September 29, 2010

Yes, I am mocking Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.  I wonder how many readers will have this movie line in their minds for the rest of the day.  I know I will. 

Let’s face it when we are looking for employment, we want a job now – right now as a matter of fact.  The thought of the lengthy process of networking, writing resumes, writing cover letters, interviewing, and everything else involved is daunting. 

The most important thing to realize about the job search and career management is that it is a process not a task.  It’s a marathon; not a sprint.  Starting a new job is a major life change.  Major life changes and the decisions leading up to the change do and should take time. 

Be prepared for a job search that could last months.  Prepare for those times that your energy and patience will be low.  Create a “cheerleading” squad if you will to pull you out of that valley and keep you focused through this marathon.  You want to avoid being exhausted in your job search and seeming desperate.  Create a support system to keep you fresh and energetic. 

Don’t let yourself be a Veruca Salt in your job search.  You know what happened to Veruca right? 


How many times did your mother tell you to put your shoes on (and tie them) before you went to school?  We still do the same thing everyday before leaving our homes.  It is what we do as part of getting ready each day.    

When it comes to networking, too many of us we will do that during our free time during each week.  I don’t know about you, but that time never comes for me.  So, what are we doing wrong?  We aren’t putting on our shoes to get the work done.  We are lounging on that comfy sofa in our minds and truly putting off the most important part of successful career management. 

My challenge to you today is to put on your shoes and get networking.  Whether we are in the job search or the workforce, networking is imperative to our career success.  But, you have to be ready to be effective. 

  1. Right now, and I mean right now, grab a sheet of paper and jot down five of your current colleagues or potential leads you have meant to contact and frankly haven’t. 
  2. Write down next to each person what you need to do to make this connection.  Do you already have their contact information handy and just need to pick up the phone or open a new email?  Do you need to research this person’s background and mutual connections to be ready to talk about employment opportunities? 
  3. Open your calendar and make five calendar blocks next week.  During each of those time blocks, schedule yourself a time to do what you wrote down in step #2.  Do you need to draft an email text, make phone calls, prepare and research?  Do not reschedule these appointments.  Treat them as meetings you cannot change. 
  4. Every day next week put your shoes on complete each meeting time’s assigned task.  I challenge you to treat this project as something you would present to your boss.  The purpose is to reap benefits and results. 
  5. At the end of next week, write down the results of your efforts and start making plans for the next week on what to do next.  You may have received a call back or response to an email from the other party or maybe you didn’t.  Whatever the result, plan for what you need to do the next week.  If unsure, ask for advice.

The idea is to get in the habit of managing your time and making good on your promise to be a better networker. 

Networking is not something you can do in your spare time.  Networking is not something you do only when you need something right now.  Networking is a lifestyle.    

Just as when we were kids, we have to put our shoes on and be ready to network.