Don’t forget the ripples!Mar 03, 2021
“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far reaching effects.”
— Dalai Lama
Ahhhh, March! Have you noticed daylight is getting noticeably longer and it’s no longer dark at 7 am or before 5 pm? What a welcome sight!
My clients often ask me how to get comfortable with networking or what to do to maximize one’s networking efforts as part of their job search/career transition. Many share their frustration that they’re not getting responses to their outreach or not really sure how to leverage their network or how to frame their ‘ask’. Does this resonate with you?
It often comes down to messaging – what is your call strategy (or outcome you desire from the call), what do you say (or ask?) in your outreach and when you‘re speaking with the individual, etc.
Reflecting on the quote at the top of the page, if you think of your immediate network as the pebble when it hits the water, the ripples reflect the introductions you’ll receive and the conversations that follow which will help advance your search.
This month’s newsletter is focused on networking, and specifically the importance of continually expanding your network while nurturing your current one. I’ll share the productivity tip that I encourage my clients to do to expand their network and make the most out of each and every conversation.
Based on my personal experience and hearing stories from my clients, THIS is one of the areas where the real magic happens that increases one's job search momentum.
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if the suggestions in this newsletter help you in the coming weeks and what the biggest change was you experienced.
Have a fabulous month, and don’t forget the ripples!
P.S. I invite you to share my newsletter with anyone you feel could benefit from receiving valuable content and insights specific to mid- to senior-level executive job seekers/career changers.
P.P.S. To learn more about Your Call To Action, LLC and how I help my clients go from being frustrated and struggling with their search, stuck in a toxic work environment or worried about being downsized to feeling excited, valued and re-energized at work (and in their life) again, take a look around my website.
Don’t forget the ripples!
“Networking is not collecting contacts! Networking is about planting relationships.”
By far and away the most effective job search strategies for mid- to senior level executives include leveraging your network and working with reputable and established executive recruiters. These, along with a number of other strategies, represent the ‘hidden job market’ and are the most productive and best use of your time when actively seeking your next career move.
Let’s talk networking …
At its core, networking is a give and take, although not always at the same time. What I mean by this is sometimes one gives (offers to help another person) without any expectation of taking (receiving something of value). In many networking situations, such as attending formal networking events like BNI, it’s good etiquette to offer to help others (inquire how you can help them) first. It tends to come back to you multiple times over!
Many of my clients share they are uncomfortable with networking with people they know as well as with complete strangers. Following are the five most common reasons I hear, along with some tips and strategies to overcome and begin benefitting from networking:
1. They are uncomfortable asking for help
If this resonates with you, you are not alone as I hear this frequently from many of my highly-accomplished clients. Think about the times people have reached out to you and asked you for help or advice. Weren’t you happy to hear from them? Weren’t you flattered? Were you happy to help them? I’m guessing in most cases your answer to these questions was ‘yes’! Keeping this in mind really helps when you seek out advice or help from others.
Another step you can take to help you be comfortable with this is to turn the tables – ask how you can be of help to them. Depending on the situation, it’s fairly common to lead with this ‘ask’; however, it usually happens just prior to wrapping up your networking conversation. Say something like “Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. You were extremely helpful and I really appreciate it. I’d like to reciprocate (or I’d like to return the favor) … what can I do for you? (or how can I be of help to you?).”
More often than not, there isn’t anything. If there is something you can help with, jump on it and be gracious about it. If there isn’t anything or they can’t think of anything, don’t worry. You can always say ‘this is an open ended offer so please keep me in mind when you do.' The key here is you asked and that is part of Networking 101 Etiquette – give and take.
2. How to get comfortable with networking
The best way to get comfortable is by adjusting your mindset. Aside from people inherently liking to help others, be curious and open-minded, be excited to reconnect with former colleagues you haven’t talked with in years (and were probably close when working together) as you never know how valuable their insights and suggestions will be, or where the introductions will lead.
As I think about the hundreds of clients I have worked with, the vast majority found their next opportunity through their network, whether it was someone they knew or someone they were introduced to through their network.
3. What to do to maximize one’s networking efforts as part of their job search/career transition
In order to be highly effective, I’ve found this can be broken down into 5 actions, done on a consistent basis:
- Be strategic – always have a strategy and outcome in mind. How could this person help you? What would you like to walk away with at the end of the conversation? How can you help them?
