Give Me a Moment to Change Your Mindset Towards Networking More………

We all make excuses about why we do not network – from I don’t have time to, it seems inauthentic, it just feels dirty, or I just don’t have anything to say.  I challenge you to re-define your mindset towards networking and learn to incorporate it into your career management strategy.

If you approach networking with a genuine interest in learning about people and their career stories and about new companies, organisations and the market then you will probably really enjoy it. Approach it with a sense of curiosity and openness. That said, do so professionally. Have questions prepared, send well written communications, stick to meeting times and don’t waste people’s time. Go in having done your research and having a purpose or desired outcome you are seeking from the meeting. While the long term goal maybe a job, networking is about building trust to the point that jobs and referrals will eventually come organically once you have built the trust. It takes time, which is what can also put people off networking. Particularly given the society we live in today with the expectation that things will happen NOW. If you don’t invest the time, then don’t expect a good return. It is as simple as that. If you do however, you will have a prosperous and personally rewarding and fulfilling career.

Chances are you already have a network. How useful this network is dependent on what you are interested in career wise. If you are looking to transition, your existing network may need to be expanded to include more people who are interested and knowledgeable in areas you want to move into. It also depends on how well you have tended to your existing networks. Be honest with yourself:

  • How engaged and active are you in your current network?
  • Have you expanded your network over the last 2+ years, or relied on only a few contacts to get advice, information or job opportunities?
  • Do you feel comfortable and confident reaching out to your network for help?
  • Is your network providing you with the connections and opportunities you want?
  • Is this network the one that you need to reach your career goals?
  • Do you support others who reach out to you for networking meetings?

If your answers to most of these questions are ‘no’ or ‘unsure’ it is likely your current network is not being well nurtured and not aligned with your career goals. It is time to review and refresh your network and your networking skills! Think about networking as simply building trusted relationships and helping people out if and when they need. One day you may also be able to return the favour.

To be successful in your career today, you need to have a strategic approach to managing your career, which includes your networks. As a professional or executive these are incredibly important to how your career plays out. Working hard and being good at your job is unfortunately just not enough.  If you are not allocating time purposefully to be increasing your knowledge and building relationships with your networks, you are missing out on crucial information and the enjoyment and career benefits that come from having a group of trusted people who share common interests in certain professions and industries. 

We spend a third of our lives at work. It makes sense that having solid relationships with our work colleagues matters and those relationships and ‘trusted networks’ of people outside our workplaces. They too play a valuable role in our enjoyment and engagement and success at work and over our careers.

While the pandemic has made face to face networking a little more challenging, though not overly so. You can use it as an excuse to avoid networking or you can get on with it.  Or you can leverage the power of networking virtually which is also a great option.  Again, the same principles apply to offline and online networking.  A great article for online networking is ’COVID Has Actually Made Networking Easier, But Only If You Do It Right (washingtonpost.com)

What Networking Can Offer You If Done With the Right Mindset & Preparation

  • Advice and guidance from a trusted source/s
  • Explore the feasibility of changing careers or transitioning to an executive role
  • Identify or create new job and career opportunities that are not advertised
  • Learn about the employment trends and timing on market demand for your skills
  • Talent management – build your team and find the right hires for your organisation
  • Expand your network, connecting with decision-makers
  • Learn about the problems you can solve in tailoring the marketing of yourself
  • Develop and nurture long term professional networks to help ongoing career management

Next steps

  • Have your personal pitch ready for networking. If you are not sure what this is or how to get started visit Free Career Tools for Professionals (diversitas.com.au)
  • Be clear about the purpose of your networking and the outcomes you are seeking
  • Network consistently and professionally, go in prepared.
  • Set yourself networking goals or a schedule i.e. schedule a networking meeting once a week for the next 6 weeks
  • Reflect and do a debrief with yourself and/or someone you trust after each networking meeting and consider areas you can improve and adapt accordingly
  • Formally thank those who support you along the way

Networking if done with a positive mindset and some preparation is a rewarding personal and career experience. You will find many people will be willing to support you and in turn you will find that there will be the chance to support others over the coming months and years.

