Posted: February 16, 2013 Filed under: Career Management (General), Job Search, LinkedIn | Tags: confidential job search, job search tool, job seeker, job-searching, LinkedIn, LinkedIn profile, outstanding accomplishment, personal brand, potential employers
Because I have frequently advocated using LinkedIn as part of your job search planning, you might be surprised at the heading of this post. After all, a robust online presence is essential to being found by potential employers, and LinkedIn is recognized as a key element of building and maintaining that robust presence. Right? Certainly, but that is not the whole story. LinkedIn does–or should–help you build and communicate your brand to employers; however, it also can–and often should–reflect the corporate brand of the companies you have worked for. So what possibilities does that open up?
Personal vs Corporate Brand on LinkedIn
One of my esteemed colleagues, Deb Dib, recently wrote an item in the Reach Branding newsletter (published by branding guru William Arruda) that brought out strongly what the relationship can be between your personal brand and your employer’s brand. In the short article, titled “Ditch. Dare. Do! for YOU,” she firmly maintains that “when you build your brand you are building your company. Your brand reinforces and enhances corporate brand attributes; it helps you make a mark on your organization, augment your company’s image and reputation, and increase your visibility and presence with all stakeholders (inside and outside the walls of your organization). In fact, if you’re not building your brand, you’re not doing your job!”
What does this mean to you and how you represent yourself on LinkedIn? If you’re conducting a highly confidential job search, you might focus on maintaining a more or less neutral tone in communicating your value to prospective employers, to avoid sending an overt message that says, “Hey, I’m job searching here, Mr. Current Employer.”
At the same time, you do want to get that message across somehow and don’t want to be so subtle about it that your target market doesn’t catch the message. One way to help do that is to match your personal value with what you have enabled your current employer to achieve through your contributions, in terms of presenting the company’s value and successes strongly to its target markets.
Here’s a quick example–something you might put under the brief introduction to your current position in the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile: “Planned and executed launch of new energy-saving product that enabled ABC Company to break into a competitive market and quickly increase its market share from 0% to 25%.”
You’ve given a nod to your company’s market success while also giving yourself credit for an outstanding accomplishment. Of course, you could do more than that. You could include some wording in the Summary section of your profile that references the company you currently work for and puts it in a nicely positive light. That might be of interest to people who are searching for companies that do what your employer does and does well.
The only important point to remember in that case is that you will need to change that section when you change employers, so it reflects your new employer and not the former one.
LinkedIn As an Ongoing Job Search Tool
Having said the above, I want to emphasize that LinkedIn’s value as an ongoing job search tool remains strong today, despite the many changes that have been initiated in recent months. It’s important that nearly every job seeker (active at the moment or not) makes sure he or she is well represented on LinkedIn. Your perceived value to employers must form a key element of that representation.
If you don’t already have a compelling, well-organized LinkedIn profile, you really should be giving serious attention to it. Whether you take care of it yourself, have a friend or colleague do it, or hire someone else to do it for you, you owe it to yourself to make it happen.
Posted: January 10, 2013 Filed under: Job Search, LinkedIn | Tags: job search mode, job search tip, LinkedIn, network thoughtfully
Sometimes people just do not understand what networking is about–or not about, as the case might be. If you abuse the process, you will probably pay the penalty and not reap the rewards you can gain from thoughtful networking…that is, networking that respects the rights and time of others. A post I read recently on Tim Mushey’s blog (Sell-Lead-Succeed) has some very pertinent points to make about this concept.
Un-Thoughtful Networking on LinkedIn
Tim had a frustrating and unpleasant experience with someone who connected with him on LinkedIn and then stepped far over the line into inappropriate territory to take advantage of that connection. Here’s just a little of what Tim had to say about the situation in his blog:
“Unfortunately LinkedIn does not have a ‘disconnect’ button, where you can ‘relieve yourself of the burden’ of networking with somebody who just does not get it! You can remove a connection, but it takes some work….Would you try to sell somebody your products and services from the moment that you met them in person? I would hope not! So why should it be ok online?
“Network ‘virtually’ like you would ‘personally.’ Show up, be responsive and care about your connections. The last thing you want is for people to…’disconnect’ with you soon after accepting your requests.”
