Prepare now by building relationships.
Advice for Women in Business
Many people are facing unexpected challenges in their careers today with the volatile state of the economy. With a record number of lay-offs in the U.S., some are looking for new positions in their profession or industry, while others are transitioning into completely new careers. In either case, there is a right way to utilize your network to find a new job. Here are a few tips that will help you network your way into a great new position:
Update your networking tool kit. It goes without saying that updating your resume is the first thing you should do when you are looking for a new position. But be sure that you update all of your networking tools as you embark upon your job search. Develop and practice a new personal tag line that reflects your experience and expertise, as well as the type of positions, companies and industries you are targeting. You need to be able to introduce yourself in a confident, compelling manner even without a job title and employer. I also suggest you create a polished personal business card that includes your email address, cell phone number and professional online profiles on sites such as LinkedIn.
Stay involved in organizations & events. Many people don’t feel as though they should continue to be involved in organizations or attend events when they lose a job or a business. In fact, the worst thing you can do is go into hiding. With today’s economic woes, no one “blames” anyone for losing their job. By going underground you are ignoring one of the biggest assets you have for finding another position – access to a network of current and future relationships. Be sure to balance diversity and focus in your networking efforts. You should network in environments that expose you to a diversity of people, professions and industries. But, you don’t want to take the “shotgun” approach to networking by attending tons of events and joining a huge variety of organizations. This will make you appear unfocused about your future goals and even slightly desperate.
Reach out to friends & colleagues. It’s not easy for anyone (especially women it seems) to ask for help. But you will need help to make your career transition, so try to become comfortable with reaching out to your network. After all, you have taken the time to build these relationships, so now is the time to leverage them. Also remember that most people actually like to help others – it makes them feel good. Keep in mind, however, that if you do meet someone with a good network, be respectful that it is their network (not yours) and do not simply expect them to introduce you to important people that they know. Be thankful to anyone who talks with you about your quest. People are more likely to help someone who is genuinely appreciative than someone who simply expects others to help. Even if you don’t think that you got anything immediate or tangible from a meeting, be appreciative that someone gave you the gift of their time and experience.
Keep your network in the loop. Don’t burn your bridges by failing to follow-up. You should not only thank those, who have helped you, for their time and advice, you should keep them apprised of your job search. If you do utilize their advice or contacts, let them know. And when you do find a new job, be sure to give your new contact information to everyone in your network.
In order to be truly effective, networking should be a way of life, as opposed to a sporadic strategy that is only followed when you have a specific or urgent need. If you have taken the time to build your network and your personal brand before you really need them, you will find them to be tremendous assets when you do. Networking can indeed lead you to your next job, whether you are out of work or simply looking for a better opportunity. The key is to prepare now by building relationships and a good reputation.
Written originally for w2wlink by Marny Lifshen.
is an independent marketing communications and PR consultant, as well as a speaker and author. She provides comprehensive strategy, management, implementation and evaluation of marketing communications and public relations initiatives to wide variety of clients. Marny is the author of Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women, the business category winner for the 2009 Eric Hoffer Awards for Independent Books, released by New Year Publishing in August of 2008. An experienced speaker, she has been speaking specifically to women's organizations for more than ten years, including Women in Technology International, Women in Communications and the Young Women's Alliance. Marny can be reached at www.marnylifshen.com.
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