Your Career and You: "The ROI of a Handshake"

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”); document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));
try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-13189095-1”); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} I’ve been reading Charlene Li’s excellent book “Open Leadership” this weekend, and one line sticks in my mind: “What’s the ROI [“return on investment” for those folks who haven’t delved into business-speak] of a handshake?”

She leads into this with another spot-on observation: “Inevitably, we base many of our decisions on just the thinnest sliver of information and evidence or, even more likely, our gut feeling.”

Wow! Such simple statements that say so much about ways in which business decisions are made.

How does this apply to your situation as you either prepare to enter the workforce after college or embark on a search for a new position that offers greater opportunities than the one you currently hold?

Simple. The decisions that you make are “investments” in your future. You conduct your market research, and you devise a plan of action. That plan includes such things as networking, job analysis, and the plain ol’ gruntwork of meetings and follow-up.

The key in all this is to undertake those activities that you feel will deliver the best results…your “return on investment.”

As I tell my students and advisees (probably more times than they really want) at Curry College, where I oversee the Public Relations concentration within our Communication major, sometimes it just boils down to a “gut feeling.”

And sometimes you just take chances…something I’ve talked about numerous times.

The bottom line for you as the job-seeker is to take actions that, in your opinion, will result in something positive happening…a referral to a job possibility…a job offer…a new busines contact.

I took a chance like this years ago (seems like yesterday to me, but the calendar now says 20 years ago!) with a move from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Didn’t know a single soul in the entire Aloha State. Had no clue what lay in store. But the feedback and encouragement I got from folks with whom I had been in contact gave me the feeling that something good would come of this.

Reader’s Digest version of the outcome? Best job I’ve ever had as a public relations professional.

Landing this job, though, required my reaching way beyond the limits of my comfort zone. As odd as this may sound, I’m a card-carrying introvert, and I don’t do well in crowds where I don’t know at least 90% of the people.

But I also knew that my “gut” was telling me this was a worthwhile effort…that something good would come of my reaching out to total strangers and asking for help. So I put myself out there, met a bazillion people, made a gazillion new friends, shook a boatload of hands, and succeeded…big time.

As you start gathering your information and preparing for your own journey, do so with this in mind: “What is the possible outcome of this effort? What might I expect?”

If you answer these questions up front, you will be better prepared to act on unplanned opportunities. You will have a better idea of where the conversation might lead you.

You will know the potential ROI of that handshake.

“Know the other, know yourself,
And the victory will not be at risk;
Know the ground, know the natural conditions,
And the victory can be total.”
Sun-Tzu, “The Art of Warfare: The Terrain” [6th Century B.C.]


About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 20 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in careers, Communication, Curry College, feedback, job hunting, job search, networking, public relations. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your Career and You: "The ROI of a Handshake"

  1. world ruler says:

    Nicely put. I teach seniors getting ready to launch at the U of M and I have a recently graduated son looking for a job. It's tough to convince them that you have to go off-line to find a job.


  2. Thanks! It's a "learning process" that we all inevitably must go through. Good luck to your son in his search!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s