Congratulations to all recent college graduates and to those making it past the entry-level career ladder pursuing careers during these chaotic times. You should be so proud of your accomplishments. As you look ahead, remember that your generation has the opportunity to be the greatest since the Great Depression. You have seen, heard, and experienced unprecedented levels of progress, struggle, and crisis in your lives. You will change the world by solving problems spanning health, leadership, and the public good, whether for companies that exist today or ones yet to be established…
And, in these troubled times, figuring out how to begin your professional life can be challenging if you haven’t already landed a job, lost your job, or are thinking of transitioning to a new profession. It has likely been ingrained that networking is critical to starting and progressing in your career. The good news is that you have already begun to develop this skill.
Google Definition: Networking is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
With the sensitivities that exist in society today, we all acknowledge that it is not an ideal time to ask others “to give you something”. One wise C-suite career coach shares “it is best to focus on connecting with others versus networking so they don’t feel that anything is expected”. This works well at this stage, for informational interviews to learn about specific roles or industries and potential career paths. When you consider that the heart of networking is fundamentally about connecting, people can have a more relaxed conversation about their own career trajectory so that you can learn from their experiences. Based upon the insights of our C-Suite dataset, this approach is about building valuable, long-term relationships, and it can be done in a short conversation or series of short conversations; think of it this way – it can be less of an arranged marriage and more like Twitter in nature! It requires both art and science to do it well and practice makes perfect.
As people are working virtually now more than ever, the playing field has been leveled a bit, Zoom meetings are replacing the pre or post business meeting “on the golf course” as well as late-night dinners that may have precluded some women with child care challenges to attend or feel included. According to Susan Ross, Coach and Founder of Intention Personal Development Group, “a new, fresher, approach can be to find time for 15 minute “coffee chats” over zoom, allowing for personal connections that are available to everyone. Another connecting twist for your career is to take a short “walking phone call” which allows you to leave your workspace and re-energize outside in nature. Space can define your energy – so, pay attention to what type of space encourages you to relax, be present and bring more of yourself forward.” And, Susan adds, as Brendon Burchard wisely said, “the person who is the most present, is the most influential.”
Here are some great resources to guide your career conversations:
- “It’s about giving, not receiving.”: Networking in the Age of COVID-19 from Korn Ferry
- “Get comfortable networking on-line.”: What Does the Coronavirus Pandemic Mean for Your Job Search? from the Muse
- “Building valuable relationships.”: The Art and Science of Networking from Entrepreneur.com
Please subscribe here for Hello Career Guru so you can learn more about managing your career through our newsletters and events and coaching with Susan Ross on how to ignite your sense of purpose and personal leadership style and voice.
Launching this year, Hello Career Guru is the first-ever artificial intelligence (AI) powered virtual career trainer to help women advance professionally. Hello Career Guru offers women one unifying platform for developing their personalized career game plan with recommended actions and resources. This game plan leverages proprietary female C-suite executive insights to reflect real-world experience from those who have achieved at the highest levels. Our team developed the platform with the guidance of HR and talent experts to ensure relevance and impact in managing your career.
Hello Career Guru’s mission is to democratize career advancement for all women no matter what age, background, income, geography or race.