It’s a new year, which is a great time to reassess your career and determine how you want to grow it. The number one reason we see female leaders let new career opportunities pass by is that they’re too focused on being great at their job to take the time to apply for the next step. So to avoid that number one pitfall: be ready ahead of time!

So how do you do that?

DEFINE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES

What’s Most Important To You? What do you want more of? If you can’t be sure what you’re chasing, when opportunities do fall in your lap, you’ll be unsure if they’re a good fit and will more likely take the “I’m too busy just now” option.

Here is a list of questions to help you start 2016 with some considered Career Planning:

  1. What would make me proud in 2016? (Better balance, doing a great job, smashing KPIs, recognition, more $, dream job…?)
  2. What worked well in 2015?
  3. How can I do more of that in 2016 – what would that look like?
  4. What can I say no to, to allow room for more of the fun stuff?
  5. In a list of what I want to do this year, where can I get double-ups? (eg exercising with a friend might tick your social and fitness goals)
  6. I’m usually last. How can I bump me up?
  7. What’s my moving-up strategy?

You CAN HAVE IT ALL – just not all at once… so get clear on what’s most important

HAVE YOUR RESUME READY

There was an email doing the rounds a couple of years ago with a list of what every girl should have. It went something like this:

Every girl should have

  • A friend she can call on ANY time
  • A party dress she feels beautiful in
  • Someone who will be honest with her
  • A work outfit that makes her feel invincible
  • A resumé ready to land the next big opportunity

Hopefully your holidays will have been full of friendship and shopping. But is your resumé ready? Is it a one-size-fits-all that’s unconvincing for THE right role? Or is it tailored to what your audience wants to see? You can check out a couple of our Before & After Resume Examples HERE, including our notes explaining what we changed and why.

Your audience is the most important factor in making your resume a standout. This doesn’t need to compromise your authenticity or the truth. Just be sure that the elements of your experience that are most attractive to the reader are the parts that stand out the most.

When your resume is an appropriate fit for you AND for your market, apply the same formula to LinkedIn. While you’re in there you’ll inevitably connect with a couple of people, congratulate a couple of people, read and share a few articles… ta-dah!

Not only is your LinkedIn profile now on-message but you’ve just boosted the likelihood of your profile getting noticed! That’s powerful reward for effort!

BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR GREAT SKILLS

Where are you headed and what skills do you need to gather, to get you there?

As you’re building your career the skills you need to gather, to be an effective leader are clear. As you progress the most consistent skill I find female executives are working on is influence.

In part this is striving to accumulate advocates and supporters more than mere mentors – people of influence who speak highly of you when you’re not in the room. (So of course, being GREAT at your job is critical). The key challenge here is learning to identify who the influencers are.

Take a minute now to think about who they are in your business. They’re not necessarily the most senior people… Who are they?

BE HEARD – WORK ON YOUR EXECUTIVE PRESENCE

It’s possible to be great at your job and still be wallpaper. That’s the opposite of a strong exec presence. This was the hottest topic of the last 6 months. Women particularly want to know how to get more recognition for the capabilities they already have.

The winning combination here is to have a clear understanding of what you value, a clear understanding of what the organisation values and great communication skills. The result is being heard.

Add in being really strong in your area of expertise and you’ll attract the attention of the influencers of the business.

KEEP YOU ON YOUR RADAR

Check your career progress periodically. What kind of goal – setting works best for you? Are you a reach for joy or a run from fear type? How will you remember to check in?

Are you a big diary user or do you ignore your Outlook reminders? If you do set a meeting with someone who will ‘keep you honest’ every 3-6 months and have a conversation about which of your career efforts are moving you forward.

The boss is rarely the best person for this discussion since they’re most invested in you staying put. Unless of course they’re particularly encouraging of strategic career growth for their team members AND interested in where you want to go, not just where they think you should go!

You no doubt take pride in doing a great job at work, or you wouldn’t be reading a career article! MY wish for you this year is that you’ll also dedicate time to career planning so that YOU benefit as much as your boss does.

 

Cath Nolan is MD at Gender Gap Gone and Director at CNConsulting.com.au With a background in individual and organisational development and branding, Cath and her teams run programs that help people live the careers of their choosing. If you would like an email with the Questions To Kick Off The Year, click HERE and tell us where to send it.

 


How happy are you in your job?

No job is perfect every day. Some days you dread the commute – even if you’re a 5-minute walk from work. So how do you determine whether it’s just a run of bad days or something more? Whether to pull the pin or to stay and make it work? And when is the ideal time to walk away and start something new?

