Silent Treatment

If you don’t blow your own horn, who will?



You want to find a job. You need to find an employer who has an opening. You need to make contact with someone who is aware of that opening. But where do you find such a person?

In the job search world, you are most likely to find those people through networking. But you don’t like to network. Maybe you feel awkward, shy, or timid. How do you break the ice?

There is a school of thought that alleges that the one thing most people like to talk about is themselves. For some people, the mere mention of “Tell me about yourself” is enough to set them off.

Wouldn’t it follow that to break the ice with someone, you should ask them something about themselves? That’s all well and good except that them talking about themselves doesn’t give you much of an opportunity to talk about yourself. And if you’re not talking about yourself, how can you let them know you’re looking (for one thing); and how can you tell them about yourself and all the great things that you can do?

You can try leading them to where you want them to go. How? Ask them something, presumably about themselves, which is also the very thing about which you want to talk. Huh?

If one of the strong points of your background is that you implemented a company-wide cost-cutting program which improved the bottom line by X percent. Then you could ask your new networking friend, “Have you ever been responsible for cutting costs?”

If they have, their natural inclination will be to begin telling you about it. And, since you’ve done the same thing, you can contribute to the conversation on an even keel and promote your own accomplishment.

But, what if they haven’t done that? Simple. Make your inquiry more generic. “What has been your biggest challenge over the past year?” Again, their natural inclination will be to expound on it. Your contribution to the conversation is that your cost-cutting program was your biggest challenge.

By getting them talk about something they’ve done, gives you an opportunity to work your accomplishment(s) into the conversation. Which is exactly where you wanted to go all the time.

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