Connecting as a Career Development Strategy

I went to a great meeting with the Carolina Business Connection last night for small business owners. There were about fifty individuals there from many different fields and industries.

Many people have the wrong idea about networking. It is NOT a desperate scream for a job. It should NOT be done only when you are out of work.

Networking, like the term connecting, should be seen as a part of career development. The best time to do it is when you are happily employed. You never know what opportunity may present itself. You may also be the one who helps someone find a new opportunity. Connecting a friend to another friend for their mutual benefit is what networking is about, and it makes you feel great. Plus, at the meeting, I was able to reconnect with friends who I have not seen in months.

I want you to check out this link. Ginger understands what networking is all about.

How to network you way into a job

Make this a major strategy to further your career. I love Frank Sinatra, but his song, I Did It My Way, is just bad advice.

 

Success #1: Reaching out to others / Making a difference

One recurring theme I would like to address is the topic of success. What is success to you? This is such an individual topic that can change as we go through the different phases of our lives. The stereotypical signs of success in the stages of life often follow the trail of: independence, reputation, circle of peers/friends, power/prestige, money, comfort, family stability, love.

Success is not wrong. But it can become a problem when we let someone else define what our success should be. We see this is families where a parent wants “what’s best for my child” but can’t see what is actually important to the child. No matter how caring and well-meaning the person may be, only you can define your success.

We often call this a calling, an interior urging for something that seems, or Is, outside of us leading us to…the thing that, to us, is right.

Success is not a destination. Rarely do we get THERE. My picture of a man attaining success is from the movie, Chisum (my favorite movie of all time), where John Wayne, the Duke (which was originally an airedale) rides his horse to the top of the hill and looks over his land. His land. (By the way, why did he always ride the bigger horse?)

Success is a journey. Often a journey that consumes, or is, our life. Rarely is it a straight freeway. Usually it is bumpy, But it is always calling us to come over the hill, or around the next bend.

I want to take you to a story of a family finding success but in a new way. This is my younger brother to whom I have brought much grief, and from whom I have gotten many laughs.

Upstate Family Answers Call

 

 

 

Welcome to Greenville

If you have recently moved to the area and you are either seeking employment or looking to further your career, the last advice you want to hear is to get out and begin to foster relationships with people you do not know, aka network. Yet that is exactly what you need to be spending the vast majority of your time and effort on. There is so much research out there claiming that the best strategy to find and build your career or business is to build connections with other people.

I got the pleasure of speaking with two gentlemen this week who have recently moved into the area. When I got into my ways-to-job-search spiel, their response was how can we meet people when we are new and don’t know anyone. The odd coincidence is that the majority of people here is not native and was at one time new to the area. This is not Charleston where you are a newcomer if you do not have generations of ancestors from the Holy City.  Greenville’s citizens are very mobile and, with the movement of new companies into the area, newcomers are continually finding Woodruff Road for the first time.

I help facilitate a class of job seekers for Greenville County Workforce Development. In one class of eight adults, we encountered this very hurdle. We began to go around the room and found that only two of the people were originally from this area. This has become a regular activity and subsequent classes have usually shown the same results.

So Tim, what are some ways you would suggest that I use to meet other like-minded professionals?

There are a couple of ways that I would suggest that should work in any area you find yourself.  First, I would look at social media. Facebook is a great avenue to connect with people and also to find where people of your interests are planning to meet. Downtown Greenville and City of Greenville are just two of many pages that can connect you to fellow enthusiasts.

LinkedIn can be used to find companies in the area. LI also has groups that are for this area: New Carolina, Greenville Area Development Corporation (great information on new companies and companies that are adding improvements in the area), Greenville Working, Today in Greenville, and …well, you get the idea. Groups enable you to see where they are meeting, what they are discussing and get involved in the discussions, and identify people you can contact to meet one-on-one.

Twitter is also a great way to follow companies and people and learn where they are planning an event. As you can see, these do not have to be exclusively business. Why do you think so many deals are done on the golf course?

Another suggestion is to see if there are any associations that meet in your area. The Kidder Group, Inc. has a great list on their website (http://www.thekiddergroup.com/images/t.jpg) of about seventy different groups and when and where they meet. Associations are one way to show your involvement within your profession and allow you to meet with and have a connection with people in your industry.

Another website that I am becoming more involved in is meetup.com. No, I am not having marital issues. This is a great website to publicize times and locations for gatherings with other people with your interests. Some of these are based on social as well as fitness interests.

The Newcomers Club of Greater Greenville’s main purpose is to welcome people who have recently moved into the area and to help smooth your transistion.

Most of the suggestions I have given you are free. But it still requires us to face two of our biggest fears: meeting new people and putting ourselves in unfamiliar situations. Both of these are tough for me. But you will find that unfamiliar situations begin to feel more familiar. And some of your best friends were once new.