I’ll get to that shortly but in order to get a good read, you need a clear head. When you’re contemplating a career change it’s rarely a good idea to quit when you’re mad.

Is emotion or energy clouding my Job Happiness? 

Something just happened. Stress is high. Perhaps you’re underappreciated or embarrassed or overworked or just really angry. How will you be sure you have a clear head and be objective?

Note – skip this step at your peril!

Try these:

  • Do something physical to take your focus away from your mind.
  • Breathe deeply and count as you do. Breathe in slowly to the count of 5, then out slowly to the count of 5 and repeat.
  • Walk around the block or up and down the fire stairs. Just move with determination.
  • Practice a simple meditation for a few minutes.
  • If you practice yoga, practice here. A couple of small stretches can effectively unlock the tension.
  • Phone a friend or mentor who you know can be objective and help you take the heat from the situation, so you can think with clarity.
  • Park it. Allocate a time when you WILL come back to it and focus on the job at hand.

When is the IDEAL time to walk away?

This is really personal and there are many factors to consider. Here are some objective points though.

The GOOD reasons to leave:

  • Your values no longer align with those of the organisation (not just your boss).
  • The environment is unsafe for your physical or mental health. There is a time to working to change the system but compromise to safety should really be considered carefully.
  • You have an external opportunity that’s guaranteed to roll your expertise to a new level. The gains might be in responsibility, breadth, exposure, association, reward or lifestyle alignment.
  • Your skills have genuinely outgrown the level of challenge that exists within this organisation. This can be tricky to assess without objective feedback. Also tough to assess when you’re emotional.

The WRONG reasons to leave:

  • You’re angry.
  • Your boss is an idiot. This needs more airtime that one little bullet point. I’ll come back to this one in a sec…
  • They don’t support their people. Businesses usually offer MUCH more than their people are aware of. A number of our team have seen many Exit Surveys where
  • Nobody seems to care about your career progression. This probably won’t change in a new business: your career is your responsibility. Its up to you to move it forward.
  • On the surface, this new opportunity looks pretty great. Delve further. Do your research & gauge the market.

 

When considering a new opportunity you’re wise to listen to your gut instinct – provided that you do lots of risk-mitigating fact checking too. Speak to some employees in the new team. Understand the pressures on the role, expectations of deliverables and get any promises IN WRITING. Especially if you’re turning down another opportunity to pursue this one. Implied future progression is not a promise.

 

Develop A Moving On Strategy

If you’ve decided to stay and make it work better for you, how much time will you give it? Will you still potentially be hanging in there in 2 years, with stress and resentment levels rising?

Set your strategy & give it a definitive end-date. This ‘Is It Time To Move On?’ CHECKLIST will give you a Job Happiness Score. Evaluate your score and determine whether that’s ok for you. Then set a date. What would you LIKE your happiness score to be? What strategies will you put in place to close the gaps?

Whether you love or loathe your job, there are clear things you can do to improve how well work fits you. We run an Executive Presence Boot Camp, online. Key elements of the program are Identifying your Career Joy, Confidence and Mindfulness. These are key contributors to workplace happiness too, right?

What factors could contribute to YOU being happier at work? If you were to close your eyes while I wave a magic wand to make your job your ideal… when you open your eyes, what would it look like?

What can you do to make that happen? Is it possible that some of it already is in place if you look at it differently?

Meanwhile, my Boss is Revolting…

What do you want to do about it?

I’m not the 1st to say ‘People join companies but leave managers’. Many people DO leave dodgy bosses, but are they ultimately better off? And is there an alternative that would give YOU a better outcome?

That painful individual could be gone tomorrow. There may be other options for improving your job happiness. Can you reduce your exposure to this person short –term, rather than throwing away a great opportunity because of someone else’s shortcomings.

Let’s assume that you’re clear-headed and that you’ve completed the checklist. You’ve assessed your happiness score and decided that overall you have lots to stay for. How can you make great progress despite a dodgy boss? No single strategy is a guarantee.

You could be crushed under a poor manager OR 

you could come out the other side stronger and with a great story to tell.

