What is the formula for career transition success?
I wish I had a dime for every time I have been asked, "Kimberly please tell me the formula for Career Success!" Are you ready! So what is the formula? I believe the formula is to be a starfish not a spider. Huh? It really is very simple – a Spider is easily taken out. Not to mention they are ugly creatures. Spiders are not resilient you take a leg off from a spider and the leg is useless. You take out the body and that’s the end of the spider. The starfish on the other hand is much different a starfish can regenerate easily out of pieces of its body and starfish are beautiful creatures. I believe the formula for career success is to be like a starfish. More specifically to be like the Linckia starfish which has the incredible ability to replicate itself from just a single piece of an arm. You can cut the Linckia starfish into multiple pieces, and each one will regenerate into a whole new starfish.
Our careers must be resilient, agile and sustainable just like the Linckia starfish.
Implementing the starfish concept.
Change your mind set. It’s not all about the resume – it is more about relationships then having the most amazing knowledge, skills, abilities, education on your resume. Many of you have worked with the guru that does not fit well with the team. Organizations have worked hard to build a team - in these lean times we all need team members that work well together and maximize our ROI. Hiring managers are going to look to their trusted agents for referrals when they have an open position.
You have heard it a million times Networking is the key. You have listened to everyone tell you how easy it is to just go out and meet new people and get connected. Please don’t stop reading thinking there is no way I want to hear one more time to just go out and NETWORK. I believe in working at the speed of trust and the only way to do that is to practice Relationship Building not networking. A great friend of mine always says if we are meeting the first time during a disaster it is way too late. We must build relationships to have an agile, resilient and sustainable team during a disaster. The same is true for career transition and career development.
With that in mind I am confident that a major piece of the formula is Relationship Building. When disaster strikes whether it is a career transition, or something much more personal like a death, illness or financial challenges it is those relationships that you have built prior to the challenge that will sustain you.
Let’s define networking. I believe there are many variations of networking. There is Needworking, NetWORKING and then true Networking or Relationship Building.
Needworking is as soon as you for whatever reason lose your position you are told to network and so you begin to look for the quickest way to meet the most people in hopes of having them tell you where your next position will be or better yet the first person you speak with will have an open position just for you. People can sense immediately that you are in desperate need of a position. This type of networking is really netWORKING. It is really hard work and seldom do your obtain the results you are looking for.
Networking or Relationship Building as I like to define it is a lifelong commitment to building relationships.
Don’t make this difficult look around you for natural ways to build relationships. There a many opportunities to serve in your community. Here in Colorado Springs we have hundreds of non-profits. Becoming involved in a non-profit that fits into who you are is a natural way to build relationships. To become a trusted community member, simply get involved in non-profits that support your interests. You will find it very easy to build relationships with others inside the non-profit. Think about non-profits for a moment, where do they receive the majority of their funding? They receive the majority of their funding from corporate sponsors. Supporting your favorite non-profits affords you an opportunity to naturally build relationships with people who work for many different organizations. But wait a minute Kimberly I don’t want to invest long-term with an organization. The answer is simple October is Make a Difference Month you can simply volunteer for short term projects with Volunteer Pikes Peak. Many corporations are encouraging their employees to get involved. As the Volunteer Pikes Peak site aptly says – Only by acting as one, can we solve what ails us all. United in volunteering this October for Make a Difference Month we can and will make a difference in our community. If you don't live in Colorado Springs, find the United Way chapter in your own community and VOLUNTEER!
Perhaps at this point in my blog you are thinking this is great Kimberly, however, I don’t have time. I am unemployed and need to devote my time to filling out applications and writing resumes. I will stake my reputation on this statement: "Community involvement is more important than spending your days filling out applications and writing resumes!" The resumes that go into an organization cold generally will never see the light of day. For every 1 opening organizations receive at the very least, 500 resumes. How will you stand out in all of that noise. You will stand out by becoming involved in your community and having built a relationship that can speak for you.
Let me give you an example: I hold bi-weekly Career Planning Hubs in Colorado Springs. We have had 17 people in the last two months find great positions. Contrary to popular belief, all hiring has not stopped. There are still wonderful opportunities and our clients are taking those opportunities by storm. For instance one of our clients applied for a facilities manager position, interviewed and was not offered the position. Melanie shared with our group that it was a great experience, however, they required a degree that she had not yet completed. Chris one of our other members asked if it would be okay if he applied for the position. Melanie said by all means please do and then shared with Chris all of what she could about the interview process. Chris applied for the position and ten days later still had not received an interview – he brought up his frustration in a Career Planning Hub meeting. Another member of our group Keith happened to know the hiring manager and placed a call asking why Chris had not been interviewed. The hiring manager stated that Chris did not have a Civil Engineering degree he had an Industrial Engineering degree. Keith said yes, but you need to read the rest of the resume he is definitely qualified for this position. Within 7 days Chris had multiple interviews and was hired.
It was through the relationship building that occurred during the Career Planning Hubs that allowed this type of interaction to happen. If Chris had not faithfully attended the hubs he would not have had the relationships with Melanie and Keith and would have never even known about the position. Let’s say for a moment that he had found out about the position and applied. He still wouldn’t have received the interview as the hiring manager only read as far as his Industrial Engineering degree. He would have been like the thousands of other very talented yet very frustrated professionals looking for work. He would have never known why he didn’t get an interview. Instead through relationship building he had multiple people on his team helping him find and land this great opportunity.
One last thought, if you are genuinely interested in homeland security, homeland defense, or emergency management, consider taking your local CERT training. The Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community. To locate the CERT program in your area follow this link - http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/
Become a Premier Member and have access to webinars that I have prerecorded to walk you through the process of building your brand and being able to succinctly present your knowledge, skills and abilities.
Remember proper networking is building great relationships. When you naturally build relationships and pay it forward you will have a solid foundation. When you have a solid foundation of relationships no matter what happens in your life you can be like a Linkia starfish; resilient, agile and sustainable.
Please consider joining me for the following networking opportunities:
Career Planning Hubs
These are networking/relationship building opportunities we have twice a week in Colorado Springs.
Virtual Career Planning Hubs - These online sessions allow people from across the country to network and collaborate.
Mil2Biz Networking Events
Mil2Biz networking events occur monthly in Colorado Springs. These events allow job seekers the chance to network with others in transition as well as employers. We generally have a speaker or panel discussion on a career transition or homeland security related topic.
Check out the second installment of this 3 part series: Formula for career transition success: Part II