Book your Complimentary Virtual Career Coaching Call

If you are feeling unsure about your work right now, feel free to reach out to us and book your 30minute complimentary coaching call. It may be to discuss your boss and their approach, your fears about job security, networking, career change, and what’s next? etc. We are here to listen and help where we can or refer you to someone who can.  It is confidential. Calendly – Diversitas Coaching (the clarity institute)

Are Cover Letters really needed in the digital age?

computer and emailsEven though online job applications are now the norm, cover letters are still widely used in the recruitment process. It could be argued that cover letters are more important in the digital age as many candidates are job searching across countries and industries where they are not established. New careers are being created so hirers will be looking for candidates who can clearly demonstrate their aptitude for the role and also why they want the role with some sincerity.

You cannot guarantee that every cover letter will be read thoroughly but many recruiters like to see a cover letter in an application as it shows that the candidate has really thought about why they are a suitable candidate for the role and they have considered why they want to work for your organisation. The secret is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the hirer. What will make them interested to read your cover letter? The answer is usually some evidence that the candidate understands the role and can explain why they want the role with some authenticity.

A good example of this is from one of my clients who submitted a rushed and blandly written cover letter for an organisation she was very keen to join. She was not shortlisted for that role. After a few months there was another role and I encouraged her to reapply, but this time, write a cover letter that is authentic and accurate. My client wrote a really completing argument on why she wanted the role and why she was a great fit too. Not only she got the interview, she got the job and is still working for the organisation five years later!

The simple rule to follow is that if the hirer asks for a cover letter in your application, then write one! If you do not include a cover letter, you may not be shortlisted for the role.

Even though the cover letter is for the hirer’s purpose, writing a cover letter has many benefits for the candidate, for any level of seniority.

Here are five reasons why we recommend that you write a cover letter for every job application and how the process can be highly beneficial to you:

  1. Check that you are a credible candidate for the role. The primary purpose of a cover letter is for the candidate to describe in their own words how they are a good match for a specific role. i.e. do they have the skills, experience and qualifications needed for this role. Have you checked that you have at least 80% of the requirements listed in the essential criteria? If not, you are probably wasting your time applying for the wrong  roles.
  2. Identifies why you want the role. The process of writing the cover letter will help you to assess why you want the role and why you want to work for that particular organisation. Your enthusiasm for the opportunity can come across in the way you write your cover letter. The hirer will be ‘reading between the lines’ to get an impression of your personality and interest in the role. Focus on writing your cover letter with some enthusiasm and honesty. Tell the reader why you are suitable for the role and why you want it in your own words!
  3. It helps you to be objective at a stressful time. It is widely recognised that job searching can very emotionally challenging. Are you showing your desperation to change jobs or focussing on tangible reasons why you want the role? Many candidates waste time on rushed application and wonder why they get a high number of rejections. One explanation for feeling a fraud or not wanting to talk about yourself is the psychological concept of Imposter Syndrome. It is common in high achievers, perfectionists or simply people with a fear of failure. You might like to take this short quiz to see how Imposter Syndrome may be holding you back from writing about yourself. Having a strategic approach to your job search will include writing a cover letter based on your analysis of your fit for the role, including evidence such as achievement stories. Writing a cover letter can help you to manage the emotions of the job search and assist you to objectively evaluate a role.
  4. Keeping your application consistent to your interview. The process of writing a cover letter will also help you to prepare for interviews and help you to form your answers that are consistent to the rest of your job application. For example, ‘Why are you the best candidate for the role?’ ‘Why do you want the role? Preparing and practicing answering these questions before applying for the role will also ensure that you are applying for a role that excites you, and why you want to do that particular job.
  5. Marketing your Personal Brand and skills. Cover letters provide an example of your writing skills and need to be consistent and authentic to your personal brand as displayed in your resume and online profiles. The ability to analysis the requirements for the role and summarise your suitability in a one page, focussed letter will convince the recruiter that it is worth reading your resume. Writing in your own voice will be more compelling to read too.

In summary, the need for a cover letter is alive and well. The process of writing a cover letter will help you to focus on why you are the best candidate for the role and why you want it.  It will save you time by identifying the roles not to apply for! Instead of thinking if a cover letter as a chore, use it as a tool to differentiate yourself in a sea of lacklustre candidates.

Contact us for more information on our coaching programs to help you write your most effective cover letter. Here’s a link to our webpage on career coaching for professionals and executives.

#coverletters #jobsearch #jobapplications #writingskills #executivecoaching