Wednesday morning found me at another CRN meeting at the University of Phoenix in Tigard. Why would I drive clear across town during rush hour? Along with more than 20 other professionals, I was there to experience what CRN has represented for more than three years:
Almost 80% jobs are found through networking, so it made sense to drag myself out of bed on a grey early summer morning. Like those who shared the morning with me, I’m looking for my next opportunity. I may not know where or what it is just yet, but CRN is a pretty good place to start.
Doug Goodrum began the meeting by telling a story to illustrate how different a career search can be these days- “it’s madness out there.” He’d received a call from a company regarding someone who had listed Doug as a reference. The conversation began with questions that were…different, to say the least:
1. Is there any reason to believe this person is a threat to anyone in the workplace?
2. Is there any reason to believe this person is dishonest?
Wow, so much for assuming the best in people, eh? Things are different, which is why it’s more important than ever to develop and maintain a strong network. Even when find a new opportunity, you never know when you might be looking again. That’s why CRN can be such a great resource. Not only can you commiserate with others in similar circumstances, you can help others and be helped in return.
In times like these, it helps to be open to unconventional methods. Doug shared four out-of-the-box strategies that could help you get noticed:
1. Cold calling. No one likes it, but sometimes showing up unannounced at a company’s office is a great way to demonstrate initiative and commitment.
2. Directly email decision makers. If you can’t meet someone in person, an email can show your interest and enthusiasm.
3. Participate in a sport popular in the industry your targeting. Sometimes the best way to make contacts is by playing hard with people who work hard.
4. [There really are four strategies…and if you’d been at Wednesday’s CRN meeting, you would have heard all four.]
Wednesday’s speaker was Marsha Warner, SPHR, whose topic was “Creating an Intentional Career Brand.” We often think of brands as something marketers ponder when they’re trying to promote a product, but the truth is that each of us are a brand. A brand is your reputation, what people think of when they think about you…and there’s no better time than now to begin thinking about your brand. Is it what you want it to be? Is it consistent? Are you representing your brand with clarity and intention? Is it genuine? In short, what do you want to be known for…and do you present yourself and your brand in a way consistent with that desire?
The bottom line is that we’re our own cheerleader and best career booster. If you don’t radiate pride in your brand, if you don’t present yourself as awesome, capable, and unique, who will? A career search is often humbling and frustrating, and it can be tough to stand up and represent your brand with enthusiasm. Sometimes it helps to remember that your brand is your reputation. Represent that brand well and it will pay off…maybe not today or even tomorrow, but it will pay off.
When you find yourself in need of support, remember that CRN meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Support, networking, and career development is what it’s all about.
Join us on June 25th, when Adrian Wild will speak on “Career Growth and Transition.” You’ll learn something new, and you might just meet someone who knows someone who can help you. Even better, you might have a contact that could help someone looking for his or her next opportunity.
I’ll see you at the next CRN meeting!