The individuals we see emerge with a great yarn have all implemented a few of these tactics:

  • Be visible with the influencers of the business. It’s something you should be aiming for anyway, but when your boss is unsupportive or underperforming it’s critical that others with influence know what you’re made of.
  • Put your hand up to be involved in other projects. This is about raising your profile, increasing your skill set and building your network.
  • Be great at what you do.
  • Be clear about your non-negotiables. You saw the checklist, right? The first step in our Boot Camp is getting clear on what you value. Really value. If you have 100 wishy-washy demands you’ll get pushback on all of them. If there are 2 or 3 key things you hold as sacrosanct, then others will be much less likely to have you push those particular boundaries.
  • Get great at negotiation. You’ll find some tips in this article on Salary Negotiation.
  • Practice “Yes if..” instead of No. Nicola Mills, CEO of Pacific Retail Management is the creator of this gem. When you’re asked to do something you don’t like, pause a moment to consider what clause would make that ok. You want me to meet this close to unachievable deadline in the next 5 days with no additional resources? It’s going to require my team to work till midnight or beyond multiple times. Pause to consider. Yes if you pay for lunch for my team to say thank you. And we’re each given a half – day of paid leave to be taken in the next month at my discretion.

 

So what’s YOUR Job Happiness Score? And what will you do about it? Remember about that grass – it’s not always greener on the other side. So what strategies will you use to either make changes or to feel better about what is?

Cath Nolan

Cath is MD of Gender Gap Gone, a technological disruptor focused on Women’s Leadership. Cath was the driving force behind assembling the GGG team of coaches, consultants and experts and also created the online Career Empowerment Program. Cath’s mantra is ‘tiny changes applied consistently have enormous impact’ and her passion is empowering women to live the careers of their choosing. 


I have a problem with the stance that the employment landscape is ageist. I think the key to overcoming age discrimination is to stop making experienced workers believe that they are at a disadvantage.

I don’t disagree that there are some individuals, perhaps even some organisations who are reluctant to hire anyone other than ‘bright shiny young things’. However, I believe that implying it’s the norm is a sensationalist misnomer. In my experience, more organisations are inclined to avoid the too-young than the too-old. Global youth unemployment rates are supportive. The UK’s unemployment to youth unemployment rates are currently 5.7% to 15.6%, in the USA it’s 5.5% to 12.3% while Australia’s unemployment stands at 6.2% compared to a youth unemployment rate more than double that at 14.21% – the highest since 1998.

The other reason I’m opposed to the mass accusations of age discrimination, is that I believe it disempowers people. We cannot control our age.

I have found very few organisations who have wanted to restrict their talent pool by ignoring the most experienced end of the market – but I have found that most organisations are determined to hire those whose skills will propel them forward, as opposed to those who are ’out of date’. Let me be clear: your skills can appear to be out-dated regardless of your age. This is not an age issue: it’s a communication issue. Working Australia in 2015 is highly sensitive to economic and social trends. It’s the age of the effective self-marketer.

I have found very few organisations who’ve wanted to restrict their talent pool by ignoring the most experienced end of the market – but I have found that most organisations are determined to hire those whose skills will propel them forward

The Human Rights Commission this week announced that 25% of older Australians believe that they have experienced age discrimination and that it is most prevalent in job hunting. At 50 + you are considered an older worker. I have worked in the careers space since 1999. I have personally assisted hundreds of older Australians through career transition and witnessed thousands more through the same. Some do choose to retire altogether or to scale back their paid employment, increasing time spent on volunteer work and personal pursuits. To focus on those who have chosen to continue in paid professional employment, specific advice has ensured that they’ve successfully secured the types of roles they wanted.

Pick up Dolly Magazine and the working wardrobe essentials pictured will only be appropriate for Millennials working in media. The point is that not all advice is one size fits all. The resume format of 10 years ago is vastly different to the stand out resumes of today. Let’s face it, SEEK has made it incredibly easy for people to apply for jobs, regardless of their commitment levels. The spin off is that with competition high, your presentation needs to be savvy enough to cut through.

When speaking with Uni Graduates I need to be explicit: it’s generally not appropriate to address a job application to ‘M8’ and sign off with ‘Cheers’ (yes, some grads really do apply this way). When speaking with older professionals the focus of my advice is quite different. Here are the highlights.

Tips for older professionals to overcome age discrimination

1. Use language your audience understands

Here you need to strike a balance between the market norm and your true voice. I advocate that you never compromise on authenticity, but that you need to speak conversationally rather than formally. Formal language, outside the government and legal sectors, is antiquated. Using overly formal language in the job application process is a sure fire way to appear a fuddy duddy. I’ve given this same advice to grads where appropriate. The only difference is that while their frustration was common, they didn’t believe it to be age discrimination.

 I advocate that you never compromise on authenticity, but that you need to speak conversationally rather than formally.

