Facing Your Fear of Networking
TGIF! It’s that time of year when we face our fears, those things that go bump in the night.
The top fear I hear from job seekers and career changers? Networking. We dread it more than the Upside Down. So this month, I’d like to recommend a great book with real life examples of how people network to achieve their goals.
Build Your Dream Network
by J. Kelly Hoey
Quick takeaway: Always network with a goal. This doesn’t mean you’re only out for yourself. You need to build relationships and seek to help people, but don’t do it randomly.
Hoey describes a career change she made from working as an attorney to moving into management. She first identified exactly what she wanted, and then she examined her network and found she didn’t know the right people, so for 18 months she built a network of people who could connect her with her future job. She went on informational interviews, stayed in touch, attended conferences, joined committees, everything to move into a new role. She succeeded, but it was hard work.
“Daily, I slice and dice my network, reaching out to different contacts depending on the answer I’m seeking of the problem I’m facing.”
She has some great tips here for networking, and some surprising realizations. For instance, many of the people who she admired for their networking skills were introverts.
No Time for a Book?
Here’s a shorter read. Some great advice in the “Dear Sugars” column of the New York Times to a woman who fears she’ll be stuck in her waitressing job forever. I think we all can relate to that fear of never reaching our goals, of always spinning our wheels.
Quick Takeaway: When you want to pursue a dream, list the steps to achieving your goal, then take each step one at a time. Don’t look for a quick, magical transformation.
I love this quote:
“Taking one step at a time is vital, because our popular culture is lousy with fairy tales of overnight transformation: paupers who ascend to the penthouse in the space of one Hollywood montage. This is our designated mythos, as Americans: that all you need to claim your destiny is a little pluck and luck. But more than anything, what you need is patience and humility and self-forgiveness. If you don’t have these attributes, you’re going to get discouraged. And then you’re going to get stuck. Because real change is rarely quick, and even more rarely glamorous.”
Happy Halloween everyone! I’m getting this note out to you a little early, so I can tune in to Stranger Things tomorrow. Got my Eggo waffles ready!