My husband is job searching. A friend and mentor advised him that when networking he should go directly to the top. There will be a lot of job seekers with your same level of experience working their mid-level contacts, he advised. Be bold in your approach. Stretch beyond what is likely realistic and put yourself out there for jobs you’re not necessarily qualified for.

C-Level executives wouldn’t get anything done if they spent all their time going to coffee and lunch dates with job seekers. Though even in the current economy I doubt they need to worry.  Regardless of rumors baby boomers are spreading about millennials, few job seekers would feel comfortable being so assertive. Are the few who do arrogant? My husband and I discussed. What would you be communicating when you skip the ranks and appeal to the top? And what was the best way to do it?

Answering the questions in reverse we agreed that to go straight to the top, the job seeker needed to have at minimum a 3rd degree connection through LinkedIn or some other route. And that the job seeker should be direct and brief in their approach, stating up front why they wanted to connect. “Could I take you out or coffee to discuss…” versus “I have five years experience…” and getting to the point two paragraphs later.

If a meeting should occur, we agreed that what the job seeker communicated about him or herself was dependent on how he or she communicated it. There is a difference in making a pronouncement and expressing interest. Best to express interest, convincingly, but not to purport you were the best candidate for something you weren’t qualified for.

Opportunities for advancement seldom present themselves without some assistance from the receiving party. Be bold but gracious. Confidence is not arrogance and humility is not insecurity.