Weekly Smart Networking Wisdom of Liz Lynch
Contributing Expert and Career Success! Partner
I moderated a networking panel recently where the first question during the Q&A period came from a woman in the audience who said, "I've been looking for a job for a while and trying to improve my computer skills in the meantime, but I haven't been able to find anything. What should I do?"
One of my fellow panelists said something I generally agree with, which is to find people who know you and your work and ask them for help, either in getting the word out about your need or helping to connect with you with others you should know.
None of us were prepared for her response: "They're all dead."
Okay, next question....Anyone? Anyone?
Yes, the woman was well into middle age, but could ALL the people she knew be dead, or were maybe some just avoiding her?
Being able to get help from your network when you need it is where the rubber meets the road in relationship building. Whether you were too busy working on your own personal stuff that you didn't make time to build relationships, or you built them and lost touch with them, or you built them and burnt them, the end result is the same: at some point in your life when you need supporters, you won't have them.
So what should you do instead?
First, make the time. Now. Today. Don't wait. Let's face it, none of us "have" the time for things we're supposed to do that might be good for us, like drinking eight glasses of water a day, doing 30 minutes of cardio five times a week, or sending cards to our relatives on their birthday. You have to make the time in your schedule on a consistent basis to nurture the relationships you already have, get to know the people you work with everyday, and get out there in person and online to add new contacts. (Read my prior post Can't Afford the Time to Network? for tips on how you can accomplish a lot in just a 30-minute block of time.)
Second, become more attractive. Not in your physical appearance, but in your knowledge, skills, attitude, and of course, your personal brand. Many times people will help you because it makes them look good to recommend a strong candidate. It's much harder to get that help, however, if you're middle of the road. You can't go back and change your college transcript or the last 15 years of your work experience, but you can move forward and develop new accomplishments. Get involved with something new--a project, a movement, anything--to build new skills and create new experiences that you can talk about.
Third, focus your goal.
Liz Lynch is author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and a sought-after speaker who brings a practical and insightful perspective to networking that has connected with a global audience. Liz is also founder of the Center for Networking Excellence, a company that develops products, programs and seminars to help entrepreneurs and professionals get clients, build their businesses, and accelerate their careers through networking.
Career Success! Partner Liz Lynch is a regular contributing expert on our blog site. Visit us every Friday for Liz's insights, ideas and wisdom on the subject of Smart Networking -- building powerful connections -- offering information that I hope will resonate with you in your journey to achieving incredible career success.
Co-host, Career Success Radio Show
A leading authority on career success; 15-year executive coaching veteran
Contact: Andy@CRGLeaders.com, 239-285-5575