We all know that personal connections are the best way to grow a business, drive sales, or find a job. But the word “networking” makes most people break out in a cold sweat. It conjures up images of stuffy mixers where nametags and white wine abound, and you’re just as likely to be pitched an insurance policy or get hit on as you are to make a legitimate business connection. Nevertheless, events are an essential tool in your professional arsenal. Related: 18 Easy Conversation Starters For Networking Events Meeting people in person is the most effective way to build rapport. When there’s a whole group, it’s even more efficient. But what if you’re afraid of getting trapped in an awkward or bad conversation? c We’ve all been there, and that fear can keep us from meeting new people, or even from attending events in the first place. Luckily, you can guard against this situation, push yourself outside your comfort zone, and finally leave your house to meet other socially awkward grown-ups.
Congratulations, you’ve scored the interview! But now what? You’re going to do your homework to research the company, practice your elevator pitch, and pick up your suit from the dry cleaner’s... Exactly like your competition. Related: Review Sheet: 10 Important Interview Prep Checklist Steps Getting an interview is a huge hurdle to clear, and a wonderful sign that you’re on the right track with your job search efforts. Now it’s time to shift your focus to becoming a rock star candidate.
1. Tying your career to your companyIf you’ve been with your employer for a long time, it may be tough to recognize where your career ends and the organization begins. Imagine that you showed up for work tomorrow only to find a grassy meadow in the spot where your office used to stand. Would you be able to quickly and easily transport all your talents to a new environment? Or is your expertise and credibility so intimately tied to your employer that you’re in big trouble without them? If it’s the latter, it’s time to start broadening your horizons and making sure you can add value on your own.
2. Staying plugged in, even when you’re not workingIt’s incredibly tempting to respond to internal and external customers at all hours of the day or night. Sometimes emergencies and deadlines necessitate this behavior, but when we do it all the time, we undermine our professionalism. Staying plugged in non-stop sends the message that it’s acceptable practice. It shows that we don’t have healthy boundaries, that we allow our work to take precedence over everything else. We teach people that we don’t respect our own time, so they don’t have to either.
3. Being a slave to your e-mailIn addition to unplugging outside of work, it’s important to unplug during your work day. There’s nothing so critical in your inbox that it needs a response in the next hour. Instead, turn off e-mail alerts and give your full attention to that big project. Or be completely present in your team meeting. You’ll perform better if you’re focused and your colleagues will appreciate you more.
4. Writing instead of talkingSending e-mails and text messages is easy. You get to craft your message to your satisfaction and have a permanent record of it. But it’s one of the worst ways to actually communicate. If you care about building relationships (and you should!), step away from the keyboard and go have an authentic human interaction. Walk the 50 feet down the hall. Pick up the phone. Leave someone a voicemail. That’s how relationships are built. Your ongoing success hinges much more on your relationships than your ability to draft an e-mail.
5. Expecting your supervisor to take responsibility for your developmentIf you’ve got a great manager, she’s an active participant in your professional growth – and not just when it’s time for your annual review. But even if you’re one of the lucky ones whose manager is also a mentor, you must take responsibility for your own development. Want a promotion in the next 12 months? Figure out what you need to do to make it happen. Considering a certification to enhance your credentials? Research programs and put together a proposal to pitch it to your boss and HR. Get comfortable with advocating on your own behalf. Don’t expect anyone else to do your heavy lifting.
6. Not keeping track of your accomplishmentsAlso in the “take personal responsibility” category is keeping track of everything you’ve accomplished. Whether it’s a portfolio of your work, hard numbers from your projects, or client testimonials, spend the time in the present to record or catalog this type of information. You’ll need it when it’s time to negotiate your next raise, pursue that new job, or land your first consulting client.
7. Passing over opportunities to be on cross-functional teamsYou’re busy. Overwhelmed. There’s more work to do than hours in which to do it, and you’ve got competing priorities in your personal life. So, you pass over the chance to volunteer for an internal project or to serve on a committee. Who has time? Leaders do. They make the time. Whether it’s inside your organization or outside in your community, seek out and select ways you can contribute, stretch, and meet new people. It’s these relationships and experiences that help expand your sphere of influence and make you more versatile.
8. Overlooking relationshipsYou can produce beautiful work and put out fires like no other, but if people don’t like you, or worse – they don’t know you – your career is going to stall. Having talent is essential, but we’re not exactly suffering from a talent shortage right now. Talent is a prerequisite for getting a seat at the table, but if you want to keep that seat, you must focus on cultivating relationships. When it comes time to part ways with your employer, your ability to smoothly transition to your next opportunity hinges on two things: the value you add and your relationships. People with strong relationships fare far better in job searches, transitioning to entrepreneurship, and tackling any of life’s challenges. This post was originally published on an earlier date.
Related Posts10 Bad Habits That Can Harm Your Career 5 Effective Work Habits For Fresh Graduates Wicked Smaht: Is Your Accent Hurting Your Professional Credibility?
About the authorKim Eisenberg, MSW, has been helping people create rewarding career paths for the past 10+ years. She blends her expertise in corporate career services and organizational leadership to deliver business savvy, strengths-based coaching with an emphasis on transitioning fields or making the leap to entrepreneurship. Schedule a free consultation with Kim here. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
You send out perfectly polished resumes and cover letters. Your LinkedIn profile is optimized. You’re networking and volunteering and blogging and tweeting… and still, no traction. If you’ve been at it for a few months and aren’t getting the results you want, it may be time to rethink your approach. It may be time to get a little weird. Related: Quick Analysis Of Your Job Search Techniques These unorthodox job search techniques are not going to work in all situations, and they are not for the faint of heart. But really, as long as you’re not going to get arrested, what do you have to lose? You already don’t have that job. If you try a strategy below and it doesn’t work, your worst-case scenario is that you will continue to not have the job. You might be Internet famous for a few days if you manage to really embarrass yourself, but you can always incorporate that viral video into your marketing campaign. Here are a five unorthodox job search techniques you should consider trying:
Most of us languish in our career situations not because of external forces holding us back, but our own internal narratives, beliefs, and attitudes. It’s challenging to change them, but it can be done. Related: 8 Mistakes You're Making At Work That Will Hurt Your Career It's time to change those bad attitudes you have about work. Following are some of the most common self-defeating attitudes I see in my practice, and what you can do if you see yourself in any of them.
Think about the worst boss you ever had. Remember what it felt like to go to work every day, knowing you had to report to someone who didn’t value your contributions and didn’t respect you as a person. Related: #1 Key To Becoming An Effective Leader Now, think about the best boss you ever had. The person who was tough but fair, and who made you feel like your work mattered. Reflect back on your performance under both of those people. Where did you shine and where did you struggle? Chances are astronomically high that you did a better job under the supervision of the person who believed in you, encouraged you, and managed to your strengths. Most of us falter and underperform when we’re constantly being scrutinized by pushy people – be they micro-managers, passive aggressive malcontents, or flat-out bullies. It’s something we understand intuitively: effective managers bring out the best in us. They understand that we have great work ethic, and that, if we’re in the right job, with the right resources, we will accomplish great things. They support us, challenge us, and help us get back on track when we fail. If you’re new to your management role and haven’t quite gotten the swing of it yet, you’re in luck! The world of work has never been more focused on leadership development, and paradigms are shifting. The best part is, there isn’t one right way to do it. You get to define the leadership style that works best for you.