Networking- Have you made it part of your job?

An interesting point was made during my networking group’s recent discussion about how to stay in touch with people in our network. As I was offering some techniques I personally use to stay in touch with my network, someone blurted out: “But that’s your job!”. Her point was that as a coach, it was my job to keep in touch with people that could assist my clients, it was my job to stay in touch with people that could provide industry insight, and it was my job to stay connected. I think you can catch the drift here. Others in the room began to giggle a bit and someone else retorted: “Networking is a part of all of our jobs!”

To many, networking has been viewed as a mandatory activity for sales people but perhaps as an extracurricular option for others, or an activity only to be pursued when a person is in between jobs. Somewhere the paradigm has shifted and many people now recognize it has become a mandatory part of everyday life for anyone in the workplace. Others have jumped on the social media bandwagon believing that “exposure” is the answer to unemployment or career development. Exposure isn’t the entire answer. Networking for effective results is really not that simple.

Social networking has prompted the medium for getting connected, but there is still a need for coaching around the concepts of why we need to be connected and how to develop or nurture new or existing relationships. Using social media to build exposure is one approach. But simple exposure does not develop relationships and does not develop trust. Relationships develop over time, not with a click and a connection. Developing relationships requires an awareness of a purpose and having an objective, followed by thoughtful communications that will support that objective.

It seems many jobseekers are under the impression that having mass visibility will not only get them a job, but that they will also automatically be happy with it. My assessment is that much like the rush to use career databases to post resumes years ago, the mad rush to use social networking sites to build visibility with the assumption that a passive approach leads to “happy ever after”, is just as unrealistic. Vast exposure with no plan or strategy is no more effective in developing rewarding results than the popular method of shot-gunning 500 resumes to random businesses was in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s.

The belief that visibility is the answer is misguided, as it is only a piece of the puzzle. Visibility means others can find you. It doesn’t mean that you will be prepared for the conversation when it is initiated, or that you will have the faintest idea of what you might be getting into when invited to interview with a company you may not have heard of an hour before the contact. Social networking can be a recruiter’s dream; easy access to more and more candidates. Conversely, the candidates that are contacted are at the mercy of the person reaching them. They are more likely to be caught off guard, unaware, unprepared and put in a position to act on something they had not enough time or information about to consider a reasonable approach. Flattering? Perhaps. Productive? Not necessarily. Certainly not as much as one would hope for.

There is a connection between the “job” of staying in touch with your network and making yourself visible through social networks. It is important to ensure your visibility creates the kinds of opportunities that are consistent with your goals. And, that your visibility is supported by the strength of your trusted relationships. By staying in touch with people that are able to share insight about your areas of interest, you are much more likely to have some semblance of composure or clear context the next time you are randomly contacted by an unknown recruiter.

Posted by Sherri Edwards - Money Wise Women

What Does Your Mentor Look Like?

Have you ever had a mentor that has made so much of a difference in your life either personally or professionally that you are forever grateful to that person? Someone that cared, took an interest or believed in you? If your answer is yes, then you know exactly where I am coming from. If the answer is no….go find that person now. Okay, that might be easier said than done.

Finding a mentor will happen but first you need to determine what that person looks like to you. I have been very fortunate to have had mentors both personally and professionally and unless you are lucky enough to have one fall in your lap, it might take a little more effort to clearly define what you are looking for and then to go out and find that person. Find a quiet place with a pad and pen and think about answers to the following questions:

1) What is your ultimate goal? Are you looking for a job, advance in a current job, learn how to manage some of the day to day challenges at work. Do you want to change jobs or even better, change careers. If you are a student, are you trying to find direction after high school or college? Do you want to make changes in your personal life? Whatever your ultimate goal is, it will help determine the type of person that you should seek out.

2) What qualities are important to you? Do you prefer a male or female? Do you want someone in a specific profession? Does the person have the ability to give you honest feedback? Are they ethical? Are they outspoken or soft spoken? Are they very serious or can they be silly? Have they had similar experiences that you have had? Are they caring or very reserved? What qualities in a person absolutely bug you? You should ask yourself all of these questions and more.

3) Identify your own values. Are you honest and have integrity? What are your thoughts about family and friendships? Is money important to you? Do you work hard, love to travel, value education? Understanding who you are and what is important to you is key.

4) Once you have been able to define the type of person, make a list of the places where you might find them. Are they in the corporate environment? If so, what type of profession are they in? Do they work in a school? Are they a teacher or administrator? Do they work for a non-profit? Are they a doctor, lawyer, vet, construction worker, day care provider, travel agent? Do they live in another part of the country? The more specific that you get with this question, the better.

