Align your goals, strengths and heart’s desire with your business, career, investments or profession

Adopt, adapt, compare or contrast my perspectives and career-networking style (below) with your goals, strengths and heart’s desire. Use my tips as a sounding board to recognize and validate your preferred perspectives and career-networking style.

Whenever I was career-networking, here’s what worked for me 99 percent of the time with “cold calls” — when folks didn’t know me or have any reason to want to know me:

1. I would invite to treat them to breakfast, lunch or a cup of coffee at their convenience (& gently suggest three or four days, dates & times — in case any of those would work for them) — whatever their schedule would allow … for at least 10 minutes of their time in order to hear their wisdom & experiences about their career advice. I didn’t ask for or about a job. I didn’t breathe a word about looking for a job — because people worry enough about keeping their own jobs for me to bring up the topic & distract them — or make them feel guilty if they couldn’t hire me or didn’t know how to help me.

I wanted their time in order to hear their own career-related stories. Asking for their wisdom and experience made them feel confident and pleased that they had been recommended because they are successful, smart & helpful.

2. At the agreed upon appointment time for the 10-minute conversation, I would be sure to take (for both the company’s receptionist and for the person with whom I was meeting) a meaningful “thank-you memento” for their time or help (e.g., immediately after I’d been working for the dean of The UT Austin College of Communication, I took a one-pager on college letterhead that gave full contact information of faculty and student-organization adult sponsors — where the person’s business/agency could get high-quality, energetic, unpaid interns) — as a way to acknowledge that I appreciate them, have something to offer as their peer (v. coming in as a poor, pitiful job-seeker) & that I am willing and able to help them grow their business.

I strongly recommend your figuring out something you can leave behind with your contact information — that simultaneously is a potential service or help with their business success (e.g., a timely economic article or an article about how to avoid career burn-out). You are most welcome to copy & share my blog address (filled with an abundance of resources) as your thank-you memento.

3. Because I lose track of time, in front of the person I would literally have to take off my watch, look at the time and time the 10 minutes — or however long they’d agreed to talk with me — and mention that I want to be courteous of their time.

4. I would briefly introduce myself, mention my career goal and ask them how they ended up where they’re working … why they like it … how they made career and job-change decisions throughout their life … let them do most of the talking. If you are an active listener, they are more likely to conclude that you are brilliant (v. if you try to impress them) & you may get some great tips from them (tips you know you will use or tips you know you will never use — either way, it’s helpful). I believe that whenever you/we hear well-meaning advice, we are hearing the person’s best idea about what might work for them — & their best idea for themselves may or may not be best for you. I see no reason to chime in with your philosophy or your opinion: let them talk! Be a courteous listener. When it gets close to the 10-minute time limit, ask whether they have one or two folks they might suggest you contact. Ask for their contacts’ e-address or phone # & whether you might mention that they’d referred you, and voila! You have just created your Perpetual Motion Networking Machine!!! If everyone gives you one or two contacts, you are set for life — to continue networking, to decide — based on networking — what is the best place for you … and then you have simltaneously amassed a great set of contacts to include in whatever you eventually do — or at least let them know where you “land” & offer to be of help to them through your work & contacts)

5. IF they asked for my resume, I’ll have one handy. Because it is unlikely that anyone will look at more than the top-third of the first page, my “lead” is how I may be of service to others (v. what I want/my own goals).

Best wishes!

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