Networking the RIGHT Way to Further Your Career

People can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you, and introduce you to potential employers or clients. Whoever said business isn’t personal must have been someone who sits in their cube all day. Surrounding yourself with the “right” people – career influencers – and knowing how to leverage that support system (networking) can skyrocket your career into another dimension.

 

The goal of networking is to create a connection or establish a relationship with someone. The goal is not to start asking about job opportunities the instant you meet someone.

 

The message you want to send is NOT, “I’m someone who’s looking for a job.” But instead, you want to be sending the message that you’re a successful professional who’s resourceful, well connected, and who has some similar interests as they do. You want them to realize that you are someone that THEY should get to know!

 

So the next time you meet someone who works for a company where you want to work, or in a job role that you’d like to have, keep the conversation focused on that person (it’s not about you! – at least not yet!). Talk about their latest marketing campaign or product launch, or something new or interesting that’s going on inside their company.

 

Next, try to get their business card by simply saying, “I’d love to stay in touch – how about if we exchange business cards?” Follow up by sending a piece of information you think they might be interested in such as an article, or the results of a new study, or a cool website that relates to their business.

 

Once the door is open, then talk about some projects or teams that you’ve worked on that have been successful.

 

One thing that works really well for me, is offering to share tips, insight or lessons I learned about the project. I find that by doing this, people who appreciate these successes will naturally gravitate towards me. And it provides the foundation for a long-term relationship.

 

If you’re looking for a new job, then go ahead and drop a hint that you’re looking for “other opportunities.” And believe me, when you use this simple step-by-step formula, if they know of any opportunities they’re going to let you know!

 

One final thought, I strongly believe that no matter where you are in your career, we’re always in a position to help out others. Is there someone else you can support by introducing her to a potential employer, or giving a recommendation, or inviting to a networking event? Sometimes we get caught up in focusing just on ourselves, but remember that when we help out others along the way – the universe gives back to us more than we ever dreamed possible.

 

Bottom line: you need a powerful network if you want to have a powerful career. So start making connections and nurturing your professional relationships. You’ll find that once you have a strong team of career influencers on your side, doors to new opportunities will open and career will soar!

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Who Are Your Career Influencers?

As you may know, I’m a career coach who is also driving my own personal career. I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible successes while I was in the radio, television, advertising and high tech industries, but I’ve also had my fair share of career setbacks and roadblocks the size of Mt. Everest that I had to blast through.

 

Through it all, I’ve learned that one thing is for certain. Leaving my career in the hands of someone else like a manager, client, or even a company is a career killer!

 

So I changed my mindset and my actions. For the past few years, my mission has been that I drive my own career, and with this new mission came BIG RESULTS. I’ve been more satisfied, more fulfilled, and more successful in my career. Case in point, I was thrilled to receive my latest promotion a few days ago!

 

So over the next several weeks, I’m going to share with you my BIGGEST CAREER STRATEGIES that I personally use to drive my own career, and for this issue, it’s: The nitty gritty of networking strategically.

 

People are the jet fuel behind your career. People can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you, and introduce you to potential employers or clients. Whoever said business isn’t personal must have been someone who sits in their cube all day. Surrounding yourself with the “right” people and knowing how to leverage that support system can skyrocket your career into another dimension.

 

You’ll have more career opportunities and job security when you have a strong professional network in place of what I call – career influencers. These are people inside the company or industry where you work who could potentially advance your career, or open doors to new opportunities.

 

Who’s in your circle? Think about your current professional network. Are you connected with career influencers from each of the following four categories?

  1. Those who can evangelize your talents and successes to others.
  2. Those who currently hold, or have held, a position you want.
  3. Those who could teach you something new.
  4. Those who, just by being associated with them in some way, can strengthen your personal brand.

Think about your current and previous managers, colleagues, and clients. Look for those who could provide guidance, expertise, or information that not only helps you succeed in your current role, but could potentially help you get to where you REALLY want to go.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Taking Care of the Big Rocks First

Previously I talked about making the commitment to take care of the big rocks first. If you don’t take care of your big rocks, or big initiatives FIRST, then your day will fill up with a bunch of tiny insignificant tasks. And when that happens, you simply won’t have any time to fit in your biggest priorities, and you’ll be left working on less meaningful projects that leave you feeling bored and unfulfilled.

