It’s a Tough World For a Lone Landman.

It seems like no matter what time of year it is, or whether the market is good or bad, there are always landmen out there who need jobs.  One feature I’ve noticed is that if a landman is consistently having trouble finding a new contract it is because they have a poor network to draw on.  Developing your network of fellow landmen before you need to use it is the most important thing you can do for your career.  Many people do a few parts of my ‘Networking List’, but one or two things doesn’t give you results.  You need to do a majority of the items to have success.  So without further ado, here is my ‘Networking List’.


Networking List

1.  Leverage LinkedIn

Do you know how to really leverage LinkedIn?  Many people have a LinkedIn account, but does your actually help people find you?  When they do find you, does it encourage them to want to know you better?  You should at minimum have a complete profile – I personally don’t believe in having one experience entry that says “Landman – 1990-2012”.  This doesn’t encourage me to want to know you better, it tells me that you don’t want to tell me the details of your experience.  Be specific!

The same goes for your education entries.  If you don’t have a college education, then don’t put it on there.  Also don’t try to trick me if your degree is in basket weaving, just be honest and truthful is the main point here.

Don’t forget the other areas that you can add to your profile.  Things like an introduction, or continuing education courses, association memberships, and publications.

I also encourage people to participate in Groups.  There are at least 10 different groups dedicated to the land industry.  Get involved in the conversations, and it will help people to recognize your name.  Be sure that they recognize it for the right reasons though.  Never be rude or condescending, even if the person deserves it.  This is a general rule for any communication on the internet.  You would be surprised who reads those posts, and who will remember your name — for better or for worse.

2.  Local Associations

Become a member of your local AAPL landman association.  More than just becoming a member, actually become active.  Volunteer for a committee or fundraising project.  The best way to meet people is to get involved and help out.  Those who give of their time generally receive dividends.  I’m not talking about attending a luncheon every 2 months and going to the social twice a year.  You need to do something to stand out above all the noise, something that will make people remember your name when they see it on a resume, or when they see it in their inbox.  The best way of doing this to be friendly, helpful person.

If you are a right of way agent, also consider joining your local IRWA chapter.  The IRWA is a great resource for those in the right of way industry, and I’ve always met very friendly people there.

3.  Colleagues

Previous work partners and supervisors can be your best shot at keeping yourself busy over the years.  Most people think that they do a good job of this, most people are wrong.  Maintaining a working network with your past colleagues is like tending a garden.  It requires time, direction, and practice.  Do you speak with your colleagues several times a year?  Do you remember their birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays?  You should make an attempt to contact them a few times a year just to be friendly.  If every time you talk to them, you are asking for something, you’ll soon find your phone calls go un-returned.  I try to make sure to do something helpful for my colleagues once a year, at minimum.  This might be sending a great landman I know their way that needs work, or sending an article that I think might interest them.  It might be remembering them when I hear of a great gig that I think would be right up their alley.

Regardless of what you do, make sure that you genuinely try to help those in your network.  If you nurture your network, it will nurture you.

Do you have other ways of keeping your network alive, active, and growing?  Share them in the comments below.

Randy Young

Randy Young

Randy is a land consultant with experience in field and in-house land work, land administration, and software consulting with systems used in the land management business. He is an active member of the AAPL, HAPL, and NHAPL and is a regular attendee of industry functions.

Randy’s latest projects have included land data systems integrations, with a focus on Quorum Land System.