I believe that virtually everyone in our society is underutilized. One of these days, I will explain what I mean in more detail. Until then, I want to touch on one not so small reason why I believe all of us are underdeveloped, underpaid, underopportunitied, and underaccomplished (Merriam-Webster, please forgive me) — and how you can overcome some of these limitations.
You have a gold mine that can help you advance your career, find better opportunities, and increase your income. Your gold mine may be smaller or larger than mine, but in either case, it is an amazing resource. In this article, my intent is to help you better recognize and tap into it. What is “it”, you ask? “It” is the wealth of positive relationships you have developed over your lifetime.
As mentioned in strategy #2 of Four Strategies for Your Job Search Networking,
When you are fully prepared to start your (job search) campaign, begin with your best networking contacts. You can grow your network utilizing your existing relationships and “branch out” from there. Bob Burg, a nationally known speaker and networking guru, suggests you can define your best contacts as those who “know you, like you, and trust you.
Recognizing you need to leverage your best relationships in your job search is one thing. Actually doing it is something else! Here are a few suggestions that can help you locate your gold mine and uncover the valuable nuggets it contains:
- Make a list of your best relationship contacts. Consider adding relatives, friends, co-workers, and bosses who you feel know you, like you, and trust you. Most clients who go through this process come up with at least 20, some over 50.
- Segregate the list into three groups — (a) your strongest relationships that will help you know matter what you do, (b) your weaker relationships that may only give you one useful conversation, and (c) those in between. Your “b” group would include some of the highest, most important contacts you have.
- Establish an overall strategy as to how you will engage your contacts. For all that are local and it is practical to do, consider meeting one-on-one for coffee, breakfast, or lunch. Coffee tends to be the least expensive option. Start with your (a) contacts as you can practice on them and come back to them later if you forget things or need to meet a second time. Save your (b) contacts for when you have had enough practice and feel completely comfortable conducting your networking meetings.
- Define an agenda and objective for your meetings. A shorthand four-part agenda I recommend includes warming your contact up and showing sincere interest in them, seeking to identify ways to help your contact, shifting over to a discussion regarding how you would like your contact to help you, and closing the meeting with a recap of the action items that have been set for both of you. As noted in Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!), ”Your primary objective in networking for a new job is to gain warm referrals into companies of interest” and this should be addressed specifically in the third stage of such meetings.
- Follow up and follow through. Act in a timely manner to insure that items are completed in a timely manner for their sake as well as yours.
You have invested years of effort creating your gold mine of relationships. When you find yourself conducting a job search, those relationships can help you find the shortest path between where you are and where you want to be. That has the potential to bring you more personal development, income, opportunity, and accomplishments. I wish these things for you!