 

For many people, the question is HOW to take care of the big rocks. Here are a few tips suggestions on how to fill your schedule with your biggest priorities first (your big rocks), so that you’re able to work on more meaningful, exciting, and challenging projects, and take off some of those insignificant and “less filling” projects.

 

Pull out your calendar and start looking ahead to next week. Ask yourself, “What do I need to accomplish in the next 7 days?” Begin by scheduling 1-3 hour chunks of uninterrupted time you need to work on a client presentation, proposal, report, campaign, etc. Then, take a second pass and fill in those smaller yet still important tasks that will take you an hour to complete such as meeting with a customer, making progress on a project, or preparation time for an important meeting. Finally, block off time to complete the smaller initiatives such as doing some on-line research, filling out an expense report, sending out an update memo to your team or senior managers, etc.

 

Now, I’m not suggesting that you just stop showing up for meetings and working on assignments given to you by someone else, but perhaps you can start negotiating your time and projects. Maybe you can say to someone, “I’m sorry that I can’t give you an hour tomorrow, but how about if we meet for 15-minutes, and then if you still need more time we’ll carve out 30-minutes next week.” You’re setting the tone that your time is important and that you have your own set of priorities, but that you’re still a team player.

 

Be protective of your precious time and energy. Negotiate your time so that you can work on those highly valued, highly visible projects that you actually enjoy doing. This doesn’t mean taking on MORE projects and responsibilities while KEEPING the same projects and responsibilities that you already have.

 

Negotiate with managers or clients so that you can get off those lower valued projects, and instead devote your time to projects that allow you to flex your professional muscles, stretch yourself in a new direction, or work on those projects that excite you!

 

You will find that by implementing this simple strategy of owning your schedule, establishing your priorities, and putting your big rocks FIRST, you’ll be more in control of your career, feel more energized, and able to drive your career on the fast track!

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

TIME MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: Drive your schedule, drive your career!

Do you feel undervalued, or bored with your assignments or projects? Then maybe there’s a way you can juggle your calendar to work on more meaningful projects. No, I don’t mean taking on MORE work in addition to your current assignments. I mean juggling your calendar and learning how to negotiate your time so that you’re able to work on more meaningful, exciting, and challenging projects, and taking off some of those insignificant and “less filling” projects.

 

Take a look at your calendar. Is it filled with meetings and projects driven by other people that are their priorities? Or is it filled with projects and initiatives that are your priorities?

 

The key to having an enriching and satisfying career to work on projects that excite, challenge and motivate you. And the first step in doing that is taking ownership of your calendar. You own your schedule – not your manager, nor your clients, nor your partner, nor your kids. It is your schedule, and yours alone to manage, juggle, and prioritize.

 

One of the best career strategies I ever learned was from a teacher who taught me to prioritize my rocks. Let me explain. I was sitting in a training class thinking, “I don’t have TIME to take a class on time management.” I was leading global teams and managing high budget projects so what could I possibly learn? I was feeling overstressed, overwhelmed, and extremely frustrated that I had to waste an hour of my time to attend a training class on such a silly little topic. But something happened in that class that had a permanent effect on the way I manage both my time (and my career!), and I’ve been on the fast track ever since!

 

The instructor sat a large glass jar out on the table and started filling it with large rocks that he pulled out of a box underneath the table. After several minutes, the jar was piled high with these big rocks. Then he asked the class, “Can any more fit into the jar?” A few people said the obvious, “No”.

 

The teacher then pulled out a second box filled with little pebbles that he started dropping into the jar which filled up all the gaps between the larger rocks. Kur plunk, kur plunk, kur plunk. After a few minutes, he looked up and asked the class again, “Can any more fit into the jar?” Someone responded again with an obvious, “No.” He then reached under the table and pulled out a vase filled with sand and started pouring it into the jar filling up all of the tiny little holes.

 

By this time, I was really getting irritated with his 2nd grade analogy that you can always cram more into your schedule. But, that wasn’t his point at all. “The point is,” he said, “that you have to take care of the BIG rocks first.”

