Top 10 Career Transition Questions: #8 Is Your Network Strong Enough?
Blog post by Barton Career Advisors Founder and Managing Partner Chris Barton
This video blog is part of a series addressing some of the most compelling questions for those that are beginning a career search. During the last 6 years, we have been asked hundreds of questions related to career transition and best practices. Here we are distilling those queries down to the 10 most critical need to know responses. Here is #8 of 10, discussing your power of your network.
Is your network strong enough outside your current company to help you in a career transition?
I have had the opportunity to do many of the things I’ve wanted to do in my career. I had the opportunity to start my own company. I had the opportunity to work at some great organizations working with some great people in the financial services industry. But I did find myself about ten years ago in career transition like many of the folks we work with today at Barton Career Advisors. And at that time, I found myself wondering, was my network big enough to help me chart the next course in my career. And what I discovered, was that my network was inside that organization that I had been apart of for all of those years. And I found myself needing to think about adding additional contacts, relationships and friendships to my network so that I could find my next job in my career path.
Today, I’m going to draw on this experience and a lot of the career coaching we’ve done to share 3 quick tips with you for building your network outside of your current company to make an impact on your career transition.
1. Leverage Existing Relationships
All the folks that you already know — your friends, your family members, the folks at church, the people in your exercise class — wherever it is that you spend time with people that you like to be around, those people have careers and lives too. It may be embarrassing for you to talk about your career transition with them or you may feel a bit pushy to talk about your professional life, but it’s important to share those stories because your existing relationships have lots of relationships. And who knows, they may even have a contact that can help you.
2. Maximize Social Media
So many folks under-leverage social media to drive the growth of their network outside of a current or former place of employment. It is really important to be active on social media. I’m not talking about Farmville or the latest game that is on Facebook. What I’m referring to is the opportunity to connect with people through your existing relationships, to find contacts that can help you get to the next thing. LinkedIn is a great place to be if you’re a professional — if you’re not on LinkedIn you should be there. And Facebook offers plenty of opportunities to network and connect with people, that of course you already know, but also with other people that you don’t know who may be able to help you in the future. If you maintain a great social media presence, you’re able to get into virtual groups and experiences online that can connect you to people that otherwise wouldn’t be able to get in touch with. You can find yourself connected to millions of people that you didn’t know before. It can be a powerful tool to grow your network beyond your industry and your existing circle of professional relationships.
3. Join Professional Organizations & Networking Groups
These are important ways to connect with people face-to-face in ways that you can’t on social media. While social media is great, professional organizations and networking groups have events and runs monthly meetings or engagements that can get you in front of people that you might not already know. These new relationships may be within your industry or might come from other parts of the professional world. If you’re an accountant, you might attend an American Institute of Certified Public Accountants local networking chapter meeting. If you’re in human resources, you might try the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). There’s all kinds of mixers and networking groups in every community that can help you meet people face-to-face. At Chambers of Commerce, you can meet business leaders who are in a decision-making roles. When you get in front of those folks, you have a good opportunity to influence them in ways that you can’t through social media.
I hope that these tips are helpful to you! If you are interested in connecting with a career coach about your career transition to learn more about our coaching services, we welcome you to fill out the form below.
To read more of the top 10 career transition questions, click here.