The more different you are from your audience, the more attention you need to pay to your language. Consultants I work with collectively note that decision makers are getting younger. This inevitability, combined with the rapid pace of technology ensures that the language of job search is continually evolving. All Australians need to recalibrate in order to be competitive.

2. Don’t shoot for the moon if you really want to hit the barn

You have heard the cacophony “They said I was overqualified: it’s code for too old”. Perhaps sometimes it might mean they think you are. That has been my experience once in over 15 years. The rest of the time it means is they believed that you would be bored quickly.

In interview you talked about managing projects that seemed far more interesting than they can offer. You spoke of managing incredibly complex projects and your eyes lit up when listing ‘loving new challenges’ as part of your core strengths. When asked why you want this role, you said you want to step back. You sounded tired and desperate to take anything.

Try these alternatives:

In describing your past successes, talk about projects of a similar scale to their offering. In telling them why you want the role: “while I can see a number of areas where I can add immediate value, I’m really excited by being able to be more hands on in X OR about applying this expertise in an area that’s been a personal passion for some years OR to be more exposed to ABC”.

3. Keep 2 distinct resumes

There is a résumé you show the market, highlighting the skills they’re looking to see. This is your targeted, snappy résumé. Then there is another résumé that’s your Trophy Cabinet. That one is just for you and it contains ALL the things you’re good at. The Trophy Cabinet is the one you write for confidence… and as a database of detail you may need to draw on for specific roles down the track. Along with career assessments and a career coach, your Trophy Cabinet is a great confidence booster. A well crafted, targeted and snappy résumé is in my experience second to none in impacting how you feel and therefore perform in the job search process.

4. Training is an ineffective crutch

Understand what you’re doing it for. Most I’ve worked with who are looking at training during a transition are purely seeking a confidence boost. They fear that their skills are out-dated and sign up for a course in a particular technical competency to give them an edge. If you have researched your end market and know that this new skill is a guaranteed ticket to specific employment, then sign up today. If it’s for confidence though, a mentor or coach are likely to be more cost effective and more broadly beneficial.

If [training is] for confidence… a mentor or coach are likely to be more cost effective and more broadly beneficial.

5. You can’t sell what you don’t understand

Hardly any of us are much good at selling ourselves. The key is understanding the common ground between what’s great about you and what’s important to your ideal employer. Career assessments and an experienced coach are the top pick here, but a mentor and guided self reflection might be a good start.

6. If you haven’t called you haven’t applied

This is a paradigm shift for many. It is also the most prevalent quoted indicator of age discrimination from job seekers I meet. One job seeker sent out 150 applications and had less than 15 replies. That’s not good, but it’s not about age, it’s just bad manners. It’s not only the experienced end of the workforce that is met with this poor job application process. Hiring managers are often doing their own role, plus half the role of the person leaving, plus the admin involved in finding a new hire. They are time poor. Often they will focus on the applications that are easiest: if those come to nothing, they’ll look harder at the less obvious applicants.

Those who call are far more likely to be interviewed.

Don’t leave multiple messages and don’t anticipate a returned call, but do try diligently and creatively to speak with the person managing the process. Those who call are far more likely to be interviewed. This of course is not the case for most government roles that still adhere to policies which consider all applications.

7. Practice with someone honest

Those with greatest experience are often the least practiced at interviews. With an impressive résumé you may wow interviewers with your impressive accomplishments, but you may be missing the mark they’re aiming for. They’ll like you a lot, but they won’t hire you. Alternatively you may be using examples that are just not relevant to the jobs you’re applying for. Is there disparity between what you’re saying and what they’re hearing? It’s good to correct that before an interview that really matters.

The job seekers that I have coached and have seen coached by colleagues implement these processes. They secure ideal roles in normal time frames. The process takes no longer for older workers. Most job seekers approach the job search process with some degree of trepidation. You can choose to take on information that adds to your fear, or the information that helps you move forward.

You can choose to take on information that adds to your fear, or the information that helps you move forward.

Number Eight

I believe that the best thing we can do to help older employees to avoid ageism is not for the employees themselves: it’s for well-meaning older-worker-advocates. Stop berating businesses with a notion of pity-hiring. There is no need for pity: as a collective older professionals are the most experienced, most diversely life experienced section of the workforce.

The adage ‘perception is reality’ is an excellent warning here: what reality are we creating by spreading the perception that wide-scale prejudice exists toward employees over 50? Indeed, most decision makers in business today ARE employees over 50. The best thing we can do to help older employees to secure meaningful work in their chosen fields is to spell out the real job search processes of the current market and to stop telling them that people don’t want to hire them.

