Feature: Crowdworking: Let the Tail Wag the Dog

Feature: Crowdworking: Let the Tail Wag the Dog

Feature: Crowdworking: Let the Tail Wag the Dog

The potency of using a “long tail” strategy in selling to consumers was first popularized in an October, 2004 article in Wired magazine. Written by Chris Anderson, it urged companies to abandon their conventional focus on selling a small number of popular items and, instead, retool themselves to concentrate on “selling less of more.”

Citing the experience of the online bookseller Amazon.com, he argued that the arrival of new technology and the Internet, in particular, changed the dynamics of efficient sales. Unlike traditional bookstores, Amazon makes most of its profits not by selling a huge number of a very small number of best sellers, but by selling a small number of a huge number of much less popular books or what he called “the long tail.”

That idea has revolutionized the sales activity in a number of product markets, but it’s just as important to how we sell ourselves to others or what we traditionally call our networking in a job search campaign. While networking experts have always encouraged us to network broadly, our actual efforts have been much more constrained. Typically, we network to only a small number of current work associates and friends. In our own inimitable way, we focus on just a handful of our personal “best sellers.”

We impose this limitation on ourselves for two reasons:

  • Reason #1. As with traditional product sellers, we think we’re likely to have the best chance of success by focusing on only a small number of the best prospects. Think of your local bookstore. You’re much more likely to see a Harry Potter book in the window than one by Peter Weddle because a wizard, alas, is much more likely to generate a sale. The same is true with our networking. We assume that those with whom we are most frequently in contact and those with whom we have most recently interacted are more likely than someone else to yield a connection to a lucrative employment opportunity.
  • Reason #2. Networking is a time consuming and demanding activity. Traditionally, it has been a one-on-one and very focused kind of interaction, requiring that we stop everything else we are doing. We set up a meeting in someone’s office, or we play phone tag with them until we finally connect or we attend an association meeting in the hopes of making a helpful contact. In a society that is hooked on multi-tasking, such an intensely unilateral activity feels like a time hog, so we do as little of it as we think we can get away with.
  • These views made sense in the 20th Century. There was a logic to them because the Internet had not yet been fully deployed as a means of mass communications. Today however-in the 21st Century and a widely wired world-they are as inappropriate as … well as a quill and parchment are for writing your resume. As the long tail theory envisions, we can now use technology to move our networking from its traditional focus on a small number of recent contacts to much more productive connections with a much larger number of former contacts. I call this approach “crowdworking.”

    Crowdworking acknowledges and draws its potency from two realities:

  • Most of us have far more former contacts than we have current ones. In the present, we’re limited to (thank goodness) one boss, a small circle of coworkers and a handful of friends and neighbors. In the past, however, we might have had three, four, seven or more bosses; fifteen, twenty-five, fifty-five or more colleagues; and in today’s mobile world, hundreds of neighbors and friends. In addition, for many of us, the past also holds connections that we no longer have in the present: former teachers, former classmates, former teammates, and former clubmates. These more numerous and unique past associations-all of them-represent the crowd in crowdworking.
  • The digital divide has all but disappeared. Almost all of us now have access to the Web and as a result, to networking tools that can remove some of the time commitment involved in traditional networking. Here, it’s important to make a distinction between social networking-what occurs at sites like Facebook and MySpace-and professional networking-which involves work-related interactions that typically occur on career portals and association Web-sites. The working in crowdworking represents the professional networking that occurs online and thus is able to take advantage of the asynchronous, mass one-to-one communications capability of the Web. It enables you to find and be in touch with former contacts easily, efficiently and on a heretofore unimaginable scale.
  • Crowdworking does not replace traditional networking. In fact, it is a form of networking that is, at one and the same time, very different from and very similar to its conventional, real world cousin. Think of it as an activity that establishes real relationships through virtual communications that are regular and relevant to all of the recipients. Unlike traditional networking, those virtual communications do not involve meetings, phone calls or other time-consuming activities. You can crowdwork at home while wearing your fuzzy slippers and sipping a glass of merlot. As with traditional networking, on the other hand, crowdworking does involve a commitment to sharing. The Golden Rule of Networking is as simple as it is profound: you must give as good as you get. That’s as true on the Web as it is in the real world. If you want others to be helpful to you, then you must first be helpful to them by sharing your knowledge and contacts in your online as well as your offline communications.

