“Are You My Mother?” The 3 things you can learn about networking all from a classic children’s book

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“Are You My Mother?” is a classic children’s book that is a perfect analogy to the need to network to find your next job.

“Are You My Mother?” is the story of a hatchling bird. The mother, thinking her egg will stay in the nest, leaves her egg alone and flies off to find food. The baby chick hatches. He does not understand where his mother is, so he goes to look for her.

In his search, he asks a kitten, a hen, a dog and a cow if they are his mother. Each says “No.” Then he sees an old car, which cannot be his mother for sure. In desperation, the hatchling calls out to a boat and a plane, and at last, convinced he has found his mother, he climbs onto the teeth of an enormous steam shovel.

A loud “SNORT” belches from its exhaust stack, prompting the bird to utter the famed line, “You are not my mother! You are a SNORT!” I want my mother!” he shouts.

At this climactic moment, his fate is suddenly reversed. The shovel drops him back in his nest just as his mother is returning home. The two are united, much to their delight, and the baby bird tells his mother about the adventure he had looking for her.

What does this children’s book have to do with your job search? According to Berry Zimmerman, CEO of BizEnrich and creator of Gifted Referrals, “you are the bird, and the SNORT is a very valuable referral source. The question for your referral sources is, ‘Who do you know that can take me to my next job, hiring manager, or company?’ ”

Here are three things for you to do right now to find your mother … I mean, next career move.

  1. Get out from behind your computer (your nest) and meet people. Network, connect, and build relationships. Get out there and meet helpful, professional people! Naturally, aim for people working in a similar field, either in your target industry or in your target function such as sales, operations, or finance. Find events through your local Business Journal and on LinkedIn.
  2. Communicate your career goal. Zimmerman says “the bird’s goal was clear, to find his mother. Create a clear, concise and repeatable message about your goal.” A good example: “I’m seeking a financial analysis position in Chicago, preferably with a manufacturing company.” Or “I’m seeking a marketing coordinator position in a large technology corporation here in Seattle.”
  3. Track your network and stay connected with them for years and years. If you seek help once and then disappear, it’s called U-S-I-N-G. So write down everything at events, put the contacts in your computer, and get in the habit of keeping in touch.

Your mother is out there. Engage referral sources to find her. Be persistent, thoughtful, considerate and clear. The results will follow. Say, “Thank you” for referrals, even if they don’t result in a job.

Remember, there are companies out there who want to hire you and need your skills. You just need to find each other.

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