Make us your home page
Instagram

Career Coach: Your success likely depends on people you don't know — yet

iStockphoto

iStockphoto

I'm writing this article with an assumption that you want to grow in your career. It's impossible to accomplish this without other people. These could be collaborators, teammates, customers, suppliers, bosses, advisors, mentors, family, friends and most likely people you don't yet know. Yes, you read that correctly. Much of your growth should also be coming from people you don't know today. How will you get to know these people who will positively impact your career and whose careers you may have a positive impact on, too? Become an accomplished networker.

Some of you think networking won't work for you because you're shy, an introvert. I always tell my clients that it's critical that they get uncomfortable every day. If you're not willing to venture outside your comfort zone, how will you continue to grow? The more you venture outside of your comfort zone, the larger it becomes and the more you'll have opened up to new opportunities. So please don't dismiss networking, as it's an incredibly powerful tool, personally and professionally.

Begin with where you'll be most comfortable — your colleagues, friends, family and neighbors. Let the people in your personal network know about your goals, interests and aspirations. Ask if they know anyone who it would be beneficial for you to meet who could serve as a mentor, advisor or simply a great contact with like interests.

If you hear the word "no" several times, don't be discouraged. It's all about timing. When I ran a national sales team, I always told them that hearing "No" is a great thing, as that is one step closer to a "Yes" coming your way.

Conferences and networking events

Attend as many industry conferences and networking events as possible. A industry conference is a fantastic way to expand your network in your field. Remember that you are the chief marketing officer of your life so you must advocate for yourself and build your own personal brand. Again, this requires pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. The more people who can meet you and become familiar with your talents, skills and abilities, the more you'll increase your personal brand awareness, which will serve you well in your career.

If you're attending an industry conference with a colleague, don't use each other as a security blanket. You can attend plenary sessions together but split up and go to separate break-out sessions where you can meet new people. Always turn to the people next to you and introduce yourself. Always be equipped with plenty of business cards and always ask others for theirs in return. I make it a point to write a brief email to each person I met, letting them know how much I enjoyed meeting them. I add their contact information to my contacts and if your firm has one, add them to your company's Customer Relationship Management program. onnect with them on LinkedIn.

Speaking of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool and you should be leveraging it in every way possible. Remember, this is a social media platform that's focused on business relationships, something you continually want to grow throughout your career.

First things first: Create your profile. It should be highly professional and this should be taken very seriously, as this is your Internet marketing tool for building your personal brand. Your LinkedIn profile should expand on your resume. Set up a custom LinkedIn Profile URL with your name and include a professional picture.

Spend a little time on LinkedIn every day. Look through your current contacts and see if any of their contacts would be beneficial to you. Request an introduction to those people and expand your network. If they accept the connection, send them a LinkedIn message thanking them for connecting with you.

Join LinkedIn groups in your field. This is very important. One you're accepted into a group you have open access to contacting other group members with common interests and this can be huge for you. Leverage your alma mater by joining their groups and following them on LinkedIn.

Ask your contacts who know you if they would be willing endorse you for skills you have listed in your profile. Also ask those who have worked closely with you if they would write a recommendation for you. This will also appear in your profile. Do your best to master this platform by reading one of the numerous books on the best ways to utilize LinkedIn.

Remember, you're the one responsible for marketing yourself and building your personal brand. Networking is a skill you should be embracing as much as possible. Challenge yourself, get outside of your comfort one and rapidly expand your personal network. You won't regret it.

Career Coach: Your success likely depends on people you don't know — yet 06/07/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 1:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]