How to Network Thoughtfully in Job Search Mode
First, do your homework! Determine whether there’s the potential for a mutually beneficial relationship before you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn (or Twitter or….). If you’re a big-time network builder (LION, on LinkedIn, for example), you might not stop with this criterion, but I think it’s a good one to begin with. In other words: Is there at least the potential for you to give as well as get at some point? If not, why should that person want to connect–and stay connected–with you?
Second, understand that “remoteness” (electronic rather than in-person contact) does not excuse pushiness, self-centered and relentless pursuit, or just general bad manners. No one deserves to be disrespected like that, remotely or otherwise. We used to have a sign in the break room at a company where I worked that read: “Your mother doesn’t work here. Clean up after yourself.”
The implication was, of course, that you were expected to take care of things appropriately and not put the burden of that onto someone who wasn’t responsible for your behavior. You should, in fact, behave as if your mother were looking over your shoulder and saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t do that–THIS is what you should do”!
Third, express appreciation for any help, ideas, etc., that your new connection shares with you. We all like to be valued when we make an effort to contribute something. Even if you can’t use a suggestion now, for instance, you can say “thank you very much” and file it under maybe-I-can-use-this-later.
Posted: December 8, 2012 Filed under: Career Management (General), High-Tech Tools, Job Search, LinkedIn | Tags: job search campaign, job search tools, job seekers, job-searching, LinkedIn, online networking, online presence, recruiting methods, technology
It makes good sense to keep an eye out for new job search tools that could help you manage your job search–even your ongoing career–more effectively. In other words, tools that save you time, effort, frustration, and so on. We live in a technology age, so it stands to reason technology in one form or another should offer you very useful tools for your job search, right? Maybe…maybe not.
Job Search Tools that Fail to Fulfill Potential
Numerous companies have come up with and/or promoted the use of certain services as having an exciting role in job searching–whether to employers who will pay to use them to source candidates or to job seekers who hope the services will give them a leg-up on the competition. However, as you might expect if you think seriously about it, the likelihood that all of them or even most of them will actually prove valuable to many job seekers is not guaranteed great. What’s sad is, if you put too much faith in these and spend a lot of time and energy trying to use them to jump-start your job search, you might not only be disappointed at the results (or lack thereof) but also have cost yourself valuable time you could have spent more productively.
I just read a “roundup” item on ERE.net by John Zappe and Todd Raphael, called “Not Just a Spanking but a Hard Spanking,” that references a post on Talent HQ by Jason Buss, titled “The Top 7 Recruit Fails of 2012.” Zappe and Raphael questioned a couple of Buss’s choices for failed recruiting methods, but presumably not the others. Here’s the list, in brief, with the worst “failure” in #1 position:
- Talent Communities
- Social Recruiting
- Taleo Acquisition
- Mobile Recruiting
- Recruiting with Pinterest
Of course, this was put together from the perspective of employers/recruiters, but it’s one of those topics that should still interest you as a job seeker or potential job seeker. The more you know about what’s working for employers and what’s not, the better armed you are to conduct a well-thought-out job search campaign.
What is a Worthwhile Job Search Tool?
If you’re looking for tools that will do most of the work for you in a job search, you’re probably wasting time. I have yet to see any of the promoted tools ranked high enough to do that. Any that provide verifiable benefits seem to expect you to do some actual work yourself! If the tools and techniques you’ve been using recently aren’t producing good results, maybe it’s time to reexamine what you’re using and check out others that you haven’t gotten to yet. Just don’t jump on the bandwagon and ride it happily along without evaluating the time you spend on the tool against the payoff you receive from it.
Researching companies, making a case for your value even where there are no advertised openings, becoming visibly active in your field/industry, establishing a strong and professional online presence…these are the kinds of tools that so far have been widely acknowledged as a worthwhile investment of your time and energy.
So What About LinkedIn?
While I have some concerns about the course LinkedIn seems to be taking lately (I’m still not a fan of the new “Endorsements” provision, for example), I still believe it’s a potentially valuable online networking and job search tool, if you use it wisely. For example, establish some real relationships with key people in your LinkedIn network, rather than just making it a numbers game. (“I have 500 connections.” “Well, I can beat your 500–I have 1,000!”) I don’t believe LinkedIn is going away any time soon, which I do think is a good thing. The trick will be to find out how to make it work well for you.