 

If you don’t take care of your big rocks, or big initiatives FIRST, then your day will fill up with a bunch of tiny insignificant tasks. And when that happens, you simply won’t have any time to fit in your biggest priorities, and you’ll be left working on less meaningful projects that leave you feeling bored and unfulfilled.

 

Make a commitment today, right now, to put your big rocks first.

 

In my next blog post I will discuss some of the career coaching resources and strategies to help you take care of your big rocks first!

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Take Control of Your Career

If I asked you, “Who is controlling your career?” what would you say? You? Someone else? Nobody?

 

My biggest source of frustration in my own career came about ten years ago, when I’d been laid off because the company I was working for wasn’t doing well financially. I felt that I was at the height of my career, yet the company just laid me off. There wasn’t any notice, just a meeting with my manager, a handshake goodbye, and a check for two weeks pay.

 

My mind was swirling. My world had just been turned upside down. I felt poor.

 

After spending about 3 days in my bath robe sobbing into my bowl of corn flakes (apparently I don’t cook when I’m depressed!), I realized that I couldn’t leave my career (my career!) in the hands of someone else. Like a manager. Or a company.

 

So I began taking more control over my career. I seeked out only those companies that I admired. When I interviewed for a job, I interviewed them. I said things like, “in my next job, I’m looking for a company that…”, and “I’m very goal driven and need to work in a culture…” It wasn’t so much the words I was saying, but a mixture of having career goals, a vision, and assurance that I can do their job that often got me the job offer.

 

If your world has been turned upside down, and you need a little help getting back on your feet – then I’m here to help you.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Blueprint to Your New Career

Now is the time to create the blueprint to your new career. Avoid the attitude that you will do it tomorrow, next week, next month, when your bonus arrives, etc. Be aware that “not now” soon becomes never. The good news is, you can start today, follow these steps, and be well on your way to a new and more meaningful career.

 

Step 1. Let go of the scarcity mindset and GET COMPETITIVE – It’s easy in this economy to adopt a scarcity mindset. The scarcity mindset lives in a world with limited opportunities, wealth and even happiness. When it comes to attaining a new career, those with a scarcity mindset feel overwhelmed and often miss opportunities because they think why bother?

 

Successful professionals embrace the opposite. They believe there are always career opportunities available because there are always companies hiring great talent. Companies cannot survive without employing the best and brightest people so they are always on the lookout for high performers. They understand that someone will be hired for an open position so why NOT them?!

 

In today’s economy, it’s not about applying for jobs – it’s about competing for them. Stop listening to the media telling us how bad things are and make an effort to tune out the dire news regarding the economy. Filter out only useful information from the negative media hype that can cause career paralysis.

 

Step 2. Seek Expert Advice – Chart your course with a professional career coach and don’t attempt to “do it yourself.” Would you conduct your own laser surgery, buy a house without a realtor or represent yourself in court without a lawyer? No, you would hire the best professional available to significantly decrease the risk and increase your success.

 

Earlier in my own career I went to a career coach and it was the smartest thing I ever did. Imagine driving to an unfamiliar place without your GPS or other Google map. Yes, you may eventually get there by winging it, but how many wrong turns would you make along the way? It’s the same in your career. Seek expert advice to help create your blueprint for career success.

 

Step 3. Chart Your Course – For many professionals a successful career translates into having a meaningful and purposeful career. So, what do you need to have an inspiring career? First, ask yourself if you’re working for people who value and appreciate your contributions. Then ask yourself the following: do you have career goals? Do you have a strategy in place to meet each of those goals? Does the work you’re doing excite you? Do you have a manager who supports you? Do you have a strong network of mentors and coaches who can teach you, inspire you, and introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?

 

Everyone has bumps in their career. Everyone. A good career blueprint will help you manage your career more easily through the turbulent times and bounce back quicker. That means you are proactive (vs. reactive) in driving your career, you always have career choices available, you know how to leverage your transferable skills so that you can quickly and easily change job roles or industries, and you know how to use available resources to seek out and compete for career opportunities.

 

Don’t let our current economy stall your career. Make up your mind to get into a career where you can thrive with employers who value and appreciate you. Then, follow the three steps: think of competing, not scarcity. Seek expert advice. And create your blueprint to a more meaningful and inspiring career.

 

If you’d like more tips to advance your career, visit our website for career tools, resources, and coaching support.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!