Undoubtedly, most of us have gone through some kind of transition with our supervisors. Perhaps the person was recruited away to another company or maybe there was a merger and they got reassigned to another department. Whatever the reason, something important has been lost.
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Dawn Rasmussen is president of Portland, Oregon-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, which provides resume, cover letter, and job searching assistance.
For shy networkers, building your network can be a challenge. A week ago, I attended a business mixer sponsored by the Portland Business Journal, and was immediately reminded about something. RELATED: 10 Tips For People Who Hate Networking As I walked into the crowded room of about 200 professionals, I remembered that keeping up the art of networking requires you to keep working at it. Like exercising a muscle, you need to keep flexing it in order to keep it in shape. Not that I have any excuse... I have been (ahem) a little negligent myself lately in getting out into true networking situations where I don’t know anyone. A heavy client load and multiple projects have kept my time constrained to running from appointment to appointment, with no time (or energy) to commit to going to any after-hours networking events. I’ve been too exhausted. But that is no excuse. I realized it had been awhile since the last networking event that I had attended, and silently resolved to get myself back out there. So, as I entered that room, I suddenly realized how flabby my networking muscle was. And I’ll admit it: I was scared since I knew a total of two people out of that crowd. Why was I scared? Because deep down, I am actually a horrifically shy person. And when anyone who is shy is thrust into a setting where it is densely packed and they don’t really know anyone, the natural instinct is to clam up and find a corner of the room for shelter. It was all I could do to force myself into the heaving crowd. But I did it. When people reveal to me that they are shy or have a hard time networking, I know that pain... personally. But you CAN get past it and it can open up new doors in ways you couldn’t have imagined. During the event, I pushed myself past the shyness envelope, made eye contact with strangers, and stuck out my hand to say hello. I met a lot of people that night through the power of networking. One gentleman I met was interested in resume writing services for himself (he contacted me later to follow up- a good sign); another was slipping past a door I was standing near and I jokingly said, “In order to pass, you need to introduce yourself.” Turns out he was an executive coach and after chatting, we set up a meeting the very next day to figure out how we could refer business to each other. And a client of mine (one of the two people I knew at the event) was chatting with another gentleman to whom she introduced me... turns out he was involved with a workforce board and we had a lot to discuss. Since then, we have met in person over coffee and shared ideas over e-mail. So, if you say you are shy and that is the reason why you aren’t good at networking, that is a self-imposed barrier you have put up in front of yourself. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. But here are a few quick tips for you to get through that initial awkward conversational stage and transform the people you meet at events into powerful contacts in your network:
Zig Ziglar once said, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” He couldn’t be more right. Related: 4 Types Of Job Attitudes – Which One Are You? I remember when I lived next to an exceptionally grouchy old neighbor. No matter what, I always said “hello” when I spotted him outside sitting on his porch. “How are you doing?,” I would venture. His response? “Just TERRIBLE.” It never varied. Day after day, the same reply. And he sat alone on that porch, day after day. I never did see him smile or look happy. And that kept me and other neighbors away. We tried reaching out, but his attitude was so awful that everyone finally gave up. Now, imagine that in a job search. Yes, looking for a job, especially when you aren’t working, really sucks. But so does a bad attitude. Do you really think that people want to be around someone who is grouchy and negative all the time? I didn’t think so. Keeping an upbeat attitude (despite the occasional pity party) is critical to your success. Positive attracts positive. Negative simply repels everything it comes into contact. Your attitude soaks into everything you do - how you talk, how you walk, how you look someone in the eye, how you respond, how you engage. Your attitude, truly, is everything. It defines you and your job search. So, pick up the pieces, and keep going, and don’t become that grouchy old neighbor who ended up being all alone. This post was originally published at an earlier date. Photo Credit: Shutterstock