Most employees leave because they feel they are not respected, not valued and not listened to by employers. If that sounds like your situation, and you want to make a career move in 2013, you’re going to need to work on some value and listening skills of your own.
In a nutshell, that means honing your networking skills. According to Ford Myers, a career coach and the author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring, whether the economy is booming or bleak, networking is the best way to land a job.
By networking, Myers doesn’t mean schmoozing or buttering up a hiring manager. Instead, it’s all about “purposefully and gracefully” asking people for help, for contact referrals and for input and advice.
"Networking makes most people feel good about themselves. It boosts their self-esteem to connect people with opportunities — especially when those opportunities are hard to come by — and makes them feel important," Myers says.
He offers up some pointers for professionals to better leverage their networking skills to get a better job and a more rewarding career:
- Get a “top tier” contact list. Myers says to develop a good contact list of knowledgeable career professionals and to schedule face-to-face meetings with the people on that list. Focus on building a list stocked with people who believe in you — who know your value — and are in good position to help you.
- Branch out and build that list. Take the “list” idea a step further and ask for at least three to five names from each professional on your contact list.
- Meet up. Choose a neutral place to meet the contact you develop. Myers advises a cup of coffee or a quick lunch is best. When you go, be confident and purposeful.
- Do your homework. Before you meet a professional contact, prepare a list of questions. While at the meeting, take notes. (First ask your contact if he or she minds.)
- Focus on the future. Make sure you leave your problems at work in the rearview mirror. “Focus on the future,” Myers says, and discuss where you’re going in your career, not where you’ve been.
Additionally, make sure to write and send a thank-you note to your contact right after the meeting, and ask for any other contacts or references that can help your cause.