Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | January 15, 2009

Networking: Do your Friends and Family REALLY KNOW what you do?

As most of you know, I’m in an active job search.

Editors NOTE: The only real difference between an ACTIVE Job Search and a PASSIVE Job Search is if you’re ‘burning’ or ‘earning’.

Well, I have a group of wonderful friends, and I can say that in the last 3 weeks I have been given at least a dozen solid job leads through my group of intimate friends. When I use the term intimate friends, I’m talking about the people you tend to know from somewhere other than WORK and you spend a good deal of time with. In my case it has been through our Daycare families and our Soccer families.

Last week, I spent an hour on the phone with one of these friends, because being well intentioned, he/she picked up the phone and started pounding their network for me. Well what this individual ended up with was a list of questions for me, about 12 questions to be precise.

Well what the situation was is that we often forget that we and the people in our ‘work’ network often understand the subtle differences between roles within a larger functional area, often our friends work in a different field and don’t know these subtle differentiations.

One great example was that they told a someone in their network that their friend (me) was an IT Guy. The friend said something to the effect that it was like saying I was a human – what the person really needed was what was my specialty – was I a Network Guy, PC Guy, Security Guy, Developer, Project Manager, Program Manager, Application Development Guy, Database Guy, etc.

So, next time someone who doesn’t have your expertise asks you what you do for a living, you might want to be a touch more specific, especially if it’s in the context of someone offering to ‘network’ for you.

I have always been a BIG proponent that your non-work friend and contacts add significant value because they run in different circles than your work friends, so if you are fortunate enough to have these individuals willing to work for you, then make sure to arm them appropriately.

For some reason I have found that I tend to have a lot of “SALES” type guys that I hang around with which is good because they tend to be great networkers. We also have a token Plumber and token Electrician in our circle of friends – those two individuals are mandatory- LOL.



  1. I have had this problem repeatedly. One of my friends who NOW understands what I did for years kept trying to get me to take jobs as a perl programmer. Now she has moved into my old field and understands why I was not qualified for the positions she kept sending me. THing is now I am too far out of the loop and been out of the field too long for her networking to do me any good. So guess I remain a retail slave.

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