Every week, NETSHARE hosts Ask the Coach, a phone-in coaching session with leading career management experts. Here is an excerpt from this week’s session with Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers based in New York City.
During this week’s coach call, the conversation honed in on two keys to a successful job search. As Barbara noted, it’s all about affinity and relevance.
You have to have an affinity for the work, the situation, the people, all the factors surrounding your target company and their problem. Your skills and background also have to be relevant to the task at hand.
She also noted that social networking is a double-edged sword that helps you address the issues of affinity and relevance. Companies are using social networking to determine “fit” within a corporate culture, or affinity. Networking provides the interaction that lets all sides get a feeling for how the other party operates, how they think, how they handle pressure, etc. Your online participation in groups, blogs, and online discussions also helps the “other side” understand your expertise and how you might be able to help them. Your answers and actions show that your skills and abilities are relevant to the problem at hand. And demonstrating your expertise and value through social networking eliminates the question of being “too old” before it’s even broached.
Another part of the discussion focused on being ready to make a move when necessary. Every executive should have a two- to three-year business plan for himself or herself. Take the time to look at the companies you might consider working for. Do your homework and gain an in-depth understanding the company, its industry, where they fit, where they are going, and what challenges they face. You do the research by networking. Contact people who know the company best, such as current and former employees, customers, and suppliers, and ask questions. Then become a subject matter expert and make sure you are seen by the hiring managers or those who have access to the hiring managers. Join the same LinkedIn groups and stay active. If you are blogging, make sure to share your industry knowledge with influencers and ask for comments. When the target company is ready to make a move, or you are ready to make your move, you will have already built affinity and demonstrated relevance.
Barbara also notes that once the economy starts to rebound, there will be mass exoduses from companies with employees who are overworked, undervalued, and underappreciated. When that exodus starts you need to be prepared to step in and take advantage of these openings.