The End of the Year or a New Beginning?

By the time you read this it may well be 2020 already, but it’s still worth emphasizing our experience over the last 30 years that the holiday period is actually a very rich time for candidates to explore their social capital and even land jobs.  In fact, one year, we had five candidates land jobs between Christmas and New Year.


Well, think about it.  Often normal operations slow down at this time of year.  There is more time for managers and executives to reflect on performance, on issues in their companies, on gaps in their operations, and on possible improvements.  That is the ideal environment for job seekers properly utilizing the unpublished market.

Let me give you a specific example quoted from one of our consultant’s reports (though the names have been altered):

“David was skeptical about the unpublished market, however, he followed the directions and reached out to a woman (Rita) he had worked with 8-9 years ago. They had not spoken in all that time.

After picking herself up off the floor from surprise at his call she and he had a great conversation.  Towards the end she told him she had just received a promotion and her VP role now needed to be filled.  She referred David to the President and they met earlier this week.  Rita called David yesterday and told him the president loved him and wants to bring him on board. Rita (who he will report to) is meeting with him next week to talk about the offer!!” 

We teach our clients how to utilize their social capital

We teach our clients how to utilize their social capital (people they know, plus the people who know the people they know…) to explore opportunities they would never uncover through the published (on-line job boards) or recruiter markets.

Yes, it requires dedication and “moving your feet” but it pays off—75% of our clients land through the unpublished market where there is less competition and higher compensation.

Here is another example of a client in mid-program discovering the charm of the unpublished market quoted from his correspondence with his career consultant:

“I’ve been working my magic LOL — I have two opportunities I need some research on please. 

My old CEO (Chelsea) is now on the board.  They have a VP of Marketing open – She’s going to set up a call… maybe coffee if she can swing it… with the CEO for me. 

Second, my friend Melissa, knows and is a family friend of the founder of [a targeted employer], who is also looking for a VP of Marketing.   She working on a call for me as well.” 

A common mistake we see candidates make is that they post on their LinkedIn profiles that they are “open to new opportunities.”  This is understandable but it actually puts them at a disadvantage with respect to leveraging their social capital.   Due to human nature, people who know you less well are more willing to invest time in the relationship if they think they can potentially gain from the interaction.   In our view, you should approach every such interaction having studied the other party’s background and given some thought to how you may help him or her.  You may have heard the expression “givers gain.”   It is far better to adopt a giving approach when you are leveraging your social capital if you want to receive support yourself.

So, as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, consider your career situation.  Are you happy, secure, well remunerated, and enjoying your work?  If not, now is the time to get busy changing your career.  Join thousands of successful executives who have worked with us in the last 30 years: visit us at and get started today.

Peter Irish
The Barrett Group

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