Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, Retirees, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Networking During Your Job Search

We all need each other. – Leo Buscaglia

This is a fact. There is no way we can live this life alone and as much as we would like not to ever seek anyone’s help, there is something humbling about it, and in fact, if done right, it can uplift us as we connect with the human side of us and others.

I personally was never a fan of “networking” in the sense that it involves attending receptions, cocktails, etc… and I also did not like the idea of organised networking either as it forces people to think about what they can give to others and what others can give back, i.e. focuses on the exchange as opposed to real connection which is often what gets people together to begin with.

As always, I looked within and around me and I realized something fundamental about networking during a job search, and that is that it was absolutely necessary.

Thinking, ironic, right?

Elaborating on this, I see networking as a result of years of experience in meeting and connecting with people be it in University, in companies we work for, in companies with work with and our social network including family and friends. We each have at least 100 people who we have connected with, or let us say, on average, we meet at least 5 people some of whom are our family members. That is the network I am referring to.

Then comes the key question then, what does this network have to do with networking and the job search?

They are a key source of jobs and client opportunities … with the caveat of two questions that you have to ask yourself:

  1. Do you consider them professionally successful? Are they working in an industry that is similar to or conducive to or with connections to the one you would like to work in?
  2. Are they humble? Are they non-judgmental and open? Are they givers?

If the answer to these two questions is yes, then they are a potential source of opportunities that you should not ignore as long as you are ready to answer two questions,

  1. What have you been doing?
  2. What do you want to do and why now?

Go ahead … reach out … I know it is uncomfortable, but be genuine, be yourself and remember, we are where we are because of each other.

It doesn’t matter if you are unemployed … a recent grad … retired and want to return to employment or grow your business …

Today you need others, tomorrow, others will need you.

Be committed to that.

 

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

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Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Retirees, University, Women @ home

Link between Social Media and Success

The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel – Steven Furtick

reelI have always liked Earl Nightingale’s definition of success, “the pursuit of a worthy goal”. Worthy, being beneficial to self, to others, without intentional harm.

In interacting and dealing with people throughout my career I have seen three stances on success (there might be more of course); there are those who share the above definition of success, with a clear goal and planning towards it; and others who continue to look for meaning and experiences that help them clarify what success means. A third growing stance is related to those who see success as a hierarchy of where one is compared to others.

Stuck in endless competition, comparing selves to others, seeing success as a hierarchy is one that may get us to our goals but will not allow us to enjoy its benefits as we are busy looking at how we can “beat others”.

Key platforms (related to career) where comparison is inevitable, even if subconsciously, are LinkedIn and Twitter.

Just browsing these two platforms can make one very quickly feel that they are on the wrong path, will never catch up, missed the boat or about to miss the boat, or that all they have done in their career is insignificant and basically, unless they fiercely fight and advertise their winnings, there is no way one could even smell success and it all looks gloomy from there.

So while keeping tabs on what is going on in those platforms and within our network, we need to approach it within the context of our goals and limit our emotional involvement, just like the news. The key question should always be,

How will LinkedIn and Twitter help me reach my worthy goal?

and devise your own social media strategy, specific to you and your goals.

 

 

Image courtesy of Graphics Mouse at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted in High School, University

Hey Youth! Be the next “Penny”!

You don’t have to be foolish to be young – Anonymous

foolsOnly one thought came to mind watching Canadian Penny Oleksiak capture her medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics, “16 years old!”

People joke that the youth all think they want to be the next “Mark Zuckerberg” of Facebook. The truth is that while the youth might think that, even though it is literally a one in 7 billion chance, their behavior does not walk the talk.

Most of the youth I have come across laugh over petty things, are pessimistic, disrespectful to knowledge, impatient, image driven, taken care of and managed by their parents, etc… just look around! I am not eluding that there aren’t serious, assertive, respectful, patient, realistic, independent youth out there, it is just that those who want to be the next “Mark Zuckerberg” are the former whereas those who ARE going to be the next “Mark Zuckerberg” are the latter.

I always say that age has nothing to do with success. Just as the youth are key, the middle-aged are also key and even more profoundly, those over 60 … they are vital.

However, let us come to terms with one thing, there is no success without self discipline and respect for self and others … in any age.

Penny is 16 years old … it is not that she won medals, it is what it took to get there. She probably trains 6 hours a day and trains during holidays. She probably goes to school and takes schoolwork seriously for at the end of the day, she needs knowledge for her longer term success. She is aware of the commitment it takes to accomplish anything in life.

So youth? What’s stopping you? Why can’t you be the next “Penny” in Maths? The next “Penny” in literature? The next “Penny” in Engineering? The next “Penny” in Social Work? The next “Penny” in anything you choose!

 

 

Image courtesy of Craftyjoe at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, University

Learning from Careers: Jeff Skoll

I’ve come to realize your career is all about the choices you make. Every single one matters. – Demi Lovato

jeff

I have mentioned before that one of the fastest ways to know the next steps to take and decisions to make in our careers is to identify 10 people we think are doing interesting things, one of them for me is Jeff Skoll.

An Engineer by background, entrepreneurial in growth, passionate about social change, here are some of my learnings from his career*:

  • Careers need not be complicated, they can be simply made up of a few ‘yes’ decisions
  • Sometimes it is about who you happen to meet, so take every meeting seriously
  • Take a chance, if you can, the best careers are not always with large stable organisations
  • Our degrees give us the knowledge we need to think, what we do in our careers does not always match what we “study”
  • Being interdisciplinary is good
  • In your career, the bigger your service to others is, the bigger impact you have on people, and the more rewarding (both financial and reputational) your career will be
  • Give back to those who have helped you along the way

 

* based on my Wikipedia / Google search

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Retirees, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Do what you love?