Posted: October 17, 2012 Filed under: Career Management (General), Job Search, LinkedIn | Tags: activity notification, career management tool, career strategy, confidential job search, job search, LinkedIn, LinkedIn profile, skills "endorsement"
I make no secret of the fact that I consider LinkedIn a valuable job search and career management tool. I recommend it strongly to my clients for that reason. However, as with most things, I know there are caveats regarding how and when LinkedIn is used–in other words, how you manage your participation as part of your overall plan. So here are just a few key points to consider when integrating LinkedIn into your career-related activities.
Caveat #1: Confidentiality is a Challenge
As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re conducting a confidential job search and decide it’s time to update or revamp your LinkedIn profile accordingly, you need to be aware that unless you turn off your activity notification feature first, everyone in your network will receive notice that you’ve just updated your profile. Assuming you’d rather not overtly bring that fact to the attention of your employer (including the colleagues you work directly with, as well as your boss), that notification is probably not a good thing. Remember, you can always turn the notification feature back on after you’ve posted your updated profile.
Caveat #2: LinkedIn Keeps Changing Things
I don’t know how often LinkedIn changes how various features work or makes other changes you might want to know about, but I do know it happens–and you won’t necessarily know unless you review your account and related information regularly. One of my colleagues recently posted on an e-list that when she was putting in a client’s new profile information–specifically, populating or repopulating/editing an employment section–there was a check box that had to be UN-clicked to prevent the client’s connections from being notified about the update, even though his activity notification feature had been turned off! She thought it might not be on everyone’s profile–maybe only on the latest/present employment section. However, it does raise a red flag for any LinkedIn user engaged in a confidential job search.
Caveat #3: New Skills “Endorsement” a Time-Suck?
In my professional groups, LinkedIn’s new skills “endorsement” feature is a controversial topic. Many people are viewing it as a time-suck feature with little or no long-term value, while others say the feature is in the early phase of its existence and it’s too soon to decide one way or the other. So far, I haven’t run across anyone who says it’s a great idea. Apparently, its primary purpose is to help recruiters search for people with skills they need, maybe with added value because others have “endorsed” the individual as possessing those skills. However, the endorsement can be done with a knee-jerk click of your mouse, and I’m not sure how much that says about the thought behind the endorsement or the value of it.
Your Needs Determine How to Use LinkedIn
You can’t just put LinkedIn on autopilot and let it run without paying attention. That doesn’t mean you have to go on 5 times a day to see what might have changed, what new action you need to take, etc. It simply means you must evaluate the specific needs of your job search and career management and then make your LinkedIn participation a thoughtful part of that picture.
Posted: September 27, 2012 Filed under: Career Management (General), Job Search, LinkedIn, Trends--New and Changing | Tags: career management, job search, job search tools, job seekers, Pinterest vs. LinkedIn, visual resume
In some ways, we are awash in potential job search tools that are intended to–or purport to–provide job seekers with valuable assistance. Some of the tools are relatively new, while others have been around for some time (years, even). From what little I know of Pinterest (not much, I admit), I would not have included it in the category of a useful job search tool. LinkedIn, on the other hand, I know well and have a good opinion of in that regard. Still, I do try to keep an open mind, because new developments emerge frequently and can change over time into something bigger and more useful than at first expected.
How Does Pinterest Stack Up Against LinkedIn?
Actually, this isn’t a fair question, for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. However, I recently read an online article titled “10 Tips: Use Pinterest to Get a Job,” by Michelle Rafter (SecondAct.com), that suggested ways Pinterest could be useful in a job search, so I decided to at least consider how that might work. Below are the 10 ways Rafter suggests Pinterest might help; but first, I want to share the following quote from her article: “‘If you’re in a creative or design field, it’s an amazing place to build a portfolio or create a visual resume,’ says Annie Favreau, managing editor at InsideJobs.com….” My take on this is that Pinterest might be more useful for those of you in or targeting those fields than it would to general and/or senior management/executive job seekers.
Ms. Rafter’s 10 Tips:
- Optimize your Pinterest profile.
- Set up an online resume and portfolio.
- Dedicate a board to careers you’re curious about.
- Create boards for companies or industries you’d like to know better.
- Follow experts. Keep up with employment trends….