- Block out chunks of time on the calendar for focused action – be ruthless about honoring this time on your calendar and using the time wisely. I often hear of people sending email blasts to their network asking for a job or asking the recipient to forward their resume to anyone they know with an opening. As a mid- to senior level executive job seeker, this is THE most ineffective approach to networking and could negatively impact you. Instead, use your chunks of time to:
- Send an upbeat, clear and concise message to the recipient asking for a quick (or brief or 10-15 minute) call and letting them know you look forward to seeing how you can be of help to them, as well.
- Follow up on previously sent outreach from which you’re waiting to hear.
- Follow up with those you’ve previously spoken with and provide an update, thanking them again for their help, etc.
- Be respectful of their time – when you do schedule time to talk with someone, you probably have blocked out 10-15 minutes for the call (or for in-person networking, it’s a 30-minute or hour lunch or coffee). Keep in mind that most of the individuals you’re speaking with are working, so watch the clock and be respectful of their time.
- The power of 2 – one of the best strategies to expand your network is to focus on seeking quality introductions to people who are well-connected, well-respected in their industry and/or at companies you’re interested in.
- As part of your networking strategy and preparation for a call or in-person networking conversation, do some research on LinkedIn and identify 2 people you’d like to ask the person if they’d be willing to introduce you.
- Phrase your “ask” from the standpoint of wanting to pick their brain, seek their advice, learn more about their company and what it’s like to work there, etc. … NOT “see if they have a job for me.”
- How can you help them? Get in the habit in your outreach and when having networking conversations to always and sincerely ask how you can be of help to the other person. Most people don’t do this. It’s the right thing to do, and you will stand out (in a good way).
4. Feeling frustrated because they’re not getting responses to their outreach
If this resonates with you, I encourage you to think about the following and course correct:
- What is your approach? Are you primarily communicating through email, text or LinkedIn messaging? Think again … those are fine for the initial outreach, but, as stated above, try to secure a quick call or meet for coffee or lunch for the conversation.
- What is your messaging? If you received an email with your messaging, how would you respond? What would you want to hear or read that would lead you to agreeing to a brief or quick call?
- They’re working! If you’re currently in transition, your full-time job is looking for your next role and your sense of urgency is much greater than theirs. Stay organized and be sure to follow up with people you’re waiting to hear from in a healthy cadence (don’t stalk!) while continuing to expand your network at the same time.
5. What to say
In addition to what’s previously been written, here are some strategies to think about to get you started:
- What would you ideally like to accomplish from the call?
- How could this individual be of help to you? Seek their knowledge of the industry (trends, key players, etc.), insights into the culture and what it’s like working (or interviewing) at that company, introduction to key people at companies you’re interested in, write a LinkedIn recommendation for you or ask if they’d be a reference for you when you’re close to an offer
- How can you be of help to them?
Networking is invaluable (do I dare say, necessary?) when you’re seeking your next career move, but keep in mind -- networking is an activity that should be a conscious and integral part of your weekly/monthly efforts throughout your career. Businesses thrive on networking -- connecting and collaborating with like-minded professionals can be really enjoyable!
“Networking is simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships. It works best, however, emphasizing the ‘give’ part.”
— Bob Burg
The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg and John David Mann
I attended a local networking event soon after launching my business in 2015 where the guest speaker was Bob Burg. At the time, his name didn’t mean anything to me; however, it does now! He was captivating and I completely resonated with his Go Giver message. If you’re looking for an impactful yet quick read, his original Go-Giver book (now a series) is a must read!
If you are a mid- to senior-level executive and motivated to find your next opportunity (or know someone who is), I'd love to speak with you to better understand your situation, what you're looking to do, and see how I can be of help.
Prior to launching Your Call To Action, LLC in 2015, Audie spent over 30 years in technology sales and sales leadership roles working with C-Level and other key stakeholders at Fortune 1000 companies utilizing a consultative and value-based approach to addressing her clients' needs.
Due to the evolving nature of the technology industry, it was common to change companies due to M&A, new leadership coming in and bringing their own team, corporate restructurings, or as a way to advance one's career. Audie became very proficient — and successful — in landing multiple offers each time, and was frequently complimented on how she stood out (in a good way!) from other candidates throughout the interview process.
She leverages her business acumen, consultative and value-based approach to sales, and professional coach training (ICF Certified) in working with clients and delivering her proven methodology, strategies and tips for successfully landing a new position (after all, one needs to sell oneself, right?).
Audie is intuitive, nurturing, and compassionate yet firm—all of the qualities you should want in a coach. She is your accountability partner with a focus on helping you get real results ... and you’ll also have fun along the way!
Want to learn more? Click here to book a Complimentary Strategy Session.