Be a Courteous Driver So Your Network Will Help Your Job Search

drivingMy dad taught me to drive.  In doing so he taught me to be a defensive driver – always being aware of my surroundings and anticipating what the other drivers are doing assuming they are not paying attention.

Boy was he spot on.

Overall I’m a pretty relaxed driver.  I let people merge in when they need to, I’m ok with taking turns, I give leeway to semi-drivers and try my very hardest not to be in a position of merging at the last minute.

There are just two things I firmly believe in:

  1. Turn signals are an indicator not a right
  2. You should always, always do the friendly courtesy wave-thank you when someone lets you in

Last night on a walk with the girls we discussed the appropriateness, validity or need for the last minute merge.  This is where I should mention that one of the girls if from New York.  Enough said.

The general consensus was it is not acceptable to do the very last minute Indy Car slide in; the only exception is if you are unfamiliar with the area.

Here’s another interesting note: we noticed that people in Ohio will merge at the very first sign of an upcoming lane closure.  It does not matter if it is five miles out, they get over.  Impressing and stunning drivers from New York and Indiana alike.

I only get irritated with the “The Road is Mine” drivers.

You know these drivers, they are the ones that turn on their turn signal as they are coming over no matter if you are still occupying the lane or not.

Their mindset is “I turned on my turn signal letting you know I am coming over so get out of my way.”

I don’t think so.

You may have communicated with me via a turn signal your intent, need or demand; however, I am not going to put other drivers at risk because of your lack of planning and road self-centeredness.

Sometimes I run across people in job searching who hold the same skewed thought similar to turn signals.  “I told you I was looking for a job so you have to help me.”

Have to.

Not please and thank you, no, “I would greatly appreciate it”, but have to because I mentioned it.  I turned on my turn signal – move now.

I don’t think so.

First, expecting people to help you is a very selfish way to go about things.  People help you because they want to, like you or care about you – not because it is an obligation, an obligation that you create.

Second, perhaps they are not in a position to do so.  It doesn’t mean they will not in the future, but at this very moment they cannot.  That does not make them bad or mean, just a person in a situation of circumstance.  When the lane clears they may be more than willing to help you out.

Third, maybe – just maybe – in telling them you are looking for a job you have been remiss in giving them important information.  Did you tell them what kind of position, in what industry, doing what types of things, in what area etc?

Announcing to your network that you are looking for a job is too vague.  So vague, in fact, that it actually hurts your network’s ability to help you.  They cannot key into opportunities that align with your skills, abilities, needs and goals with “looking for a job”.  Nor are they your staffing agency to be on the lookout for every single opening and be compelled to send it to you.

Just because you turned on the turn signal does not mean you have full right to the entire road.  It is merely an indication.  How you use it from there is up to you.  Your next actions will determine if those around you help you or hinder you or even ignore you.

Instead of turning on your turn signal and pushing into the lane; try turning it on well before needed, take caution when merging and give the “thank you” courtesy wave when complete.

In other words, do not tell your network “I am looking for a job” and expect them to help you – and then behave badly when they do not.  Instead, let them know the important aspects and give appreciation.

Let your network know what type of job you are looking for, what role do you want to play, what are some of the key attributes of the position and in what industry.  Give them the key words to hone into.

When your network does help, because they want to, please do not forget the courtesy thank you wave!

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

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