This is part of a series where Iâ€™ll introduce 10 points of a creed, and comment on them. The series is summarized as we go (see bottom of post) and you can link back to the commentary on any of the 10 in that summary.
Eight is the longest, and just as powerful as the others:
8. I will initiate and proactively pursue activities that will put me on the ‘radar screen’ within my industry and with my targeted companies – such as joining and interacting with targeted professional associations and community service groups, and working to get top-level leaders within my targeted industry to know me and know of me.
Let’s start with the end…. “within my targeted industry” – Ron, the guy who put this list together, loves to ask how many targeted companies you have. You can have more than one targeted industry (I couldn’t name an industry as I’m in I.T. so I was looking at retail, medical, high tech, etc.), but you really should know some target companies that you like. Perhaps you are looking at these companies because they have a great benefits program, or the culture is outstanding, or the company is doing exceptional and you want to be a part of it… or maybe it will be “safe” and comfortable… whatever the reason, can you tell me your targeted companies?
Hint on this: Ron says 1 is too few, 5+ is too many! Targeting companies means that you narrow it down, and once you have them targeted you can take actions to (a) meet the right people, (b) find the right activities to participate in (ie, conferences, networking meetings where they’ll be, (c) study the company, industry, competition, vendors, partners, news, etc.
So number eight is all about how to get exposure in these companies and in this industry. How can you do that? Well, you know that I’ve been a proponent of blogging to substantiate your personal brand, but it takes time to build the credibility as an expert, especially at the C-level. There are other ways to get on the ‘radar screen,’ I hope that you can add to this list:
- Associations – There are national, local, regional, college associations, etc. It doesn’t have to be an association tied or sponsored directly to the industry or company… you could find out if one of your target companies has representatives in other associations and then look into joining and participating in (remember the “proactively” part in number eight?) those.
- Service – As Seth Godin wrote in the blog carnival “the best way to network over the next six weeks is to do NOTHING but help other people. Volunteer at a non profit, pitch in at a startup, create a blog pointing to great companies and great ideas. Help other people 60 hours a week for no other reason other than youâ€™ve got some time and itâ€™s the right thing to do.” Why is this a great idea? Because this is where many hiring managers, decision makers and C-level execs are. What a great way to build your network. And the karma has got to be good!
- Lunches – What have you got to lose – invite someone to lunch. This “someone” should be targeted from the company or industry, and you aren’t there to ask for a job (or make a big deal that that is eventually what you want). You are there to learn about the industry/company, find out who the players are, get advice (everyone loves to give advice, right?), and develop a relationship. You are having lunch with an insider, and you should make the best of it. Hopefully by the end of the lunch you will have some new contacts to pursue, you will have learned some great information from the insider, and you will now be on this person’s radar screen as someone that is competent and capable!
- Consulting – This has always been a great way to substantiate who you are, meet decision-makers, learn intimate details about a company, and make some money during the job search. It takes time, and you never want to skimp on your committment, so don’t get in over your head (perhaps you should be a consultent, eh?), and don’t charge too low (maybe it is appropriate in your special circumstance, but you can’t afford to do lots of consulting and charge too low – its hard work, and it isn’t your primary job (if you are a job seeker)).
- Newsletters – Great way to “stay in touch” with people, even if they aren’t sure of who you are. CM Russell has a great example of a newsletter that he used in his job search in his book “Ultimate Job Hunting Secrets.” Think of this newsletter as a targeted, off-line blog (so keep it heavy on the substance/expertise factor).
- Articles – This is more of a long-term strategy, but I’ve found it rather easy to get articles in various magazines. The key is consistency – don’t hang your laurels on one or two published articles – this is part of a long-term strategy, but this goes a long way to establish credibility and could put you on the radar as a big blip.
- Speaking – Not the easiest thing to do but with good networking you may be able to speak at a conference or convention. This is a great thing to have on your “resume,” and as a speaker you have the opportunity to influence thought change in leaders at the conference. Take advantage of this opportunity to establish and develop relationships with those in attendance. The fact that you were a speaker gives you insta-credibility (just make sure you are well prepared, well rested and your message is on target – or else you can ruin that credibility!).
These are some of my ideas to get on the radar screen. Again, knowing what radar you want to be on is critical (you should know that by now), but some of these ideas are short-term answers and some of them are long-term answers. Remember, one of my messages is that this is all about career management, so do not neglect the long-term solutions!
- I will get a job coach (not my spouse) to hold me accountable for my job search efforts. I will encourange him or her to be honest and indicate that feedback is the greatest gift that I could receive. I will ask for at least weekly contact. (read the post here)
- I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here)
- I will attend the Professional Career Workshop and attend at least one Professional Networking Group each week. (read the post here)
- I will define and continually refine my professional brand and unique value-added proposition. (read the post here)
- I will identify and understand the needs of my target market – looking for industry gaps, problems and trends – and will target my best prospects within that market. I will do the same for each target company I am pursuing. (read the post here)
- I will understand and will be able to discuss my leadership style. (read the post here)
- I will do the homework needed to develop my own unique value-added proposition(s) (to be presented in less than 90 seconds) that are based on the companyâ€™s needs and my own talent, skills and abilities. (read the post here)
- I will initiate and proactively pursue activities that will put me on the ‘radar screen’ within my industry and with my targeted companies – such as joining and interacting with targeted professional associations and community service groups, and working to get top-level leaders within my targeted industry to know me and know of me.
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