I’ve been thinking about this : when you do something, you want to put your best foot forward. But what happens when instead, you don’t? Is it simply because you can’t? Is it simply a case of not thinking through what you would like to achieve and whether your action really takes you there? Is it that you need to learn how to do so and the learning is incremental and slow? Or is it something else?
Putting your best foot forward means different things to different people, for sure.
This is a point that crops up when I get approached online to connect on Linkedin. Frequently, I am approached to connect, for the first time, with people I have never met before. What strikes me as odd, is when the connection is accepted, the very first thing some people do, is to ask you to recommend them for a job.
I don’t think it to be a well-thought out strategy.
Firstly, I don’t know you. I am only beginning to know you. Putting your best foot forward would therefore mean, you put the best side of yourself forward so that the initial contact is pleasant at the very least, and impressive at best. But if the first thing you do is to ask someone you don’t know for a job, or to recommend you among your network, then I think you have not really thought your plan through.
It’s very much akin to the copy/paste approach some people take to applying for jobs where their cover letter is a generic document that fails to stand out and is unimpressive in both layout and content. It fails to make an impression and in so doing, makes a bad one, at the very least. Its appeal lies in the ease in which you can send applications out. How much more effort is involved in researching the company you want to work at, figuring out what their plans are and where their weaknesses and growth areas lie? How much more is involved in figuring out how you can best contribute to the plan they have to move forward? And so, we put a foot forward but it’s not our best foot.
So, I have to ask, if it’s not your best that you are putting forward and if you are going to make a half hearted attempt, why not consider not making an attempt at all? Rather, look out for the one connection that you think will make the difference for you. Pour more of your energy into that relationship you’d like to build on and then make the connection there. I think making the effort in one relationship well, in a manner that shows careful thought, desire and real value will bring greater gains than a generic approach to all and sundry.