In the Ivan Reitman classic Dave, I always remember the scene with Kevin Kline's title character working in the temp agency. "Its Wednesday...and everybody works on Wednesday" he announces to the staff and newly hired candidate.
Just yesterday I had the need to contract for some development services so I reached-out to groups I know. Later I had the opportunity to pass along several hot leads on contracts to folks who I know are competent and need the work. Each case was met with either no interest in taking on the project (not because of pay) or they were so ill-prepared to respond in a timely manner that the opportunity went away. I felt like I woke up in a world that didn't have 8 million Americans unemployed, a zillion dollars of national debt, and a slow-to-thaw recession going on.
Hey everybody...its Wednesday, is EVERYBODY working today? Can't be.
Lesson 1: If you're an independent contractor (web services let's say) you need to jump on leads. Especially when they come from known contacts. Email and/or phone back when you get a lead and get busy working. Regardless of the size of the job, it is an introdcution to a paying client who may need more of your services.
Lesson 2: If you are in sales (or selling your resume) you have to cater to the middleman as much as the end consumer. If you have a product and you sell through distributors, agencies, purchasing groups, whatever, there has to be some thought to how you let those people experience your product. For the job seeker this is an examination on how you display your experience to the recruitment team as much as to the hiring manager. Is it in print, a blog site, your LinkedIn page, what. Use examples of situations, problems you've solved...not just company names, your title and employment dates.
Lesson 3: If you can't answer your phone return the message quickly, even if to confirm that you got it and you'll have to call them back. And listen to your voice mail every so often. Most make us sound like we work at the DMV...keep it simple, upbeat, and not made from your cell phone on one bar.
Sorry for the rant but I just had to get that out of my system.