I’m obsessed with networking. Mostly because I know how valuable it is, but also because I just don’t like to do it.
It’s a total love/hate relationship.
Love because I’ve gotten so many opportunities from ALL forms of networking. Hate because I wish networking wasn’t so important.
So I’m always on the look out for networking ideas that suit my introvert self but that work. Which is how I came across Michelle Warner’s Networking System. She developed it based off a networking course she took in her MBA program and uses it to build her businesses through the creation of a referral network.
I saw some amazing potential in this system immediately, the same night that I heard about it I told my clients about it. They needed this in their lives.
But I also knew that it wasn’t perfect for job seekers, so I worked on tweaking it to make it more relevant. I wanted it to be easy, push us a little out of our comfort zone and take almost no time at all.
Once I had it all figured out, I wanted to get it out to the world. So I hosted the Networking Challenge over in the Career Networking Group on Facebook. I went Live each day to talk about the day’s challenge, I posted ideas and sample emails (come join the group to get them).
It all boiled down to this:
5 days. 5 minutes. Advocates Galore.
Monday: Be Thankful
On Monday, we sent out emails to say “thank you”. We did this to old colleagues, managers or even someone we didn’t know.
We told them why we were thankful and how their advice/tool/resource had a positive impact on our careers.
Tuesday: Offer Help
This day was about generating good will and getting comfortable emailing. One thing I’ve noticed in my years in recruitment and career coaching is that saying yes and offering help always yields positive results.
Plus, a common thought that prevents or scares us off from networking is the thought that the person on the other end will feel like we are asking too much or being a burden. But by offering help, we take that fear away.
We offered help to new grads, other job seekers, sending information/articles and even connecting people.
LinkedIn networking is important. It tells the algorithm that you are active (making it like you more) plus it increases your network and name familiarity.
Now this day wasn’t about easy engagement, just hitting like or commenting on a friend’s post on LinkedIn.
It was seeing a post, having something to say but feeling a little sick at the notion of it. It’s about being scared to do it but doing it anyway. That’s a great habit to develop with networking.
Thursday: Ask for Help
On day 4, we pushed ourselves a little bit more. We chose someone we know (friend, colleague or old manager) and sent them an email asking for some of their time. A chance to reconnect, gather some information and ask for advice.
Why this works? When we’ve lost touch with someone we are no longer in their “recency bias” for when new opportunities pass them by. This is a time to remind them of who you are and tell them about what you want at this point in your career.
Friday: Be Bold
The last day of the week is about pushing ourselves even more, it's a culmination of the entire week. It’s very similar to Thursday, except we are reaching out to people we DON’T know. We looked at people who work where we want to work or in jobs that we want to work in.
We crafted an email that asked for a few minutes of their time so that we can learn more about they do. Not asking for a job, just asking for information. This helps us create a network of people who can support us find that RIGHT career for us.
Rinse and Repeat.
I recommend doing this every week. Carve out 5 minutes in your calendar each day and commit to it. It’s going to create SO MANY opportunities for you. You’ll have a powerful network that gives you access to that Hidden Job Market. You’ll have mentors and advocates that want to see you succeed.
Don’t forget, join the group to get support, the sample emails and more tips on how this will change your career success.
COVID & THE FUTURE OF WORK
Things are changing, rapidly. We’re all on this roller coaster ride that isn’t fun at all. Our lives have been heavily impacted, especially our careers and our work.
The job market has been impacted just as much and the future has us living in the unknown right now. For anyone like me, that unknown is terrifying. It leaves you feeling unsettled, anxious and worried.
So I went digging into finding some answers to remove some of that unknown quality and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. This article isn’t anything “written in stone” but just a collection of insights about the marketplace that will leave you feeling a little surer of what’s to come.
First, let’s break down the immediate impact this crisis has had on the marketplace, especially the organizations and how they have reacted. Jenny Hargreaves over at tellent did an amazing job breaking this down. She noted that most organizations fell into 1 of 3 areas:
1. Ruin: these are the companies that are falling apart. They may be declaring bankruptcy, shutting down or on the brink of it happening.
2. Dormant: these companies were shocked and they are unclear of how this will impact them. They’ve entered a “wait and see” approach by having a hiring freeze, issuing temporary layoffs, having really scaled back on their goals and the staff needed to accomplish it. They anticipate and can survive this for 3-6 months and after that there is some uncertainty.
3. Hiring: These are the companies that are expanding and growing during this time. While all industries may see some growth, here is a list of industries that are experiencing expansion:
The anticipation is that all of these will continue to grow with the thought of 3 waves of Covid with social distancing measures needed for each, so we would expect this expansion to last 18 months -2 years.
Now not every department within these industries will grow. Some thoughts I have on the departments that will be important:
1. Risk Management & Cyber Security (obvious reasons)
2. Human Resources (unlike 2008, HR has saved the day for many organizations),
4. Communications (2nd most sought after talent right now)
5. Marketing (for pivots – but will be short lived, there is expectation that some lay offs may happen once we are done)
Some of the departments that have been streamlined are Project Management (in the short term and then will come back), Sales, Marketing and Administrative.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
So if you are looking for a job right now or will be in the near future, what are some of the actions you can take?
1. Explore the list of growing industries and examine your skill set. What skills do you have already that can be used?
2. Dig into the companies on this list to see who has a history of remote work. They are the ones we really want to target as they would’ve been able to pivot during this time a lot quicker and easier. All they had to focus on was the pandemic. Companies not set up had to divide their attention between setting up their workforce to work from home PLUS the pandemic.
3. Research and get familiar with the technologies that make working from home a lot easier. When applicable, update your resume and LinkedIn to showcase them.