Finding a mentor can happen in a variety of ways. There are many corporations that have their own formalized “mentorship” programs. Within these programs, you will be paired up with a senior person in the company that has expressed an interest in being a mentor. The second way seems to happen very naturally. There is a natural connection to a person and you may not understand why but this person just happens to come into your life and has a very powerful impact on you. This person can be anyone, an older family friend, a teacher, boss, acquaintance, administrator and they can come from any walk of life. However you meet this person, there will be something about them that will resonate with you. Often times your mentor will have a very similar personality and values as you have, maybe they have had similar experiences, or are in a position that you would like to be in some day. However you find your mentor and who ever this person might be, enjoy the journey and cherish the relationship because it is one that can be life changing for you

Cheryl Friscia

Cheryl Friscia is a Certified Coach and Entrepreneur. After 15 years in the corporate environment she launched her own business to share her coach training, corporate experience and 23 years as a mother, with other professionals who want to catapult their lives into something great. Cheryl spends a significant amount of time working with young men and women in navigating through all of the choices available and guiding them to determine a positive direction. Cheryl's job as a Coach is to inspire and work with you to align your passions with your core values.

Negotiating: Making the Interview Process Work for You

A candidate’s ultimate goal from an interview is to receive an offer of employment. The employer’s goal is to select the right candidate. Contrary to how candidates have approached interviews in the past, waiting for the interview to learn what you need to know to determine if this is the right decision, is much too late. Many employers have figured that out, too, and that is why they research candidates’ backgrounds in advance of the interview, or prefer to work with candidates referred by a trusted source. The employer will typically know what they need (not always) and what they are willing to pay (a range) in advance of an interview. If they truly don't have a range, then it could be red flag. It may mean they haven't researched to know what is reasonable, or worse, don't have a budget, which means they may not be fiscally prepared to add to staff.

Regardless of how prepared or ill-prepared either party might be, every interview potentially ends with an offer and subsequently a negotiation. To retain a position of power throughout the process, the candidate’s negotiating strategy begins with their advance preparation, the resume they send and the first conversation. Contrary to popular belief, a strategy cannot begin after the offer is made. Any attempt to negotiate without a strategy is only a reaction or response. The person without a strategy is in a less powerful position than the one with a strategy.

The following examples illustrate how easy it is to lose your power prior to or during an interview, when there has been little preparation and no strategy developed prior to the first conversation. Immediately following are recommended actions to help a person maintain a position of power and to reinforce the ability to get what they want.

Ways to Lose Your Power:

1.Reacting to an opportunity without goals and a strategy. If you are unclear about what it is you really want, why and how you are going to accomplish it, it is impossible to present a compelling case for why you are a fit for the role or the company.

2.Not preparing for the call before you speak with them. Without preparation, it is too easy to get side tracked with tough questions. People say things they shouldn’t say, and say things in ways that can be easily misinterpreted.

3.Talking about money before an interviewer knows anything about you (other than what’s in you your resume). Until you have presented a case for why you are worth anything, suggesting you should have more than what they might be offering will typically close the door on the opportunity. Yes, recruiters ask what you want. Just because they ask, doesn’t mean you need to tell them. (I’d like a home in Mexico. Anybody going to pony up?)

4.Disclosing current or previous compensation. Don’t compare apples and oranges. The employer wants to know they are not wasting their time. If you are changing roles or moving from an area with a different cost of living, this information is irrelevant. There are many ways to assure them you are fine with what they may offer.

5.Making demands or setting boundaries about what you will consider before a formal offer has been presented. If they haven’t decided they really want you and absolutely have to have you, then it is premature to discuss what you want. It can tip the cart and actually prevent an offer from coming forth.

6.Assuming who the decision maker is. Don’t take any conversations lightly. A receptionist or support person may not be listed as a participant, but they certainly may be in on the hiring decision. At the very least, information they pass on about you could make a difference in the outcome later.

7.Not knowing what the interviewer’s needs are. If you over speak when talking with any interviewer (trying to sell yourself by addressing issues that are not of interest to the person in front of you), you may completely miss the opportunity to move forward.

8.Making assumptions about the interviewer’s viewpoint or company’s position on key points without clarifying their needs. Expanding on your opinion about something without being absolutely certain it is in line with their thinking leaves too much to be wrongly interpreted.

9.Emailing communication that can be interpreted badly or will lose translation. Conversation about any conflict, money or a concern of any kind should not have a permanent trail.

10.Asking questions about “what they can do for you” before you have presented value to them. Don’t imply you will have special requests before they are clear about “what you can do for them”.