Stop berating businesses with a notion of pity-hiring. There is no need for pity: as a collective older professionals are the most experienced, most diversely life experienced section of the workforce.

What’s more, I believe that the age discrimination tale affects women more than it affects men. Lack of confidence is more action inhibiting to women than to men: women are more likely to apply for roles once they’re sure they fit the brief entirely. Men are more inclined to ‘back themselves’ and apply on the off chance. So adding to the confidence burden of over 50’s in career transition is more likely to adversely effect women than men. What does that look like? I see 4 women to every man choosing to leave the corporate world for retirement / volunteer work / retraining in aged care. Do we really need to add to the Gender Pay Gap?

Is there a responsibility for employers to encourage participation by all demographics? Largely not. Diversity is smart but not legally required. There is a legal obligation not to discriminate against, but not to proactively hire. Businesses do have an obligation to other employees, to shareholders and financiers to be fiscally responsible. That means that the strongest applicant on the day is the one who best convinces the hiring manager of their ability to bring capability and passion to the table.

Dear job seekers, please don’t buy into the rhetoric. Apply good job search strategies and you will be among the most competitive in the market. Your skills are sound. They’re demonstrated. You have made good and bad decisions, you’ve dealt with tricky customers and/or suppliers, you’ve coached others who took your advice and flourished. You have ridden waves of change in various forms and adapted to people and technology as required. With good job search strategies you will also be highly marketable. Low confidence is your internal enemy in the job search process.

Businesses are not going to start employing older Australians because of a report. If anything, if this report is handled poorly it may start employers focusing on the pitfalls of hiring older workers. Businesses are going to hire the best person to fill their needs. With clarity around your strengths, your direction and what your ideal employer needs you can market yourself well and be the top choice.

Catherine Nolan

Catherine is an Executive Coach and Director of CN Consulting. Catherine works with business, with individuals and through keynote speaking engagements and workshops to help improve business capability. She has over 15 years’ experience in helping people at all levels and regions globally to supercharge their development and advance their careers.


We invest in property, in markets and in relationships with loved ones; we generally invest (or at least aspire to) in our health. But how many of us invest in our career development? For most Australians, our jobs are our prime source of income. Could you be getting a better return?

Let’s say we work for 55 years of our lives, less 2 weeks each year, that’s 12,925 days. Of course there will be some sick days, some extended holidays and perhaps a maternity / carers / study leave block. Consider your average hours spent at work, hours in transit and the hours spent awake at night or contemplating work over the weekend. We spend the majority of our waking hours either doing or thinking about our jobs. How many hours is that for you?

Lots of our time is consumed by work and our income is dependent upon it: let’s talk about some investments to help you maximise it.

Communicate Great

Whatever your industry, and no matter your job discipline, you will need to speak with others to be effective. Those who can communicate effectively are better decision makers, managers, service providers, carers, influencers and are better at excelling in their careers.

Ideally you want to be a good listener and a great storyteller – with the ability to be concise when it’s called for! Jonathan Champ, one of the region’s leading communication experts is a stellar conduit to sound, practical tips – such this one on Manterruptions.

Powerful presentations of any length start and finish with great communication. Many organisations offer internal training programs on effective communication or public speaking courses. If yours does: take it up. Make the time.

The Magic of Mentors

Mentors are widely attributed as playing a central role in great successes (Oprah Winfrey and Sir Richard Branson spring to mind). That’s great for business owners and well-connected types, but how can a mentor help your career develop? A mentor is someone you can go to for objective, honest advice in a particular area. You don’t need to aspire to all of a person’s characteristics to mutually benefit from a mentor relationship.

Consider a great boss you have worked with in the past, or a cross-functional leader you’re inspired by. More broadly it’s worth the time to actively look for people who have great strengths either in areas that are gaps for you, or that share your areas of strength but have been better able to leverage them.

Get A Coach

What will a good coach do for you? First they’ll get you to identify your ideal and emerging skill sets, your happiness trends and your priorities.

When you’ve identified your bliss, it’s much easier to chase.

A Specialist Career Coach is excellent for helping with milestone skills, like setting your direction, resumes and interview preparation. Executive Coaches tend to specialise in capability-specific career development. In Performance, Development, Leadership or Communication Coaching, the focus is on helping you to close the gaps between where you are and where you would like to be, either through helping you bridge weaknesses or leverage your strengths. They will get you to tap into your past experience and collective learning, applying them to the situation at hand.

