In my last post OH SHIFT!, I talked about that OH SHIFT! moment when we come upon a potential career transition, the importance of personal-professional alignment, and using a 3-step process to get make that alignment happen. To review:
- Define your vision of personal success
- Define your vision of professional success.
- Compare and determine where those two visions are in alignment. Find out where they are in alignment, where they are not and what needs to change in order to better align them.
Aligning your visions is important for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it helps you to start building out your personal narrative. That is, it will help you tell the story of your career history, your passions, and your business value. You’ve got to get your personal SHIFT together before you start career networking of any kind.
No matter when or where you interact with others, the deep-down message you project is a combination of what you say and how you say it. Your skill in presenting your authentic ideas and vision shapes the perception others have of you, personally and professionally.
Managing to Network
Understandably, many people start loosely networking among previous colleagues and recruiters when they hear of potential opportunities. But if they do this before getting their Shift together, they come off as unfocused and tentative. They may not have updated their resumes, they’re not able to effectively articulate their desired career path or compellingly express their own value proposition.
Analyzing or rewriting one’s own resume can be tough; it takes time and an objective eye to fully develop personal value statements and even more time and skill to build a personal brand that supports strategic marketing of one’s own talents.
Even then, the resume can’t replace the “emotional intelligence” needed in a candidate’s career networking effort and interviewing, especially as it relates to networking with recruiters.
The Don’t s and “Do’s” of Career Search Networking:
I’d like to share a couple of examples of less-than stellar communication I’ve received from job seekers, including those looking for leadership roles:
I have attached my resume and provided my LinkedIn.com profile. Let me know if you have anything for me.”
“Hi Donna, I sent you my résumé last week. I was just wondering if you have any contacts in my field or job openings that fit my background. I look forward to hearing from you.”
Weak, lacking passion and focus, and certainly not compelling. Where’s the rapport building? The push for a value-based conversation? Where’s the drive that will reassure a recruiter that it’s worth his or her time working on the client’s behalf?
Remember this: If you position yourself properly to a recruiter, he or she will market you to companies even without a search agreement. If you position yourself properly to previous colleagues or peers, they will be happy to sponsor you within their organization.
GET YOUR SHIFT TOGETHER Tips on Career Networking
- Prepare yourself like a politician! Make sure your resume is smart and professionally prepared. Make strong value statements, and ensure that your accomplishments are aptly summarized. Know why you are powerful to an organization and be prepared to say it at in any networking conversation. Your goal is to convert conversations into viable business opportunities.
- Know your story. Don’t assume the recruiter or the hiring authority understands what you do just from your title. Be prepared to succinctly tell specific stories around the accomplishments you listed in your resume. Storytelling demonstrates your ability to communicate and, by engaging listeners, ensures they will remember you. In these first steps, the burden falls on you to prove your value, not on the recruiter.
- Practice interviewing with a career coach. Once you’re prepared, be sure to treat the recruiter as if you are interviewing with the CEO or the hiring authority. Demonstrate that you understand your market, the industry trends, and the critical business issues you have solved in your role.
- Stay formal. It may be natural to want to be familiar, loose, or too honest with previous colleagues or recruiters when responding to career-transition questions. You also might feel that you want to save your “good” answers for the real hiring authority, but be very careful in this area. Part of the recruiter’s role is to pre-screen candidates and eliminate those who are not articulate or aligned with business requirements. If you are networking with previous colleagues, they have a reputation to uphold as well. Sell your business skills in every conversation!
- Don’t Be a Generalist. Be prepared to discuss roles that you flourish in, that are best suited for you and where you can make impact. Have a specific list of companies that you are attracted to in the market, and why you should be presented to them.
Career networking revolves around your business acumen, your passion and motivation, your accomplishments, and your business value proposition. Remember the goal is to convert conversations into viable business opportunities.
If you haven’t taken the time to get your Shift together before looking for the next career opportunity, you may be half-hearted about the search or you’re self-defeating about your possibilities. That’s the time to seek a coach.
Is your Shift together? Let’s find out together.
Donna is a career and sales coach who works with individuals to help them become more successful. She also works as a sales/players coach with FOBIA. If you are seeking Career Coaching to fuel your success for a new appointment or due to merger and acquisition, or simply to stretch your leadership skills, Donna will work as your thought partner to provide career management support in areas such as: best career search strategies, latest trends in career collateral, personal branding strategies, mock interviews, and comprehensive psychometric testing. Click here for details http://bit.ly/11tqNKw
Donna also provides sales coaching and sales coaching workshops.