11.Talking beyond the business at hand before it is a done deal. If an offer hasn’t been presented for the role that is in front of you, then changing direction midstream without fulfilling their initial need can take you completely out of the game. Discussion about future options can be interpreted as if you are not interested in the original position or are overqualified. Even though the conversation seems pleasant enough, the reality of what is still left unfilled may resurface after you have left, and you could be dropped like a hot potato.
12.Assuming any discussion is a formal offer when none has been made. You can’t assume that because one person loves you, and says everything is a go, that it is a done deal. Talk is cheap.

How to Maintain or Build Your Power:

1.Be clear about your goals and how a particular role or company will contribute to your being able to achieve them.

2.Know what you need to know about an industry to be competitive before you begin any conversation.

3.Research a company and be as aware of important information about it before you have a conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager.

4.Set the stage that money is not your highest priority, but the fit and contribution to the company’s needs are.

5.Deflect questions about current earnings. Don’t be pushed into comparing apples and oranges. Research the current market range and suggest it. Certainly finding out from inside sources prior to an interview is optimal if the range isn’t posted.

6.Find out who the real decision maker is.

7.Make sure you know what is important to every person you interview with.

8.Don’t take a stand about anything. Rather than discussing your “opinion”, tell them what you have done in the past so they don’t need to guess what actions you might take when given a tough scenario to maneuver through.

9.Ask open-ended questions to learn more about the role, department and company. Let them talk! Ask open ended-questions to build your awareness of their motivation before coming to any conclusions.

10.Discuss complex issues in person (or by phone if that is the only option other than email).Create a positive impression with all communications.

11.Save discussions about “future advancement” until they have confirmed their immediate need has been met.

12.Ask for a formal offer. Get it in writing.

Negotiating what you want after you understand their position, you are clear of what you need and an offer has been presented is much more likely to end in a win-win.

Posted by Sherri Edwards - Money Wise Women

Where Employees Are Worshipped & Why

What retailer pays their employees 50-100% more than average?

What company figured out that it only takes one great employee to do the work of three good employees?

What business holds up to 8 interviews before making a job offer?
What retailer trains new store clerks for 262 hours, in the first year, while the rest of the industry spends an average of 12?

You would only be correct if you answered, The Container Store. The business was started with one store in TX in 1978. Today, they have 41 stores. Early on the partner/principles figured out that if you want outstanding customer experiences, the path of least resistance is outstanding, loyal, dedicated people who love coming to work every day.

So, what has the creation of this culture/business proven after thirty three years of using this mode? CEO Kip Tindell will be the first to tell you that the model is very dynamic, never static and always changing. The chain of stores has made Fortune Magazine’s list of ‘Best Places to Work” year after year for the past eleven years. Perhaps that’s why they lead the industry in low employee turnover.

CEO Kendall reminds us not to create a culture like this for altruistic reasons. However, the evidence suggests that with an average growth in value of more than 26%, year after year, The Container Store is a place that I can’t wait to experience as a shopper. With their plan to open their 42nd store in Charlotte, NC, I won’t have to wait much longer.

By the way, cultures this refined and successful are not limited to B2C.

If you’d like to know what it takes to move a business from being good to being great, contact me, I’d be happy to explain how it can be done.

Submitted by, Alan Adler. Author of Getting the Fish to Swim to YOU & Keeping Them in YOUR Boat.

Alan Adler

An award winning, results driven strategist; a consultant/coach specializing in leadership, change, marketing & customer service. In addition, Alan is a speaker, author, columnist and CRM, (Customer Relationship Management) pioneer. As the former owner of a business with 90 employees, plus 30 years of experience; Alan brings “fresh eyes,” providing strategic solutions to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Alan's approach combines the passion of intuition with the rigor of evidence

Achieve Your Goals Utilizing a Coach

Achieving goals is nothing more than finding out what has been holding you back and the habits and perceptions that need to change in order to get you where you want to be. Accountability coaching helps you identify those negative aspects and transform them into positive ones so you can achieve the goals you desire.

Seeking the guidance of a professional accountability coach is not a sign of weakness, it is quite the opposite. Even the very best Olympic competitors and professional athletes cannot become champions without professional coaching – and it is the same for you. The most prominent success comes from exploring your true self and identifying the self-sabotaging habits and perceptions that have been holding you back.

The Law of Effect simply states that behaviors that are reinforced are most likely to be repeated. Believing in yourself is vital to your success.

Written by Anne Bachrach - Posted in Coaching

Anne Bachrach

Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. The objective is to work less, make more money, and have a more balanced life. Anne is the author of the book, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives. Go to and get 3 FREE gifts including a special report on 10 Power Tips for Getting Focused, Organized, and Achieving Your Goals Now. Join the FREE Silver Inner Circle Membership today and receive 10% off on all products and services, in addition to having access to assessments and resources to help you achieve your goals so you can experience a more balanced and successful life (