… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

It’s not just who you know, it’s what you can offer

Today I found myself reflecting on all the great people I’ve met, the conversations I’ve had, and the opportunities that have come my way this year. And in this reflection I clearly saw a pattern emerge. Networking matters. I know, I know. You are saying to yourself, self, not another damn post on the value of networking. I get it already. But stay with me here. Networking matters, but so does the value you can offer. All the cool stuff I’ve experienced this year would not have happened if I had brought nothing to the interaction as well, no matter how many people I knew. And nothing of value comes without effort.

Let’s take, for example, the Carnival of HR. Started by the Evil HR Lady and passed on to Ask A Manager, when it came time to find a new owner they had a lot of options besides me. They both knew who I was through my interactions with them through our blogs, so there’s your networking. But I doubt that was the only reason they thought of me. Now I may be wrong about this, and they should feel free to correct me if I am, but I think the real reason they offered the opportunity to me was because of all my contributions to the Carnival and it’s promotion over time. Not only did they know who I was, they saw value in my contribution. It may also be because I’m inherently adorable, but I digress.

Here’s another great example: The HR Happy Hour. When the HR Happy Hour started as an off-hand twitter by Mark Stelzner and thrown together by Steve Boese in 20 minutes, who could have guessed I would have ended up co-hosting it and about to do our 20th show this Thursday? Not me. Now, I had put myself out there and participated in the first few shows, i.e. I networked. But once again, I doubt my mere presence on the show is why Steve asked me to be his co-host. Steve felt I had something of value to contribute to the show, even if it was only because of my laugh, and that is why he offered me the opportunity. I admit I am guessing here because I’ve never asked him why. He can also feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

But do you see the pattern? None of these were opportunities I actively sought out and simply knowing the people involved would not have been enough to secure them. So when you go out there and network, and you know that you should, don’t forget that collecting business cards and shaking hands isn’t enough. You have to bring something of value to the connection for anything fruitful to come of it, now or in the future.

11 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 HR :

    The beauty of serendipity is that while we are not looking for gems along the path, they magically appear. Networking is a two-way street, and in order for it to have real value-the gift is often in the giving rather than receiving. HRevolution and HRHappyHour are two movements that grew out of a need in our industry that was not being filled by traditional professional associations. This became abundantly clear to me after listening in to the last show featuring the crew from "Fistful of Talent." While I painfully resembled the blue haired secretary comment, I was delighted that someone had the chutzpah to call out HR Pros that are living way beneath their potential. HR_Minion, wouldn't you agree we are hungry for something more? I am, and I don't think I am alone. The far reaching topics that emerged from your last show goes way beyond whether or not we should be "certified" with initials behind our name. You touched on something more important. It left me wondering how can I make a meaningful impact in my field with the talent I have? It's a great question, and I think after HRevolution, a lot of us asking the same question. The future will reveal just how we do so.
    I want to be nourished with new information, and share the new research I find. That is the beauty of HRevolution, and shows like yours. We are feeding one another, and are being nourished in the process. No, HRevolution isn't taking the place of SHRM, but rather it is complementing it. Small unconferences are affordable, and readily accessible for almost everyone. I applaud you, Steve, Ben and Trish for making this possible. Viva La HRHappyHour and HRevolution.

  • 2 HR Minion :

    HR – Thanks for the great comment! It makes me very happy you are getting so much from the community!

  • 3 Ask a Manager :

    Inherently adorable didn't hurt.

  • 4 HR Minion :

    Ask a manager – I knew it! 🙂

  • 5 Paul Smith :

    I think there cannot be enough said about the benefits of networking. I have preached to so many people over the years, that when networking, don't think: what am I getting out this? Instead, give now and you will reap the benefit later.
    Several years ago, when living in Pittsburgh, there were many of us HR folks who were unemployed, including myself. We all knew about the same jobs that everyone was trying to get. None of those jobs fell into my lap, but I felt such a strong sense of community because we all shared where the openings were, who the contacts were, and competed cordially. Like I said I did not land any of those choice jobs. But I like to think that that experience made me a better networker, a better HR pro and a better person.

  • 6 HR Minion :

    Paul – That's a great story! Thanks for sharing!

  • 7 Jennifer McClure :

    You're absolutely right about networking through participating and adding value! It's also important to be willing to take on new challenges and activities that don't necessarily fall under the typical day job or are compensated. You've been willing to participate/lead at least 2 activities that provide value for (I'm guessing) no compensation. But my guess it will definitely pay off for you in more ways than one. Keep laughing… 🙂

  • 8 HR Minion :

    Jennifer – I could have been compensated for this? Kidding! I'm having a lot of fun with it. Thanks!

  • 9 Evil HR Lady :

    We chose you because we instinctively knew you would have the world's best reminder notices.

    Plus all that other stuff.

  • 10 Steve Boese :

    What? You have not received your royalty checks for HR Happy Hour yet? I better check with Accounts Payable.

    Great post as usual!

  • 11 HR Minion :

    Evil HR Lady – You have good instincts then! 🙂

    Steve – Sweet, thanks!:)