I haven’t seen the new Star Wars movie just yet, but I’m told by my son-in-law it’s “a must see”. ‘May the Force be with you’ is a phrase used to wish an individual or group good luck or good will.
I’d like to thank my ‘Force’ for all the Likes, Views and heartfelt Comments on my first of my blog series, Bite size snacks to feed the soul. I was humbled by the responses from my personal and professional networks. Special thanks to the WCT (Women in Communication and Technology) to which I am a member of, who have agreed to post my Blog series under their Women in Transition section.
NETWORKS… A paramount community for anyone dealing with life’s challenges. Whether professional, friends or family, our networks are our lifeline.
My personal support network got me through the period of my husband’s health scare. I would not have been able to function, support him or our son without them. They gave me a sense of calmness, helped me with the momentary time of single motherhood (okay shout out to all the single moms out there; you are the essence of strength defining motherhood!). They gave our family hope, support and their prayers. We are blessed to have extraordinary friends and family. I would be remiss not to call out some of my soul sisters that got me through this – My Rock, My Son’s Other Mother, My Sister from Another Mother and My Work Wife. xo
TIP: Set up a Private Group Facebook page for significant life moments. I learned this later through our health scare journey. The outpouring of inquiries and good wishes fell upon texting. It turned into a full-time job for me and was difficult to keep up. I then realized setting up a Private page was way more productive. Myself ‘and’ my husband was able to broadcast his progress to everyone at the same time allowing everyone in return to share their responses.
Now, as I am in the job search phase, my professional network has become, well, a criticality. Some experts say that 70 percent of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it’s more like 80 percent or even 85 percent. Moving from Toronto to the Ottawa area meant building a brand new local network. I’ve had to dig deep into my sales DNA to build up the ‘Kimberley funnel’ to help me navigate within my new region to get my resume in front of potential hiring managers.
To be honest, I hate networking. Okay, let me rephrase that, I’m not fond of attending large networking events. For me personally, it feels unnatural like I’m at a Speed Dating session. And admittedly I feel a little vulnerable bracing for the dreaded question ‘and what do you do’ as I sit there with my name tag that has no company name on it. I also think it’s the snob in me that dislikes it so much!! Ask my friends, I am not one to just talk to anyone. (I’m overcoming this snobby side but we will leave that for another blog 😉).
What I do enjoy is the more intimate networking approach in having 1:1 conversations. My former boss said I was good at ‘connecting the dots’. Linked In has been a powerful tool to do just that, connect the dots. It takes more time, a bit of navigating to find the right new connections, a small investment with the Premium license and a little bit of boldness to ask for the meeting.
I’ve had so many recently, I think I may have to switch my caffeine intake to sparkling water!! But I am really enjoying these coffee chats. They are more meaningful, focused and less stressful. They also get me out of the house and out of my sweats😉. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some interesting, talented and connected people that although I’m a stranger to them, have genuinely wanted to help, have been encouraging and as an added plus have great insight on educating me on where to shop, eat, visit in the new area. I have a concise approach to these conversations with what I want to walk away with.
TIP: Sharing a bit of my background and my aspirations for the next gig, what I’m doing in the meantime (all to be shared in this Blog series of course) and then I ask my new Connection to share their list of companies that they have influential relationships with. In doing so, you can accelerate your network pretty fast; not to mention push your CV ahead of others.
Regardless of your style of networking, I encourage it as a thoughtful way of finding employment. Not to mention, it gives you a sense of purpose as it feels somewhat like a part-time job; I promise a fun one too. Who doesn’t enjoy expanding their Force with cool new people!
Well, thanks for reading. Off to attend an interview; wish me luck and to all, wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Look out for my next Blog during the Holidays!