Guest Author: Colleen Denston
Have you ever had the “AH HA” moment when you finally get it?
Well, I am here to tell you that your “AH HA” moment may be just around the corner. For a few years I had been looking for my dream job. Something that took me to the next career level and challenged my skills. I repeatedly reviewed open positions on all popular job posting sites, social media platforms, and I even reached out to a few recruiting firms. Even with being a very active and social person I never really saw my personal or professional peers as a means of networking to get to that next level.
I will never forget the day when I received a call from a friend (we will call her Sally) telling me that she wanted to introduce me to (let’s call her) Liz. She and Liz had connected for dinner out of town in Boston. They happened to be traveling in the same area and thought it would be nice to have dinner together rather than eating alone as they often do while on the road for work. After the normal chit chat, Sally was intrigued to find out what Liz did that had her in Boston for the evening. Liz shared some of the attributes of her position at Kronos such as traveling and working remote as well as her enjoyment of the company culture and atmosphere. Knowing what Sally knew about me she inquired, on my behalf, about openings at Kronos. Liz shared that they are always looking for talented employees and welcomed a connection with me.
So after the dinner, Sally virtually introduced Liz and me through social media. I was very intrigued about what I had heard from Sally and was looking forward to meeting Liz for coffee that Sunday. When I walked into the coffee shop we both had a good laugh since it turns out that we knew each other casually through other social groups but never put 2-and-2 together. Liz told me all about the job and in return I told her about my background and experiences.
This is where the start of my “AH HA” moment begins.
There were no known positions that Liz was aware of at the time but she thought that I would be a great resource for Kronos. My experiences and background were a perfect fit for the position and she was excited to recommend me. So we further discussed Liz’s day-to-day activities and responsibilities including her interactions with Kronos clients. It was just the challenge I was waiting for! I emailed my resume to Liz and scheduled time where I could shadow a couple of her calls so I could get a true understanding of what the responsibilities for Kronos Workforce Consultants entailed. My excitement was rising and I could see myself as a Kronos employee. After researching the company on social media (LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc.), I learned how employee-centric they are and also the pride they have in providing service to their customers.
Within that very same week I received a call from an area manager (my manager today) and I began the interview process. Today I have been with the company for over 2 years and love every minute of it. I found everything that I was looking for in a challenging job with the ability to utilize my skills. Of course, the working from home and travel are additional benefits as well!
My first day at work in June 2014 was the moment when I took a step back and realized the power of networking – my “AH HA” moment. I thought back to all of the if’s:
- What if Sally had not been traveling to that city?
- What if one of their planes were late?
- What if I had not told Sally about my desire for my future career?
This list goes on. The biggest if was, what if Sally and Liz never setup that dinner date. This is the power of social media and networking. Because Sally and Liz found on social media where they were going to be in the same city at the same time they scheduled a dinner. Had this dinner never taken place I would not be sitting in this chair at my home office typing this blog.
Networking, I realized, is not just about going to meetings and collecting business cards. It is also not just about liking posts on LinkedIn or Facebook. What networking is really about is reaching out to your network and being a resource. Send an article to a friend or peer who may gain valuable insight in some way from the details within or offer your assistance when someone is looking for new employment.
Today I am actively involved in my local professional organization. On many occasions I have folks that I have not seen or heard from in years show up and look for assistance with looking for a job. As previously stated, many times it has been years since I have spoken with these individuals; therefore, my knowledge of their skills and experience may not be readily recollected. Had they maintained a relationship over the years I would have been more of an asset to their job search.
What we all need to remember is that networking is not a one-sided endeavor. It goes both ways. One misconception is that people just reach out to others too early which can damage the relationship. As stated by author Keith Ferrazzi, professional relationship development expert and author of Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, “I can’t emphasize this enough—if you want to form a relationship with another person, you first need to show them how they’ll benefit.” When you offer to help someone, even if they don’t take you up on it, it’s clear to them how networking with you can help them. Small things like this can go a long way to helping you, too.
So now is the time to grow and nurture your networks. It may just lead you to your “AH HA” moment!
Connect with Colleen on LinkedIn.
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