- Leave comments.
- Wander around. Do some browsing….
- Protect your work.
- Be professional.
- Watch out for spammers.
What LinkedIn Does Best for Job Seekers
Pinterest definitely started out as a personal-expression and personal-interest-organizing venue. To my limited understanding, it still focuses heavily in that direction. Unless you’re in a creatively oriented field, I suspect using Pinterest for your job search will have limited usefulness. As Rafter’s article points out, “Pinterest lets you save photos or images from news stories, blog posts or other online content in the form of pins that are organized into folders called boards.” So you could presumably steer your Pinterest account in at least a quasi-professional direction. However, it seems to me that would be challenging if you also have a very personal focus alongside the professional one.
Unlike Pinterest, LinkedIn has been largely geared toward professional activities and online presence for as long as I can remember. Although its setup, offerings, etc., have changed from time to time over the years, the professional/business focus seems to remain. That means the majority of job seekers who are serious about their career management planning and execution take their LinkedIn presence just as seriously. You won’t find news about their family outings or Friday night parties highlighted on there, as you might on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. This doesn’t mean your LinkedIn profile has to be dry-as-a-bone dull, but it does mean people (i.e., employers/recruiters) expect you to have a professional presence there. Also, in addition to your profile, you should take advantage of some of LinkedIn’s other features, which includes checking out and getting involved in at least a few LinkedIn groups with relevance to your field, industry, etc.
Key Point about Pinterest vs. LinkedIn as Job Search Tools
Like anything else, it’s possible to go to one extreme or the other on subjects such as this. I prefer the middle ground that evaluates each option in terms of possible benefit and implements or doesn’t implement action accordingly. It’s a question of potential value versus the time investment required to make it pay off.
Posted: August 13, 2012 Filed under: Career Management (General), Interviewing, Job Search, LinkedIn | Tags: company research, job interviews, job search, LinkedIn
Recently the presenter of a teleseminar I was participating in made a comment that blew my mind. She mentioned an experience where only 2 of 10 candidates for 2 job openings actually knew what the company did! In other words, 8 candidates had not bothered to do basic research about the company before they went into the interview. Can we say, “waste of time”? And not just the time of those candidates but, even more important, the time of the company employees interviewing them.
I would be willing to bet that situation left a terrible impression with the interviewers, and it’s not the kind of impression you want to leave when you’re conducting a job search–whether or not we have a difficult job market (which we do). If you or someone you know is tempted to avoid the research stage, my advice is: “Don’t do it!” Aside from a genuine personal emergency, the only reason for skipping company research in your job search is, I’m sorry to say, laziness.
Where to Do Company Research for Your Job Search
You have numerous resources available to you both online and offline. It makes good sense to split your time and effort between the two, although not necessarily 50-50. Below are a few suggestions to consider; however, don’t feel you should limit yourself to those.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn offers more than one way to research companies and the people who work there or used to work there. For example: At the top of the screen, click on the “More” button and then on “Skills and Expertise.” Enter a skill you have that’s key to the work you do, then tell it to search for that term. When I entered “Interview Preparation,” the page that came up included 8 Interview Preparation Professionals (3 of whom I know personally); 4 Interview Preparation LinkedIn groups; Related Companies (those that use or provide such skills to others); and Related Locations. If I were interested, I could click on one of the “Related Companies” and see what it is/does.
- Manta: This site is geared toward small businesses. It lets you search by top industries, US companies and worldwide. Although you can’t get direct information about large companies, you can, for instance, put in “Cisco Systems” and do a search, which brings up a list of companies that sell and/or install Cisco products.
- Corporate Information: If you have a particular company you want information on (especially financial information) and don’t mind spending $59, you can order a report from Wright Investors’ Services. Other sites that also charge access fees can be much more expensive, such as Hoovers, and they generally aren’t affordable for an individual.
- Universities and colleges: Sometimes educational institutions will have library reference materials that are available not only to students but to alumni. If you’re a graduate of a particular institution, check to see whether it has such resources and will allow you to use them.
- Local business newspapers: The Business Journal company publishes different versions for numerous geographic locations, and it has good information on companies–what they’re doing, who’s being promoted or has left a company, and so on. For example, you can subscribe to the electronic version or both electronic and print versions of the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. You can also subscribe to their annual Book of Lists, which has information on hundreds of companies in numerous business categories.
