It all began in 1999 as a way for Bonni Titgemeyer, EO List founder, to keep in touch with her students. Employment opportunities were shared as a means of keeping connections alive. Since then many people have referred HR employment opportunities to the EO List. Indeed, the EO List exists thanks to the efforts of helpful and committed networkers. It is through their networks that people learn of this Human Resources opportunities list and that some even contribute the vacancies they come across. As of November 2010 over 1,100 people were eagerly anticipating the list in their inbox Friday mornings to learn of new possibilities and, of course, read the informative blogs!
Speaking to some of the top referrers to the EO List provided a wealth of information. Many have been networking for years and easily remembered their earliest experience.
- Carolyn Breward vividly recalls her first encounter: “I was a teenager and desperately wanted to work at McDonalds as it was close by and convenient to my school. By actively reaching out to just a few people through ongoing conversations, I was able to connect with the Manager who happened to know one of my older brothers. I worked the networking scene and by essentially ‘asking around’ was able to solidify a part time job for myself in Grade 9.”
- Lisa Dantas recalls how networking helped her to find a job in Toronto after she graduated from University in Ottawa by talking to a classmate.
- Sheila Smith helped a high school friend start her career in financial services through a referral in1989.
- Stan Hamersak initially considered a career in Accounting. While he was still in high school back in the 1980’s his Aunt connected him with a colleague who was working in the field for an information interview
Reasons given for why to refer positions to the EO List were similar between top referrers.
- Carmela Ciotti-Hooper explains “Many organizations are tired of certain on-line recruitment agencies and are looking for something different. And let’s be honest, cost is also a factor to be considered and listing opportunities on the EO List is free.”
- Loralie Prinzen and Lynn Marie Cassie both mention that if they meet someone is search mode they recommend the EO List as a resource. It is a way to help others.
- It is an effective way to help colleagues and as Lisa Dantas states: “It’s a nice way to give back.”
- Sheila Smith indicates that she has “built a strong network of colleagues and we are constantly accessing each other to share ideas and resources. I’ve been able to make critical business impacts by leveraging assistance from my network.”
Everyone indicated that referring opportunities and networking has helped them professionally.
- Luba Hamiuka and Brenda Simon are both recruiters whose area of concentration is outside HR, but HR people are important contacts. Luba mentions that “referring people helps me professionally for exposure;” and “I genuinely care about people and helping them find their careers so when HR is not my specialty but I can help them they are usually grateful and blown away.”
- Carmela Ciotti-Hooper shares “over the years it’s given me the confidence to stand in front of people and simply talk about what I do for a living; what am I passionate about; what my needs are and how I can help others. It’s opened up job opportunities that I would probably not have considered or known about. I’ve made connections with some well known people in the financial industry. In fact, it was also through networking and referral that I chose CTI (Coaches Training Institute) to gain my coaching knowledge and acquire my accreditation as a certified professional coach.”
Our experienced networkers had some excellent advice for us.
- Luba Hamiuka shares with us “find a connection outside of work, build a rapport, don’t be shy, and FOLLOW UP is KEY!!! Also know your boundaries and take your time getting to know that person and keep it professional at all times!”
- Loralie Prinzen states “the larger your network, the greater opportunity you have for future success.”
- Carmela Ciotti-Hooper believes we should “look beyond the immediate or what’s in front of you. When it comes to networking and meeting people, it’s not just the person you meet but all the people and organizations they’re connected to. You have no idea until you make that initial step forward to reach out and speak to people. It’s not about exchanging business cards or setting up contacts in LinkedIn. It’s about staying connected and asking how we can help each other reach our goals and be successful. Far too many people think it’s all about what others can do for them and miss the real exchange and opportunity to connect.”
- Lisa Dantas reminds us to include people in levels above and below us in our network.
- Lynn Marie Cassie suggests that “networking is really about netgiving; it takes time to be memorable, so stick with it; and she reminds us that we are always on display so be genuine and make it all good.”
- Brenda Simon looks at her networks LinkedIn Status Changes and uses these as an opportunity to stay in touch.
- Carolyn Brewer recommends that we “make a conscience effort to get connected today! Reach out and talk to everyone in your path about what you are looking for, be it a job, a new dentist, a referral to a doctor, etc. For every person is connected to a few hundred people and although the person you are speaking with may not be able to help you with your immediate need, the person right behind them may be the connection you require. Think of networking as opening doors to the next best opportunity – they may not be able to get you a job, but they will be able to get you in the door and get you connected to the right contact.”
- Stan Hamersak reminds us to reach out by phone or email periodically and not just when we need something. People are busy so we might not always get a response.
Our top referrers best networking experiences show how powerful and personally rewarding it can be.
- Stan Hamersak, Sheila Smith and Lisa Dantas have all seen business contacts develop into close friendships.
- Carolyn Brewer shares that her “most memorable networking experience was helping a new Canadian find a job. This particular person was feeling frustrated so I took it upon myself to help her network, and work through her fears. I told her that together we would find her a job and I gave us a deadline of a month. We spoke every few days, starting with creating her resume, then sourcing out places to suit her HR needs. She joined sites and we strategized a plan for going forward (contact work, part time work, choice of HR field, etc.). Within 2 weeks she had interviews lined up and shortly thereafter, had accepted a contract job at a large firm in downtown Toronto. It was her first job in Canada and she was well on her way to have a successful HR career as a new Canadian!”
- Lynn Marie Cassie remembers “trying to figure out how to make my networking impactful. I’d been out there for a while and it didn’t seem to be working. But when putting my fellow networker in contact with my husband’s friend got her a job, that clinched it for me. It was serendipity that put me in her path. That convinced me to put as many people on my path as possible. All of a sudden, everyone was interesting in a brand new way. I was open to all the possibilities, and as a result my job search activity rocketed. This was a pivotal event. I realized how powerful networking really is and in one fell swoop, I lost my shyness. I began asking for informational interviews from people in my industry. I asked my interviewers if they had reservations about my candidacy. I gathered lots of information about my strengths and weaknesses which allowed me to create new opportunities for myself and for others.”
- Brenda Simon finds that it is very rewarding when she finds that perfect fit candidate for a role she is recruiting for. Her clients are amazed, while she finds that this is just the natural unfolding of events while networking.
In the world of referrers and networking there is always room for one more. You!
The EO List is a prime example of people helping one another. We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of our top referrers for sharing their time over the years, giving us the benefit of their wisdom and their spirit of generosity! Thank you!
The list of top referrers to the EO List can be found here.