4. Speaking of your marketing documents, focus on your experiences that involved TRANSFORMATION. Either transformation that you led or where a part of. Outline how you can make the lives of these companies and the people within it easier.
5. Networking is always the best thing you can do for your career. But this is especially true right now. People are more generous in spirit which means that they are more willing to agree to an online networking meeting. For my clients, a lot of great networking is happening right now. Speaking of, join my Career Networking Group!
Hope exists. The marketplace is going to change, that’s a fact. But when we focus on thinking about the opportunity that this time is giving us the we feel hopeful and we take actions that lead us to those great results we want to see.
If you are struggling with this right now, schedule a free strategy call. Let’s talk about your struggle right now, your vision for your future and how we can get you there.
You know me. I don’t do warm and fuzzy when it comes to the job search or career changes. You see, I’m a big believer in you knowing the good, the bad and the ugly (with an emphasis on the latter 2) so that you can be prepared. Knowing what can come allows you to come up with a plan. Either a plan of how you will handle it, so that you can overcome these challenges. Or a plan of how you can mitigate these risks, so that they either pass you by or hit with a softer punch.
1. Ageism Exists
No one wants to believe it. Especially since it is ILLEGAL for companies and managers to discriminate you. But it does, I’ve seen it first hand. In a recent AARP survey they found that 48% of people over 50 have witnessed or experienced ageism.
This reverberates throughout the last decade or two of your career. Meaning that you’re more likely to be passed up for a promotion and definitely more likely to be laid off. Compounding the problem is that for individuals over 55, a job search takes longer due to pervading stereotypes preventing companies from requesting an interview or presenting an offer.
It also exists the other way too, there is a stereotype of millennials that has pervaded the thoughts of companies, especially ones that are holding on to their “traditional” culture. But it doesn’t just impact their ability to get a job but also impacts their salary as they make 20% less than Gen X and other generations did at the same age.
Want more? I did a Facebook Live about this very topic.
2. Most People Hate Their Jobs
52% of people hate their job. Every time I write that out I’m floored. I don’t know why it shocks me though since I spent 15 years in a career I didn’t like! It is hard to find true success and happiness in our careers and jobs if we don't like them.
This means we are less engaged, less productive and less everything. It has a detrimental impact on our feelings of self-worth.
So when you are finally ready to find that fulfilling career it is a little bit harder. Find ways to love the job you hate so that you can find the career you love.
3. Professional Ghosting is a Thing
It shouldn’t be a thing. But it is. And it is a two-way street, candidates ghosting companies and companies ghosting clients. In fact, CareerBuilder states that 75% of applicants never heard back from an employer during the job search!
It is so unprofessional on both ends. But instead of ranting, let’s talk what YOU can do about it.
Number 1, obviously, don’t ghost. If you change your mind or circumstances just let an interviewer know. Blacklisting can happen and you don’t want to take that chance.
Number 2, if you are ghosted. Follow-Up 2-3x max. If it really rankles you leave a negative review for them on Glassdoor. Then move on, you can’t let the negativity ruin your whole search!
4. Burn Out is on the Rise
Burn Out has gotten so bad that WHO has included it in its International Classification of Diseases . I’ve helped clients in the throes of it and others who are finally seeing the light. I’ve heard from HR across the country who has seen a rise in sick leave due to stress. It is spreading and it can completely derail your career.
Full blown burn out can take a long time to recover from, and there are cases where a person never fully does. Meaning that they need to change working conditions and sometimes careers to stay healthy.
First off, read this article on the signs and symptoms to see if you have Burn Out. Then do something – maybe call your Doctor if it is really bad, hire a coach to ease the suffering or pick ONE thing to get you moving towards a healthier work-life.
5. Your Online Presence is Being Judged
Are you one of the 50% who’ve been passed over because of your online presence? The scary thing is, you can’t even answer that question because you will never know.
I know privacy is becoming a thing of the past, but for the sake of your career you need to be mindful of how you portray yourself.
First off, ignoring LinkedIn, let’s focus instead on the personal social media channels. Are your profiles set to private? If not, have they been scrubbed clean of inappropriate content? Who do you allow to see your profiles from work and if everyone, including management, are you portraying yourself in a way that would discourage promotions? Are you even on social media, if you don’t have any online presence that could also be a problem.
LinkedIn is still important as well. Do you have a personal brand and is your LinkedIn in line with that? Is your profile set up and optimized to showcase you as a leader in your field and to be found by recruiters (giving you more control over the future of your career). Here is my Facebook live where I talked about this.
6. AI is Coming For Your Job
Maybe not everyone’s jobs but there are many jobs that are predicted to be impacted with some resulting in job changes and some resulting in the elimination of certain careers with the introduction of technology, robots and automation never mind Artificial Intelligence.
What can you do? Technology will never be able to cover the soft skills, that is why I focused on the soft skills YOU need to future proof your career in this article.
7. Pay Inequity Exists
Most of us know it, but not everyone truly believes it. But it does. Women make less, People of Colour make less, New Canadians make less. It sucks and it isn’t fair.
So much of it is rooted in ingrained belief systems that just do not hold up. It happens during the offer process when hiring managers just don’t see the person has deserving top dollar and it keeps happening during the performance reviews when those same managers again don’t see the value and therefore do not offer a big raise.
There isn’t much I can do as an individual except keep talking about it. What I do try to do is arm you with the best negotiation tips, tricks with articles and videos so that you can fight for your worth (even though you shouldn’t have to).
7 things that you don’t want to know about. But now that you do, you can come up with a plan. A plan to make sure that your career isn’t impacted by one (or more) of these 7 obstacles.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
The Secrets to finding a job you love
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