- Chambers of Commerce: In some Chambers, members will be primarily small businesses rather than large companies, but not always. Regardless, they can sometimes be a good source of information regarding businesses located in their geographical area, whether or not those companies are Chamber members.
Using Company Research to Prepare for Job Interviews
As I mentioned at the beginning, it’s hard to believe anyone would go into an interview without researching the company. In fact, I strongly recommend that clients do that before they submit their resume. Whether online or offline, it’s rare, if ever, that you won’t find at least some information to give you a few insights into what the company does–its products or services, its target customers, and so on. Use that information to help you figure out how you could fit in and become a valuable contributor. Then keep that in mind as you prepare for the interview.
Posted: July 9, 2012 Filed under: Career Management (General), Job Search, LinkedIn | Tags: LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn profile current, online presence, potential job opportunities, profile headline
You hear repeatedly that you need to be on LinkedIn and that employers look there to source and check out potential employees. Maybe by now you think you have heard this enough times and really should not have to hear it one more time. Sorry! I need to beat that drum again, along with many of my colleagues and writer Maureen Sharib, who wrote an article for ere.net called “LinkedIn Lemons to Lemonade” about outdated LinkedIn information. You see, it just isn’t enough to put your data into your shiny new LinkedIn profile and leave it there indefinitely.
Why Keeping Your LinkedIn Profile Current Matters
The thrust of Sharib’s article actually had to do with a client who gave her a list of people she might want to add to her database and the fact that she found many of those people weren’t at the companies listed anymore or had been promoted, with a new job title. However, she used the initial names as subtle leverage to find out the names and titles of relevant individuals who were currently employed at those companies; those individuals were potentially of interest and use to her as a recruiter. While that’s an interesting fact from her perspective, it might not mean much to you unless you’re a recruiter.
However–and it’s a big however–it should mean something to you that the people who were on that original list might have missed out on potential job opportunities because they weren’t keeping their LinkedIn profiles up to date. If, for example, you currently work at a company that someone is interested in recruiting people from, you might not turn up in the search because you neglected to add your present job to your profile. The recruiter would have no way of knowing that you work at the company of interest.
Reason #2 for Keeping Your LinkedIn Profile Current
When you apply for a new position and that company checks you out on LinkedIn, which happens a lot, the fact that your profile shows you as still at the company where you previously worked suggests you don’t invest enough effort in staying on top of things. Your online presence represents a key piece of how you market yourself to the world, both actively and passively. It can and should stay current. What’s more, it doesn’t really require a huge amount of time and energy. Add it to your auto-reminder list or however you keep track of the tasks you need to complete periodically. Then take a few minutes to visit your LinkedIn profile and make sure it’s current and as fresh as possible. If you take on a new responsibility at your company, work on a high-profile special project, etc.–that’s worthwhile news to add to your LinkedIn profile, unless all or part of the information is company-confidential/proprietary.
Bonus point: If you use your profile headline to showcase your current title, you’re not maximizing a valuable piece of real estate. Saying “Vice President of Operations, ABC Corporation” advertises ABC Corp. as much as it indicates your level and area of specialization. That information will be in your Experience section, and if desired, you can even include a reference to it somewhere in your Summary. Consider using the headline to say something unique about yourself instead. Maybe something like “Successful Startup-to-IPO Strategist,” for example. (I threw that one in off the top of my head. You might be able to come up with something better if you think about it.)
Posted: July 3, 2012 Filed under: Career Management (General), LinkedIn | Tags: career management, career management strategy, LinkedIn, LinkedIn connections, LinkedIn strategy, network
Unless you’re a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) whose goal is to collect many thousands of connections in your network, you probably don’t spend a huge amount of time trying to increase your network. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whom you ask. As a disclaimer, I should mention that I’m a conservative LinkedIn member. I currently have somewhere between 300 and 400 connections in my network–I don’t keep constant tabs on the number, so that’s all I can say without looking it up–and it has taken me a few years to reach that point.