    There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t let the tail wag the dog. It was a way of telling us that the best results come from focusing on what’s most important and not on what first catches our eye. Ironically, the best way to achieve that objective in today’s world, however, is exactly the opposite of that old axiom. To achieve the best results in our networking, we should ensure that the dog is wagged by the tail-the long tail of our former connections in the world of work. That’s the crowd that gives modern networking its power.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

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    This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is the “must read” new publication for professionals on the move.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for. So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The Ladders surveyed the executive job market and found that there were significnat opportunities to be had in a number of fields and metro areas.

    The Best Fields

  • Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Industrial.
  • The Best Locations

  • San Francisco
  • San Diego
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Boston
  • New York
  • While making a move to find a job might seem like a prudent step in this economy (if you can sell your home), the grass is not always greener in another spot. New York, San Francisco, and Boston may be seeing job growth, but they are also experiencing a net gain in job seekers as people relocate for more employment opportunity.

    The New York Times published an article entitled “Job Hunting Is, and Isn’t, What It Used to Be.” It cites The Conference Board which estimated that there were 4,833,700 job openings posted online in August. Even with the downturn in the economy, I suspect that number is still well over four million. That’s the good news. There are many, many vacancies posted on the Web. Here’s the bad news: you can’t land a single one online. The Web is only an employer’s front door. In other words, you can get your foot in the door by applying online (and you should), but your foot will be one of many and you won’t be able to take the second step and walk through the door while you’re on the Web. That’s why I suggest that you always follow up every application online with a solid effort in the real world to try and find a personal connection-a friend or colleague or, if that’s not possible, a fellow alumni or association member-at the organization to which you’ve applied. Most will be willing to walk your resume into the recruiter handling the job you want, and that additional step will bring you through the door while everyone else is still standing around outside.

    TargetMarketing magazine published an article entitled “Looking for the Right Words.” Although the author, Robert W. Bly, was writing for advertising copywriters, I think some of his suggestions would also be helpful to job seekers as they develop their resumes. While clear expression is always the overriding rule of thumb when writing a resume, it may be useful to include jargon and technical terms from time-to-time. Jargon has been defined as “language more complex than the word it serves to communicate,” so in the normal course of writing, it should be avoided. However, the careful and limited use of jargon in a resume can help to establish your credentials as a member of a profession, craft or trade and build a sense of affinity with an interviewer in the field. The same is true with technical terms which are not jargon but “words that precisely describe the technology, process or idea” you want to convey. Operating system, for example, is a technical term that exactly and concisely describes a technology that would otherwise take many “normal” words to define. The caution, of course, is not to overdo it and recognize that many word processing spellcheckers are not technically literate. Don’t rely on them alone to proofread the jargon or the technical terms in your resume.

    WEDDLE’s publishes the perfect job search tool for hard times-an inexpensive, quick and easy-to-use series of guides to the best job boards and career portals online. Think of them as the CliffsNotes to career success on the Internet. Called WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards, each book includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific career field or employment situation. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineers,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot! Get one for yourself and one for your spouse or partner, son or daughter, friend or colleague or boss. They’re helpful to any and everyone regardless of their years of experience. To order your WIZNotes, call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Order today!

    WEDDLE’s also offers a number of other publications that can help you land the job of your dreams, even in today’s tough job market. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the career fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden job market” online, it details the employment resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Finding a job in the present environment is difficult; finding a great job is even more difficult. Part of the challenge is knowing where to look. With over 50,000 job boards in the U.S. alone, there are lots of places where you can waste a lot of time and effort. How can you avoid that trap? Be a smart consumer. Get the gold standard of job board guides: WEDDLE’s. They will help you identify the job boards that will work best for you. So, don’t delay! Call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here to place your order today.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    DoctorsJobSite.com

    http://www.doctorsjobsite.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Number of jobs: 500+

    Salary levels of jobs: $151-$200K/year, $201K+/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: Indefinitely

    Restrictions on who can post: Must be a physician

    Other services for job seekers: Career information, Links to other sites with career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit Today!

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is the “must read” new publication for professionals on the move.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Why is that so important? Because whether you are a mid-career professional or a first time job seeker, whether you are a senior executive or a skilled tradesperson, whether you are actively looking for a job or just keeping your options open, the key to success is a sure understanding of who you are and what you stand for. So, make sure you know the authentic You. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.