A coach is an objective supporter who can rapidly speed up specific skills development and keep your goals on track. The first coach I saw dramatically impacted my life for the better. In a working world of conflicting priorities and deadlines, I’ve seen first hand that a great coach can quickly and lastingly transport individuals from lost and frustrated, to focused, balanced and hungry.

Communication is a powerful career enhancer whatever role you’re in. Mentors and Coaches will help you find you path, identify your gaps and leverage points and keep you on track in chasing your career dreams. How different will your career be without that?

Many organisations offer these resources internally or have options to fund external programs. If they don’t, let me return you to my opening point. Your time is heavily consumed by your career and your income is reliant upon it. Invest a little time and money along the way and make your career work FOR you.

Featured Photo Credit:  InternationalHouseManchester via photopin cc

Catherine Nolan is Director and Principle Coach of CN Consulting. Working with organisations, with individuals and through key note speaking engagements across Australia, Catherine enables businesses to get the best from employees and people to live their best possible career. Catherine’s great passion is ‘a competitive edge’ for women through her new venture, Gender Gap Gone.


Did you ever go out on the town with a better-looking mate and feel the benefit of their inferred glow? Maybe you were the better-looking mate and felt others riding in your wake?

The same thing applies to your network. Your network is not simply for job-hunting. It adds an extra-mile kind of dimension to how you perform on the job. Bouncing an idea off a credible colleague is more reliable and cost effective than outsourcing the advice. Indeed your network should make up a core part of your development plans.

Who Are Your Network Must-Haves?

Your advisory board of 8 (or so)

Mentors and potential mentors should be your top network priority. Formality isn’t essential, they can simply be connections you can pose a professional question every to now and then. They may indeed equally benefit from your skill set in some way. For broad based development you should be able to name a handful of people you consider to be mentors in different areas. These are the must-have skill areas that most frequently come up as gaps for people in my Exec Coaching work:

1. A stellar communicator. Not just a person who can (as my Irish father-in-law says of my 3 year old) ‘buy and sell the lot of us’, but someone who is able to understand and be understood. A person you can put a particular problem to and hear what their approach might be.

2. A brilliant people manager. Someone who inspired individual performance from the least motivated of team members–perhaps a past boss you reported to or worked with.

3. Someone who lives diversity. These are the people who effortlessly but proactively engage a diverse stakeholder group that embodies participation and inclusion in a non-patronising way. I’d want them in my network!

4. Someone with financial skills. Whether numbers are your strong point or not, it’s likely that there’s at least an area within the financials that you could do with greater insight- it’s worth having someone whose finance skill you trust in your network. Someone who can tell you what questions you need to ask, in order not to fall prey to a skills gap.

5. Someone who can provide strategic orientation. Whatever role you’re in, or heading for, it’s useful-to-critical that you have a strategic orientation. If you haven’t got one, you need a buddy who can provide you with insight on occasion. Worked with anyone who you would say has that? Have a chat with them. Connect. Ask them for some pointers.

6. Someone innovative. To succeed these days, you need new ways to be faster, more productive, more web centric, finding fresh solutions, capturing new markets, retaining loyalty in changing market. Connecting with colleagues past or present who are creative thinkers or great problem solvers is a game-changer. Networking is all about establishing enough of a relationship that if you or they have a quick question to ask, then they / you can offer an idea.

7. Someone who does what you do and does it well. When you’re entrenched in doing,you can do with someone who will give you the advice you would give yourself if you had the time and distance to be objective. Okay, so you might need more than one of these to avoid burning them out!

8. Past and current colleagues. Most of us have a network made up either of friends, or of our LinkedIn-prompted past and current colleagues. They’re fantastic for keeping up to date with what’s happening elsewhere in your industry, so you can hear about trends and innovations. Don’t have time to search through industry papers and articles? Perhaps a colleague had 5 minutes today to read and share something brilliant. Your network is less costly than consultants and less time consuming than industry events.

In addition to being a far more trusted, relevant, up to date source of answers than Wikipedia, your network can of course be a great source of referrals when job opportunities open up. Up to 80% of new hires are sourced through word of mouth after all. Speaking of which, if you come across a good head hunter or recruiter, connect and be good to them – they are your ticket to the roles that don’t go through word of mouth!

Featured Photo Credit: Pixabay

Catherine Nolan

Catherine is an Executive Coach and Director of CN Consulting. Catherine works with business, with individuals and through keynote speaking engagements and workshops to help improve business capability. She has over 15 years’ experience in helping people at all levels and regions globally to supercharge their development and advance their careers.