Thursday, 28 October 2010

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

I  am delighted to say that I spend way too much time in Vegas (if that is possible).  If you haven’t spent time in this amazing City then you may not understand but if you have been there you will know why I am so pleased that we do lots of work with Clients on the US west coast as it gives me a great excuse to base myself in Vegas for extended periods of time.

Last December I was sitting at a Poker game in the Bellagio Hotel at 4am on the morning of the Vegas marathon which also coincided with the National Rodeo Finals and a tattoo convention.   At the table were four hard-core cowboys, a couple of tattoo superstars (I had never realised that these guys are like rock stars constantly being approached for photos/autographs – a bit like recruiters in many ways) and a few of the poker degenerates that you tend to play poker with in Vegas when you really should be asleep.  The free drinks were flowing and the banter was lively (as always) when suddenly all these well-rested, fit marathon runners started to trail past ready for the big race.  One middle-aged Vegas local who had spent most of the night somewhat drunkenly arguing with a man from Dallas that David Grey was a bigger name in world music than Frank Zappa suddenly announced that he was going to lose five stone in weight and run the marathon next year.  Well, this seemed highly unlikely as this man didn’t look as though he was shy at the buffet to say the very least and after a few minutes of laughter the conversation moved on.

I was back in Vegas a few weeks ago and bumped into the same Vegas local and guess what?  Yes, you know what I am going to say....he was about three stone heavier, denied ever having said such a stupid thing and offered me the following words of wisdom which is, I think, a Sinatra quote :"I feel sorry for those who do not drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day” before heading off to the poker table!   He has less chance of running the marathon this year than Gorillaz being asked to headline at Glastonbury again....

I was reminded of this today when I spoke to a Computer Forensics Investigator who we shall call Steve.  We first spoke just over a year ago when he was working on a short-term contract for a public sector organisation and not enjoying it one bit as he was desperate to get into a large Consultancy where felt his Client- Facing skills would really be utilised.  

Unlike our Vegas friend, Steve put together a real plan.  He called Line Managers from maybe fifteen of the organisations he had identified as where he wanted to work and although some of them weren’t helpful initially his persistence paid off and with regular calls/emails he slowly started to build relationships.  In my opinion, this networking is the absolute key to the job search.  Steve called me regularly becoming a real person rather than just a CV and because of that I really wanted to help him and when I was on a long car journey I would often call him just to chat about how things were going.  

Steve accepted a fantastic role at a major Consultancy today.  This role wasn’t advertised  (for all those people who don’t contact a company if there is no job advertised on their web site, trust me here, most roles in this area aren’t actively advertised) and the first step to securing this job was when he was invited to an informal meeting with one of the line managers he had identified a year ago.  Once he got to interview stage, he was able to make it very clear that he had targeted this company a long time ago and with this clear commitment it is no surprise he was offered the role!

I think this short story clearly demonstrates how important it is to differentiate yourself – whatever your level of experience – and take the time to build genuine relationships with people who are able to assist you in your job search.   If not, there is always the easy way to make your millions in fabulous Las Vegas whilst at the same time discussing the big issues of our time such as the relative merits of Frank Zappa and David Grey....

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