Questionable LinkedIn Advice on Adding Connections
I’ve been troubled at the switch LinkedIn has made from advising you to add only people you know personally or have a strong link to (such as a 2nd-level connection through someone you know well, who has requested an introduction from that 1st-level connection). Now they say, “Why might connecting with _______ be a good idea? __________’s connections could be useful to you.” My concern about this is reflected in an article I just read on ERE.net, “How having as Many LinkedIn Connections as Possible Will Increase Your Revenues by 42%,” by Carol Schultz.
Schultz comments that she appreciates the value of creating future opportunities; however, “I just believe that connecting with total strangers is not the best strategy for creating those future opportunities.” She also says that “although I connect with people I know, others don’t….So what good do they do to have them in your network?” Good point! I’m definitely not comfortable recommending someone I don’t know, so if you are asked to do that by someone, how comfortable are you going to be with responding to that request? Conversely, if you have a request to make, is it going to feel awkward, be unproductive, etc., to do that to someone you have no real connection with?
Career Management LinkedIn Strategy
As Schultz also indicates in her article, you need to have a genuine LinkedIn strategy, so you’re not “just slinging spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks”! You need to determine the following, for starters:
- Why you’re on (or considering joining) LinkedIn
- What you hope or expect to gain from being there–similar to the item above
- Whether you have–or can create–a profile that’s professionally sound and communicates strong value
- If sheer numbers are your focus, maybe Facebook is a better place for you to be
LinkedIn can be and has been a powerful career management tool; however, it’s not magic. You must do a lot more than wave a wand in the air, mumble incantations or amass thousands of LinkedIn connections to obtain useful results from it. Career management really doesn’t offer much, if anything, in the way of easy shortcuts; an effective LinkedIn network isn’t one of them.
Posted: May 23, 2012 Filed under: Career Management (General), Job Search, LinkedIn | Tags: career management, growing your network, healthy job search network, job search, job search network, networking
A successful job search can depend heavily on having a healthy network. However, you won’t have one until you build it, and you won’t have it for long unless you nourish or sustain it! Note: Sustain means to “strengthen or support physically or mentally,” and that’s as critical for a healthy job search network as it is for anything else you expect to be–and remain–productive for you. When I started thinking about this topic, I decided to do a quick search for ideas offered by other writers online, and I immediately found one that fitted neatly with what I was thinking. It’s called “Planting Seeds, Growing Your Network,” by Jennifer Miller. I’m sure I’ll find others if I keep looking.
Build a Strong Job Search Network
I should probably consider calling it a career management network, because that’s really what it is. You can’t have a healthy network if you only do something about it when you’re in the midst of a job search. It has to be an ongoing activity. So how do you build a strong job search or career management network? Be selective, for starters. Your goal probably isn’t to become a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker), not even to amass 500+ contacts in your LinkedIn network–although there’s nothing inherently wrong about reaching that number. At this stage, though, I believe it’s at least as much about quality as it is about quantity and maybe even more so.
At the same time, you don’t necessarily want to restrict your networking to online resources (social media and the like). Those are just one potentially useful venue. What about offline groups or organizations you belong to or have some kind of connection with? You might participate in sports clubs, book clubs, special interest groups, charitable organizations, or any of a number of other organizations that have at least the potential to become a career management resource. Since you’re presumably already contributing in some way as a member, you have a head start on gaining positive visibility and being viewed as someone who gives rather than just takes.
Sustain Your Job Search Network
Jennifer Miller has some suggestions about this in her Q&A article. In response to a question about how to devote time to networking when someone is very busy, she says, “Nourishing your network need not be as time-consuming as you might think. You don’t need to make endless rounds of ‘work the room’ type meetings.” Then she mentions three things you can do to build and maintain networking momentum:
- Send a congratulatory note or interesting article to a colleague.
- Dash off a short “how are you doing” email to someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
- Update your LinkedIn status page.
Can you maintain genuine relationships with a large network over time? Possibly not. In fact, I’d say probably not. Again, it’s that quality vs. quantity issue. Some degree of personal attention is required for the relationship to benefit both parties to it. If the person on the other end doesn’t get a sense that you actually value the connection, he or she has little (if any) motivation to sustain (nourish) it. The result might be that you both lose something that could have produced mutual benefit.
Be smart about who you have in your network(s) and about where and how you spend time sustaining the relationships with them. There’s nothing wrong in an element of self-interest, as long as it’s not exclusive (all-consuming). The time and energy you selectively spend can produce substantial rewards.