Join Dr. Chaz Austin for an in-depth discussion in this video The granular database, part of Creating a Career Plan.
- The foundation of all your networking is what I call the granular database. You've heard the expression, "It's not what you know, but who you know." I take it one step further. It's not who you know, but how well you know them and how often you appear on their radar. The granular database, the home to detailed profiles of everyone you know allows you to track and deepen relationships with the people who can hire or refer you for work. It needs to be portable and electronic.
Yours will probably live in your smart phone so you can always have access to it. And you may not even need a special app to do this. My iPhone has categories for birthdays, related names, notes, etcetera and I can program it to alert me when I need to remember something like someone's birthday. Traditional databases called rolodexes back in the day contained the contact's name, phone numbers and address. A granular database includes this and email addresses and relevant websites, places they've lived and work, job titles, names of their significant others, children and pets, important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, hobbies and interests and personality traits and quirks.
Sweet spots I like to call them, like concerned about global warming, hates baseball, collects elephant carvings. You find work through the relationships you develop, but as your network grows into the thousands, you won't be able to remember details about everyone. Don't even try. Let your granular database store that information. So how do you get the information into your granular database? Glad you asked. Here's my tip. As you network, always try to meet in person and over a meal.
In every culture, people let their hair down and share things when they're breaking bread. Email, texting, tweeting, not conducive to that. Depending on your budget, it's coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. The more time you spend with someone, the more likely they are to feel comfortable talking about themselves. Let me give you an example of a granular database in action. Amy is looking for work in the tech industry. Via a mutual friend she's been introduced to Kathleen, CEO of a tech start up.
Kathleen has no openings at her company at the moment but she's agreed to have coffee with Amy. They meet, talk business and the conversation drifts to the personal. Amy begins to learn about Kathleen's life, married, wife is a cardiologist. They have a son who's nine and a daughter who's five. They own a second home in the mountains and enjoy hiking up there on weekends. Amy does not behave like a police detective or a reporter when Kathleen is telling her this. It's a conversation and needs to flow naturally.
After they've said goodbye, Amy writes down everything she can remember that Kathleen told her and then enters it into her granular database, including the alerts that call her into action. Relationships are built over time, so when they meet again Amy gets to fill in the blanks. Kathleen's wife's name, their children's names and birthdays, what other projects or causes Kathleen is involved with, etcetera. Amy then adds this to Kathleen's entry in her database. Obviously, Amy wants to work for Kathleen's company, but contacting her regularly just to ask for work is annoying and all about Amy's needs.
A more effective strategy is for Amy to contact Kathleen about things that are important to her. And one of the times Amy contacts Kathleen about something what would have interest to Kathleen, an email with an attached article about hiking in the mountains, a funny video of children playing together, Kathleen will respond with some version of, "I'm so glad you contacted me. "An opening just came up "that I think you might be right for. "Can you meet me tomorrow at 11 to discuss it?" This strategy works.
Versions of this scenario have happened for me innumerable times during my career. As it has been for me for years, your granular database will be your best resource for regularly staying in touch with your contacts, which is how you find work.
- Understanding the 21st century workplace
- Identifying your monetizable passion
- Knowing how to interview well
- Managing your search for work
- Negotiating salary
- Becoming a lifelong learner