Networking – Beyond the Business Card
What is your attitude toward networking? Do you see it as being insincere, or, as some people view it, as “begging strangers for a job or something else”? However, don’t forget that 70% of jobs are found and multiple tasks and assignments are accomplished exactly through networking. It is probably the best opportunity you will ever have to make connections and build relationships. Networking with like-minded individuals is also a great way to explore a new career options, learn more about the specific industry and grow professionally. It is one of the most important – if not the most important – activities that job seekers need to master to be truly successful in their job-search. Because the vast majority of job openings are never advertised, job seekers need to have a network of contacts – a career network – that can provide support, information and job leads.
So how do you start building and developing your successful career network? You might say: “I don’t have a network”. Well, your network is everyone you know, everyone you have worked or do work with and see at social meetings. First, you have to RECOGNIZE YOUR NETWORK by compiling them in different categories such as professional network (associates, colleagues, vendors, consultants etc.), and personal network (friends, relatives, neighbors, your lawyer or consultant etc.). The second step is to ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION by keeping their basic information or business cards. The next step is START EXPANDING YOUR CAREER NETWORK. This can be effectively done by joining particular networking group and regularly attending and participating in the activities. You can find out when and where networking groups meet by scanning the business event section of newspapers or website or by requesting the regular newsletters reception from them.
Participating in networking events – some do`s and don’ts.
- Remember to always have business cards with yourself
- Talk to the person sitting next to you and who comes up to you
- Be active and communicative, start up conversations with strangers
- Meet the speakers
- Follow up your newborn contacts and use them wisely
- Don’t just hang around with your friends
- Don’t get discouraged
- Don’t be overly negative or critical
- Don’t interrupt heavy or private conversations
Remember that it’s not just what you know, but who you know. Marketing yourself or your business is a powerful tool in today’s competitive business. So never stop networking, people who do not network are less likely to succeed.
Offer Negotiation Strategies
Negotiating an offer can be a tricky experience. Try these techniques to improve the outcome of your negotiation:
Firstly, make sure you are interested in the position and show your interest: “I am interested in this position. I would like to explore how this offer can be more attractive, so that it makes it easier for me to make the decision”.
Listen Carefully – listening is quite different from hearing. Understand what is being said, but more importantly, why it is being said. Some say that the key to successful negotiation is to listen more and talk less. Be reasonable in presenting your views, don’t ramble and don’t repeat yourself.
Seek Win-Win Resolution. Be reasonable - you are looking for the relationship that must be mutually beneficial, recognize and acknowledge their constraints and desires, as you expect them to recognize yours. Negotiation is nothing but give and take on bosh sides.
Offer Solutions. It is your responsibility to offer solutions, which can be the basis for negotiations.
Avoid Decisions on the Spot. Avoid a Yes or No answer on the spot, unless you are absolutely confident of your answers.
Explore Areas of Flexibility. “I understand that you can not offer me more in annual salary, but how about the annual bonus? How about _________?” Understand where the employer can be more flexible, it is the key to formulating a package that would be attractive to you.
Be Prepared to Answer:
- What is an acceptable offer for you?
- What do you think is the fair-market compensation for someone like you in this industry and in this geographic area?
- What other offers do you have? What compensation do they offer?
- If you have such better paying offers, why are you talking to us?
- By when do you expect to make your decision?
Be Prepared to Ask:
- How about considering other dimensions of the package, beyond annual salary and job title? For example annual bonus, vacation etc.
- What other differently structured compensation benefits can you offer me?
Negotiation is neither an art nor a science. No two negotiations are the same; you must keep the basic formulas in mind but should always be flexible according to the specific situation. If you are interested in the position, it is the benefit to both parties to explore the areas of flexibility, being reasonable and empathetic with the other party will lead to satisfactory outcomes. But if differences in your expectations and the actual offer remain large, always be prepared to walk away.
Successful Career Change
Here are some key suggestions for the successful change of your career. Follow these career-change rules to objectively assess your potential and achieve success in you upcoming career change.
-Above all else, be flexible. You are basically starting your career over again, which means you may have to make concessions about job title, salary, relocation, etc.
-Design and develop a plan for your career change. And don’t rush into a career change until you have thought it out and developed a strategy.
-Don't worry if you feel a bit insecure or unsure about making a career change; these feelings are normal.
-Expect to spend much time and effort in making the switch from one career to another, but don’t allow yourself to become discouraged because of the slow pace of your progress.
-Don't rush into a new career field only because you are dissatisfied or disillusioned with your current job, boss, company, or career field.
-Spend some time to determine the activities that you like and dislike, and focus more on the liked ones. Focus on new careers that allow you to be in touch with your interests and passions.
-Leverage some of your current skills and experiences for your new career by taking advantage of your transferable skills.
-Don't limit yourself to similar careers or jobs when making a career change; look for careers that allow you to display your skills and correspond to your interests.
-Consider the possibility that you will need to get additional training or education to gain the skills you need to be competitive in your new career field, but don’t jump headfirst into an educational program. Start slowly.
-Take advantage of all your existing and potential networks, including your current network of contacts. Conduct informational interviews with key employers and try joining professional organizations in your new career field.
-Gain more experience in your new career field, ideally while you are still working in your current job. Volunteer or find a part-time job in your new career field -- thus building experience, confidence, and contacts in your new field.
-Don't walk on this path alone, find a mentor. Changing your career is a very challenging experience, and you need to have someone who can motivate you and keep you focused on your goal at times when you become discouraged.
-Brush up your job-hunting skills, especially if you haven’t had practices those skills recently.
-Take advantage of all the career change advice available in various career change books.