyone he encountered.  And I mean anyone - a grandmother, some teenagers, skateboarders, delivery people.  Granted, most of us don't have that gift of courage to do that, so aim a little lower. 

Hope this is helpful. 

cruss's picture

I appreciate your advice, I think it's very helpful. I hadn't thought of checking for local groups before. I have recently joined the local Young Professionals group and am hoping to expand my network there as well.

I also like the idea of making myself accountable for networking goals. I have had problems with my "Keep in touch with" repeating tasks. I don't get them done on the day I assigned for them so they pile up and get put off more.

The big obstacle I have is a perception problem. I see myself as growing my own network, building it out with people whom I can do something for. I don't think about putting myself into others networks, especially those senior to me. I convince myself that I don't have anything to offer them and I would be waisting their time. (The High D in me thinks I should stop complaining.) I know this is something that I have to overcome. 

I am amazed at your ability to call up a VP and ask for time. What approach do you take when you contact them, how do you start the conversation?

Canyon R

asteriskrntt1's picture

I usually just say I am looking for information about opportunities, could you spare 15 minutes. Of course, if I met them at an event, or attended a seminar or lecture, I will always try to ask a question or meet them at the end. 

Then you can say.. "I was the one who asked you about the how to better get the IT people to provide me a timely budget" or whatever.  Or follow up on a question someone else asked "Wow Steve, in the hundreds of presentations you have done, have you ever had someone complain about wasting paper in the registration process?"  Both of these happened in the last 2 weeks and I now have a "relationship".

I also introduced myself to a speaker who did a presentation on IPOs the other week, specifically their client was Dollerama, the big chain here in Canada. At the end, they gave him a gift, so I asked to see it.  It was a big coffee mug.  So I jokingly asked if it was a Dollerama Mug.  He played along and said ..not sure, let me see if there is a $1 price tag on the bottom. 

Not difficult stuff.  You just have to put yourself in the position.

cruss's picture

That sounds completely doable. I need to take better advantage of these situations, and now I have an idea of what that looks and sounds like.

Thank You.

Canyon R

DPWade's picture

(I havent read the article)As a family we are driving up to NJ from Florida for the week before and during Xmas.  We decided to stop in D.C. for 2 days to take in the Federal Cheer and sights.  I know a good recruiter up there and let them know via email 2 weeks ago that I would be in D.C. for one business day, 12/21, and if they had any companies that might need my skills, blah, blah.

I now have 3 interviews in D.C. on 12/21.