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Myth #1: You must know the top managers or CEOs in order to network.
This is just not true! In fact, I landed my first job at Neiman Marcus by talking to the sales associates in the store. I set up informational interviews with them because they had something I didn’t, inside knowledge of the company, who is who, cultural norms, corporate structure etc. You must start right where you are. Don’t discount even the young person who rings you up at the cashier, they know HR and you don’t. Plus, you can practice that 60 second elevator pitch and perfect it by the time you meet the CEO and top management.
Myth #2: You have to be a natural to network, it doesn't take work.
I had a client tell me she wanted to land an investment banking job at UBS in New York. When I started working with her, she was timid and not sure how to network. So we worked on her image, elevator pitch and reasons for wanting to network. Once you have those key elements, then you will build the confidence. It’s not necessarily about you being a natural it’s about you being able to think, write and practice. She landed at UBS with doing those things and having the fortitude to persist. It’s something you can learn. Try reading books about networking. It's a science so study!
Myth #3: You have to be an extrovert to be a successful networker.
So not true! I have had so many shy clients (men and women) come to me and say but I can’t network. Well, it’s similar to what I said above you must practice, practice and practice. Would you believe it if I told you my Myers Briggs Type Analysis said I was an INTJ - yes the I stands for Introvert! You’re probably saying there is no way a career coach and networking guide is an introvert, but we all have the ability to step out of our comfort zones in order to achieve what we want. Perhaps you don't do crowds, but you'll have a 1 on 1. Or maybe you draw a networking map and ask others to make the first introduction for you. Many ways you can manage being low and building relationships.
Myth #4: Networking takes too much time and it has to be done face to face.
Remember the last time you were on the train and you had a great conversation until you arrived at your stop? Remember the last time you were waiting in line and you struck up a conversation with the next person in line? Well, it only takes you two seconds to say hello and deliver small talk: the weather, the outfit, the neighborhood, the cab that drove by with a sign on it, or I’ve seen you around do you work in the area?
Would you believe I met a top pharmaceutical sales rep on social media? Would you believe I met an HR executive for the D.C. transportation system on social media? Would you believe I met a former hip hop writer for P-Diddy on social media? Just be sure to be polite and courteous in all of your interactions and offer useful information to your contacts - it works both ways. You as need to be of value to them. Most of the time I just give without asking for nothing just so I can be in a person’s company and learn from them.
Myth #5: You need to know tons of people to network.
Just start with who you know: friends, parents, friend’s parents, parent’s friends... and that’s just the beginning. My dentist is married to the sister of the Dean at my former job. I had a client who landed a job at a national bank from sharing with her mechanic that she was looking in that field. Connect with your hairstylist, favorite restaurant owner, former classmates, and don’t stop there. Also, if you are on LinkedIn - download all your contacts into an excel spreadsheet - that feature is available. Take some time and look through your email address book - you might be amazed at all the contact already in your database.
~ 37 percent of workers polled by Robert Half International said the biggest mistake people make when networking is not asking for help
~ The Wall Street Journal reported that 94 percent of successful job hunters claimed that networking had made all the difference for them
~ Between 60 and 90 percent of jobs are found informally - mainly through friends, relatives and direct contacts.
~ The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 63.4 percent of all workers use informal job finding methods.
Dr. Natascha F. Saunders, is a Certified Professional Career Coach
"I speak about using fears as fuel to help people recharge, restore, and rebuild a purpose-driven career."
Be sure you take the time to connect! Although these tips are general they can be tweaked for your specific circumstance!
One mentor is not enough to guide, inspire, motivate, or challenge you to achieve your ultimate level of success. Getting a job is complex. Growing a business is complex. Navigating your next move is complex. As our society becomes more global, diverse and industries become more competitive, you cannot maximize your full potential without a team of advisors.
“Sure, your company has a board of directors, but shouldn't you have your very own board of directors too? Yes,” says Square CFO Sarah Friar.
Having a personal board of advisors that you trust provides for you a group of people who push you beyond your perceived limits. The team you assemble will provide you with resources, objective opinions and with the emotional support you may need, should you reach a life changing situation such as getting fired, laid off, promoted, falling ill or facing workplace politics.
Who is on your team now? Do you need to reassess, promote, demote or recruit?
Here are 7 types of people you need if you want to maximize your potential, build your brand, grow your network and leave a legacy:
#1 Mentor – Your mentor should offer you a general perspective on life and career. This person should be significantly accomplished (professionally, academically, fiscally, and physically), easily trusted, models behaviors you want to emulate, dependable, authentic and an effective listener. It would also be helpful if this person has known you for a few years.
#2 Career Coach – Your coach should help you create a strategic plan of your career (past, present, future), help you create a vision and guide you in mapping out your goals with a timeline, be a respectable member of the community, have a strong brand, public testimonials, an extensive network of contacts, and can tell you exactly like it is and will hold you accountable in achieving your goals.
#3 Spiritual/Therapist Advisor – This is crucial in maintaining your balance and in fostering a belief in something greater than yourself. There are times when you may feel as though you have hit a brick wall and you don’t know where to turn. It’s at this point your spiritual advisor can guide you with wisdom.
#4 Money Advisor – Regardless of whether or not you make $15/hr or $150/hr, a money advisor will guide you to actively save, plan for retirement, question your spending habits and help you navigate your major purchases. There is a myth that when you make a million dollars you will be more responsible. If you are not responsible over what you make now, your habits will carry over and impede your financial growth.
#5 Local Role Model – Who is the expert in your industry in your own city/town? Who is the expert in your particular craft that is often quoted in your local newspaper? Who is it that you may want to be like one day? This person is needed so you can visually see and touch what is possible. By speaking with someone over dinner whose career footsteps you’d like to tread, you can also establish your local reputation. This person can give you the playbook on how they accomplished their goals right in your own backyard.
#6 National Virtual Influencer – Being able to follow a person of influence on social media can help take your career to the next level. When you are faced with certain challenges, you can look up the leader you identify with and read what articles they have written to glean current input on similar situations. Some of these leaders even have social media ‘master-mind’ groups you can join.
#7 The Protégé – Having a younger advisor at least 7 years your junior will keep you humble. You may realize you don’t know as much as you think you do. They will impart a renewed energy. They will tell you how they feel candidly. You’ll have the opportunity to bounce ideas off someone who may not have as much experience as you do, but they will share exactly how they feel and that input can keep you current and help propel you into 21st century leadership.
Lastly, as you think about whom to approach, let them know why you are asking them and how their success has positively impacted you. Let them know what you hope to accomplish, and based on what you know about them, what you are willing to offer in return for their guidance.
It’s important to clearly outline what will be required of them as far as length of time, frequency of meetings, methods of meetings (in person or virtual), energy, resources etc. It will give them something to think on, so they can appropriately decide if they can commit.
No matter their decision, always follow-up with a thank you and keep pushing ahead!
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