Precession, as defined by the American polymath Buckminster Fuller, is the effect that bodies in motion have on other bodies in motion.
To illustrate, think of a honey bee (and, yes, this will help your job search!)
Now. Ever had a job interview with a company you didn’t plan on working for or had never heard of before?
Yes, in all likelihood. And how did it come about?
That interview was probably a side effect -- it came from your networking efforts in another direction, from an online job posting you stumbled upon, etc.
Would you like to make these precessionary job leads pop up more often, instead of relying on chance?
By putting yourself in motion, like a honey bee visiting more flowers, “you can find and get hired by the best companies you’ve never heard of,” according to Dr. Barry Miller, Manager of Alumni Career Programs and Services at Pace University.
And it starts with networking on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
“Say you’re looking for a certain type of employer, like a hedge fund. On LinkedIn, you search for people in your network who work at a hedge fund. Then you target somebody in your area of expertise. For example, you look for people in finance, accounting, or IT,” says Miller.
If you’re a recent graduate, aim to meet somebody who’s relatively entry level. If you’re more experienced, go higher when making contacts.
“When you find people and click on their profile, you may see they work for a company you’ve never heard of,” says Miller. And this is a good thing.
Smaller companies are the driving force in American employment, creating between 60% and 80% of all new jobs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Larger companies, by contrast, are not hiring en masse these days … in case you hadn’t noticed.
So try searching your LinkedIn network for small employers. When you find one that intrigues you, click the profile of the person who works (or worked) there and ask for a conversation.
Miller suggests sending an email like this: “I notice on LinkedIn that you work for a hedge fund in the area of IT. That’s an area I’m interested in. Could I possibly meet or speak with you to get the benefit of your advice?”
Never ask a contact for a job outright -- nobody will hire you before they know you. But it’s fine to ask to learn more about a company, to make sure it’s right for you.
By meeting people at smaller companies, you get the inside scoop on their corporate culture and prospects for growth, among other things. “Employers don’t advertise this type of information. You need to go and talk to people,” says Miller.
Of course, you can and should take this idea offline.
My own unscientific estimate, based on helping more than 10,000 job seekers over the years, is that one in-person meeting equals 15 phone calls and 30 emails in terms of the number and quality of job leads you can get.