If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. – Dale Carnegie

VIPEver since I can remember, career coaches and advisors tell us to do what we love … choose a job that you love, choose a volunteering opportunity that you love, choose an industry you love, etc….

I always supported that view but at the same struggled with it.

You see, love is both restrictive and generalist at the same time. It is restrictive in that it advocates one or two things that I “love” and go find a job / opportunity / place that supports that. It is also generalist in that it advocates “love” that is so relative, you see I love eating … and I love art … so will I go and rush to become a food critic / restauranteur or gallery owner in a rush?

I came across the quote above and thought that maybe we ought to start asking people about appreciation … what makes you feel important?

While some may see this as self-involved, isn’t that the whole point?

When we tell people to do what they love … we are asking them to follow a desire irrespective of impact. But when ask them to do what makes them feel important … we are ultimately asking them to take their passion and apply it to an area, place, action, words, etc… where they feel appreciated, i.e. making an impact.

This appreciation translated to motivation to keep on learning and improving.

Whether you are in high school, university, early career days, stay at home parent or experienced professional assessing goals, what makes you feel important?

The clarity that emerges will no doubt surprise you.

 

 

Image courtesy of Supertrooper / freedigitalphotos.net

 

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, Entrepreneurship, High School, Retirees, Social Media, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Why Traditional Networking is Dead

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. – Charles Darwin

NetworkTraditional networking is dead. Be it in the form of networking events or even social networking (networking over social media).

You see, it is not that *networking* is dead … it is networking that doesn’t add value.

We are busy and unless something adds value, we are seldom committed to attend or participate. An exception to this rule is one who is generally extroverted and enjoys connecting and meeting people or one who has intended to meet someone specific at an event.

From alumni organizations, professional associations to job seeker and business oriented sessions, from connecting with fellow colleagues to someone who is in a field or job you are interested to connect with, it is time to move from traditional networking to value based networking.

There must an intent or aim to networking, there must be appropriate people who can add value towards the specific aim, and it must be transparent.

One idea is to utilize “speed meeting” formats where people meet based on a specific theme and run brief meetings with each other as facilitated by the host specifying specific matters to discuss.

Another idea for social networking is to move from the need for a general introduction or connection, to a specific introduction that states a purpose and expectations from both parties or use group setup and membership to connect like people with like aims and objectives.

In all cases, networking is a need and in these economic times, critical. What is more critical however is to make it count and not just say “here goes another hour or here goes another connection”.

 

 

Image courtesy of sheelamohan / freedigitalphotos.net

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Leadership, Retirees, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Series – What do I want to do?: Turn Strengths into Actions

Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. – Bradley Whitford

runNow comes the easy part … action.

Now that you have reviewed your week and looked at what you do, what gives you energy and what doesn’t, simply and quickly, find ways to stop doing the things that drain you and do not belong in the life necessities and requirements area.

Following that, manage and organize the life necessities and requirements tasks either by outsourcing if possible or setting a schedule for them and a daily contingency and expectation that something might surprisingly come up.

Then focus on the things that give you energy. What kind of roles would these things fit under? Consultant? Designer? Speaker? Coach? Manager? Don’t assess them for now, just list the possibilities.

For example, you love talking about careers with people, the possible roles are: writer, coach, career counsellor, author, HR Performance Manager.

Another example is loving to shop, the possible roles are: personal shopper, writer/blogger, copywriter in social media, marketer for products and services.

Feel free to talk to people who have more experience than you do or those you look up to and trust that they have your best interests at heart.

You then look at which ones are easy to implement both in terms of time and affordability (if you have to setup your own thing), and have both the necessary knowledge and experience (not necessarily formal) to do it.

Then get started and plan the steps necessary from training, to licensing, to networking, to marketing keeping in mind the most important two ingredients; courage and sharing your plans with people who love and support you.

 

 

Image courtesy of Madrolli / freedigitalphotos.net

Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, High School, Unemployment, University, Women @ home

Series – What do I want to do?: Review your Week

We are what we repeatedly do. – Aristotle

repeatWhat do you do everyday? How do you spend your time? From the moment you wake up until the moment you sleep, what are you doing and how do you feel doing it?

Earl Nightingale said it best,

We are where we are because that’s exactly where we really want or feel we deserve to be and whether we’ll admit that or not (Earl Nightingale)

The truth is that it is our decisions that lead us to where we are. We choose x, we get y. We choose z, we get w. And so on.

It doesn’t mean that where we are is bad but it just means that we are where we are because our decisions led us there and if we want to change that, we must make some more decisions and if we are happy where we are, we need to embrace it and be the best we can be. So you see, it influences the plans we end up making.

The point to reviewing what you do everyday is that it carries with it indicators of what you enjoy doing, i.e. your strengths and talents.

So write down what it is that you do, from having breakfast, to carrying out your job responsibilities, to preparing the kids lunch, to talking o the phone, to the coffee you have with a colleague or friend, to the reading you do or movies you watch, pretty much everything. Every time you write or reflect on what you are doing, note whether or not you feel energetic and motivated or slow and demotivated. (You will find out in my next post how to make sense of these notes, so write everything down)

You will be end up able to categorize what you do in three, things that give you energy, things that don’t and life necessities and reuiqrements.

What you want to do is plan to do more of what gives you energy and less of what drains you.

So take stock of how you spend your hours and minutes for a week and you will see what you do today in order to know what to do tomorrow.

A quick note on life necessities and requirements. While some may want to reduce those, I say on the contrary, you must understand that taking care of your physical self is key to your best self. And maintaining relationships with others is critical to both your short term and long term health as being there for others in good and bad, means they will be there for you as well. The only tip is to choose family and those you genuinely connect with, i.e. where you are your genuine self, and practice kindness with all others.

 

Image courtesy of atibodyphoto / freedigitalphotos.net