Revamp your Rolodex with tips from this pro, Andy Whelan! Illustration by Rob Goodman.
Think about the people who have made the biggest impact on your life — the friends, family, and teachers who have invested in you as a person. They push you to be better, can be a sounding board for bold new ideas, and have your back when you’re facing life’s harshest challenges.
The road to professional success can be tumultuous, and as you navigate the highs and lows, it’s equally important to have these kinds of people in your work life, too. Rewarding professional relationships are critical to your career and need to be nurtured as authentically as ties to friends and family. If you find yourself floating around solo on your jobs journey, there’s a good chance you may be doing it wrong.
When it comes to building a reliable professional community, we could all benefit by taking a lesson from career guru, speaker, and teacher Andy Whelan, a career coach at General Assembly’s San Francisco campus.
Don’t be afraid to take risks, like introducing yourself to someone — in person — on a whim.
I still remember the early days of networking, before LinkedIn existed to help organize your professional life. When you’re fresh out of college, networking typically means going to happy hours, checking in with former classmates, and keeping in touch with mentors from your summer internships. But it’s the people who decide to go above and beyond college or corporate happy hours — with creative approaches to introductions — who can really stand out.
After you’ve been in the workforce for 15-plus years like I have, your networking strategy needs to evolve to place you in front of the right senior executives at innovative, cutting-edge companies. Remember that you are your own best publicist and it’s OK to be forward, ambitious, and scrappy to open the right doors. Don’t be afraid to take risks like introducing yourself to someone — in person — on a whim. Don’t hide behind LinkedIn connections online. Instead, create real, long-lasting relationships that will connect you with the biggest opportunities of your life.
Searching for a new job doesn’t always mean leaving your current employer — in fact, some of the most exciting career opportunities may lie within your company.
Unlike an external job search — where you might reach out to contacts on LinkedIn or apply to roles on Indeed.com — an internal job search will rely on the strength of your relationships with the colleagues you encounter at work every single day.
Here are a few strategic ideas to build a network within your organization that will propel you into an elevated role or a new department.
Whatever your notion of sales and sales people, the reality is it’s impossible to survive in business without making sales. But all sales tactics don’t have to be pushy, or take advantage of the gullibility or ignorance of others. In fact, the best ones do neither.
Sales, at its core, is all about connecting to those who need what you offer, and building mutually beneficial relationships. You can do this without being sleazy or unethical; you just have to find sales techniques that are comfortable for you. Here are some you can start putting into practice today.