Last week I wrote about informational interviewing and included some wisdom from Chris Harvey. Chris is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. She recently landed an exciting new job in the “civilian sector” with Aircraft as a project manager.
Chris was in the active job search process for 5-6 months after she retired, although she had been thinking about this move for many months before that. When I interviewed her about what she learned in her job search process, we told me that she got “great results from passive networking.”
Chris went on to delineate the differences between active and passive networking. Here’s how she sees it:
Chris Harvey’s Success with Passive Networking
Chris told me the story about how she got her job at Sikorsky, one of her target companies. It started a full year before her retirement when she met the President of Sikorsky, , at an Army 10 mile race.
Chris was leading the ROTC running team from UCONN and Sikorsky had generously donated the money to put the kids up in a hotel for the night. Chris wanted to shake his hand and say thank you for his company’s support. (oh, by the way, her team came in 2nd place out of 51 schools. Yah!)
Chris got introduced to Mr. Pino and they had a friendly 10 minute conversation about leadership. She mentioned to him that she would be retiring from the Army in a few months.
Chris asked him if he was looking for leaders that can make decisions. He responded “I’m looking for leaders who can take responsibility for their decisions.”
Chris shared with him that from the early days of her military training the Army grooms you to do just that. It became even more important when she became a Lieutenant Colonel. He then replied “Then you make sure that when you’re ready, you send me your resume.”
That was almost one year BEFORE her official retirement date, but the connection was made. Chris had not planned for this to happen, but it did. She considers this an example of passive networking. And it worked for her!
Your Networking Goal for this week
Try some passive networking activity this week. Tell your “story” in casual, unstructured environments and social gatherings. Float some of your ideas and dreams out there with people and see what happens.
Ultimately, you’ll need to be comfortable and competent in conducting yourself in both active networking and passive networking situations. Why not do both to take maximum advantage of the connective power of people and ideas? That’s the magic of networking!