I am currently reading a book which I had heard a lot about but had never read. One of the reasons that I hadn't made time to read it before now is that I had heard that it is a book about building relationships and networking which are two things that I tend to do quite well. To describe this book as being "about networking" is like saying that Pope is a guy who goes to church a lot. That is to say that a description as simplistic as "networking" sells this book short. The book is called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and it is really worth your time to read it even if you are an extrovert or a skilled networker.
I won't summarize the entire book here but I will tell you about one chapter that I found particularly insightful. Chapter 18 is entitled Health, Wealth, and Children. Mr. Ferrazzi posits that health, building and maintaining wealth, and family are the three things that are universally important to every person you will meet. Those issues are common denominators that define each of us.
The chapter details some personal examples of times that Mr. Ferrazzi has turned simple business relationships into loyal friendships by supporting someone else's health, wealth, or family issues. Helping the child of a business associate to get a coveted internship, referring a person whose child has cancer to a world renowned doctor, or referring a job seeker to a personal contact in the field of his/her dreams. These are all things that Mr. Ferrazzi has done that have helped him to build lifelong friends and colleagues.
As I was reading the book I thought of times when I have taken the opportunity to help someone simply because I could and about the relationships those acts of kindness have helped me to build. In the 1990's I spent about a year and a half as the Director of Recruiting for a Big 4 Accounting firm's Illinois practice. I recall a young man whom I met when we were recruiting at a Big 10 school. He was a finance and accounting double major with a 4.0, good extracurriculars, and wonderful interpersonal skills. I really enjoyed meeting him and, of course, he was one of our top picks to join the firm.
I developed a good rapport with this candidate and he told me that his dream job was Investment Banking rather than Public Accounting. We had more than enough top tier candidates to fill all of our job openings so attracting this particular candidate to the firm wasn't going to make or break our recruiting season. Furthermore, if this candidate was dreaming of a career other than the one we were offering I figured that there was a better than average chance that he wouldn't stay the firm very long.
I could have done the easy thing which was to make him an offer and see if he took it. Or, I could have simply not offered him the job because he had told me that his career aspirations lay elsewhere. I didn't do either of those things. Instead I picked up the phone and called a friend of mine at an elite, privately held investment bank in Chicago and told him about this wonderful candidate. Long story short this candidate wound up getting an offer (which he accepted) from the investment bank. I helped two people by making that phone call and I solidified two friendships.
My business has been built upon a foundation of friendships that I developed long before I ever even thought of starting Ultimate Resumes. In fact I used to write resumes for free for great job candidates whose resumes sold them a little short. I helped a lot of people to get interviews for great jobs that way and most of those people were very appreciative of my efforts on their behalf. I have built many friendships by listening to other people and paying attention to what they want and need. When you can help someone to achieve his/her goals you will build a meaningful friendship for life.
Make acts of consideration and kindness part of your life. I have found that when I am having a bad day if I can do a favor for someone, cheer someone else up, or bestow a random act of kindness it makes me feel better. What can you do to help someone in your network with health, wealth or family issues? If you think about that question whenever you meet someone new or the next time you talk to a colleague you may find there are some great opportunities for you to help someone with an issue of great importance to him or her. Make this a way of life and great things are sure to happen for you.
Oh, and don't forget to read Never Eat Alone...it's uplifting, insightful, and completely worth your time.
This CollegeRecruiter.com Blogswap article is courtesy of Recruiting.com at and CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students and recent graduates who are searching for internships and entry level jobs.