Thursday, September 26, 2013

Last week, the  Networking Tip centered around "asking for assistance." I admitted that my own ego often gets in the way of doing this. So, I set a goal over the past week to reach out to others and let them know how I could use their help or advice. Now, depending upon the type of relationship, close friend, acquaintance, close work colleague, more loosely connected colleague, etc., what we ask for might be different. Using common sense here is important. And, if you aren't certain, then ask someone else who can advise you on whom and how to approach. 

I started with close friends who knew me and it was a safe way of practicing. I had lunch with a long-time friend and former work colleague who listened to my work goals and gave me some wonderful guidance. In exchange, I treated him to lunch and knew that we were also spending time that continues to build this friendship. I ended by asking permission to take him to lunch again in the next two months to continue to gain his support and guidance as I moved forward with my plans.
Important note here: The plans aren't necessarily completely formulated. Part of meeting with my friend is assisting me in making plans and goals more solid and realistic.

There were a few others whom I went to and told about my need for help with a personal project. One of my friends knows how difficult it is for me to ask, even admit to myself that I need help, as I think I always have it "in control."  Again, I knew she would understand and welcome this.

Over the last week, I have learned that it's much better to seek assistance in my network and not "go it alone." It will take me time to get used to doing this until this becomes more of a natural way of life for me. So, I'm continuing the practice and going to extend out to a wider circle in my network. I encourage you to do the same. 

How does this all relate back to networking? We are networking when we reach out like this. It's either going back to a connection we already have or seeking out a new one. And, don't forget, ask your friend or colleague: "Who else would be a good contact for me in this situation?" So, let's pick up the phone (or send an email) and get started.

 Good luck with your networking and seeking out help and guidance for your career and life plans.

Marianne   408-295-6656

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Tips: Ask for Help. It Works!

Why are some of us afraid to ask for help and/or admit we don't know the answer or how to do something? I'm one of those people. I'm known as a knowledge expert in my field. I'm always giving resources and guidance to others for their successful job search, career advancement or change. However, I often don't ask others when I need advice or help. Why? For me, my EGO gets in the way. I should know the answer already. Or, my fear of asking arises. And, sometimes it's a self-esteem issue, left over from early childhood days.

This month we are looking at how to network. Well, networking is about giving and receiving help. And, almost everyone likes being asked to give assistance often because they get to share expertise in an area that they love and want to discuss. So, I'm going to give us all a goal for this week. Ask one person for help related to your job search or career. Notice, not only what results you get, but how it feels. Take notes. I'm going to do the same and report back.

Good luck and have a great week!
Marianne 408-295-6656

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TUESDAY TIPS: Network Your Way into a New Job

Years ago research was performed with Bell Lab engineers, some of the brightest professionals in their field, to find out what set apart the top 20% of these engineers. The research results indicated one reason that the top 20% were so successful. That reason was because they "networked." Networking or "connecting with others" gave these top engineers access to others for collaboration, information share, etc.

With that in mind, if you are looking for a new opportunity, the first place to go and seek assistance is to people in your network. And, it's never too late, to re-connect. Linkedin makes it very acceptable and easy to reach out to former colleagues and friends whom we haven't seen, sometimes for decades.  When you reach out, be prepared to let the person know how they might help. Also, be prepared for a wide range of responses. Everyone has different skill sets and some will be more inclined to help you by making an introduction or forwarding a resume to someone. Don't take it personally if they aren't able to assist you. Move on and continue to "network."

Something encouraging and interesting to do is ask everyone you know, even those in your more professional networking meetings, how they landed their last position. You will hear a lot of great stories about how someone in one's circle of contacts played a part in it. I do contract work at a major biotech company in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of the people who put in a good word for me was formerly on the executive team at the company. I had sent her a short email letting her know I was looking, so she was aware. Low and behold she ended up on the elvator with my future boss and put in a good word. Lucky for me! You can't make those connections happen but, as we call it in the career development world, you are ready for this planned happenstance*.

So, get on linkedin, set up coffee dates, phone an old friend or colleague, and talk to your neighbor and the person behind you in the grocery store line. You never know where that connection will lead you.

For more ideas about linkedin,  stay tuned for next Tuesday's Tips! Have a week of connecting and re-connecting.

Marianne   408-295-6656 

*John Krumboltz, an eminent psychologist at Stanford University coined a term for the process of scientific research – 'planned happenstance'.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

TUESDAY TIPS: Education, Training, Networking, and More

During the month of August, Resume was the theme of our Tuesday Tips. This month the theme will be Networking. To kick us off, I want to mention a "2-fer" (two results gained from one action taken). This "2-fer" comes when you take a skills building workshop or certificate program or undertake additional education. First of all, by doing this, you are almost always adding value to your resume content and you may increase your viability as a candidate for a new role, advancement, or job. Secondly, you have the opportunity to expand your network at the same time.  Read on to hear how this happens.

When you are in a class, you have the opportunity to meet new people. Hence, you increase your network. Remembering to exchange cards when getting to know others is important. Set a goal to add at least 2 class participants to your contact list and keep in touch with them. Some of you reading this may want to get to know everyone in the class. I set our bar at the lower end - getting to know 2 people - because networking doesn't come easily to a lot of us. I have found that I have more success in meeting others at events when I don't overwhelm myself by thinking that I have to connect with everyone in the room.  When a goal is set lower and viewed as achievable, there is still the option to set a higher goal next time or exceed the goal the first time.

So, now you know about this "2-fer". However, before you sign up for additional education and training, there is one very important item to address. If you are taking workshops and classes in order to achieve a target job, ask yourself if you would be able to attain this target today, without additional training or education. Sometimes the additional coursework will not be the way to reach the target. It might be your way of procrastinating. Or, there might be new job related skills that you would be able to attain through a project or assignment at work. Or, perhaps you volunteer and gain new skills through that experience. A client of mine attained recent HR experience through a volunteer opportunity. We have added it to her resume. It's right up front along with her work experience in other areas. Or, sometimes, what you really need is more visibility for the work that you are already doing and you aren't quite certain how to go about gaining that visibility and recognition. This is a time to reach out to mentors and those in your work network for advice about how you might gain "good" attention for your work.

In conclusion, please make certain that you are addressing the entire landscape surrounding your job target. Seek guidance from experts in that field to find out what next steps will be the best ones to take. I always recommend to my clients that they go through an information gathering process before signing up for coursework. This brings additional assurance to them that they are taking the right next step in reaching their next career journey destination.

In wrapping up Tuesday Tips today, here's a tip that will assist you in your emails and email responses. Always put your contact information at the end of your email. As a former recruiter and hiring manager, and now as a career coach who receives hundreds of emails each week, it's so helpful when I don't have to go back to a former email or attachment or saved file to find a phone number. It makes my job easier and gives you more insurance that the call will come to you from the receiver of your email message.

I hope you found this information helpful and that you have a great week ahead. 

Marianne   408-295-6656