I was recently talking to a friend I have known for almost 20 years. She shared with me how her son’s ex-girlfriend who she had not talked to since her son dated her at least five years ago. However, she was honored that she had simply called to ask her to review her resume. She was already a professional and wanted to go into a very specific field, and my friend actually didn’t know a lot about it. However, the day after she was asked to review the resume, she met someone with the exact title the ex-girlfriend wanted and even working at the same company she wanted to work for. My friend happily collected more insight and soon directly connected the two. And this young lady now has a connection and possible job opportunity that she otherwise never would have- if she had not asked for a little help.
I feel the same honor when former students I’ve taught or students who have been in the audience when I’ve spoken reach out to me for my feedback. If the student made any type of positive impression on me, I gladly help them. Review resumes, provide professional feedback, and even connect them to job opportunities.
Relationships are critical especially when starting or trying to advance your career, but too often they are taken for granted. More often, they are just not taken into consideration.
What opportunities are you missing simply because you don’t recognize the power of your relationships? And because you aren’t asking?
You probably don’t even know the answer to those questions. It might be a new job, a promotion, a new connection or much more.
Here’s a better question.
How can you make yourself available for as many opportunities and options as possible?
- Make a good impression. Before anyone will want to help you, you first have to make a good impression. Someone is always watching and forming an impression of you. Make it a good one because you never know who might be in a position to help you. Those who work hard, show up for class on time, and don’t just want to get by are the ones that I’ll first consider for opportunities. Other people in positions to connect you to opportunities have criteria for determining who they will help based on the impression you make.
- Do your part. In addition to making a good impression, you have to put in work for yourself. Do research for yourself. Figure some things out for yourself. People are excited about helping others get ahead when they see they aren’t expecting them to do all the work for them. When they see you have already been working on it. Don’t use someone else’s valuable time to answer a simple question you could Google.
- Evaluate resources. In doing your part, think about all the resources available to you. A computer with Internet access is one of your best tools when you’re doing your part, and I call Google my best friend because it gives me lots of information to decipher, tear apart, put together, and create my own conclusions and creations. And people are extremely valuable resources that are often not properly used or appreciated. Who are the people in your life? Don’t dismiss anyone because of your assumptions of their power or connections.
- Maintain relationships. Every day you meet people who can take you where you are trying to go. Whether it’s directly or by them introducing you to someone who can help you. I was hired for my last corporate job because of a relationship I made with someone ten years earlier when I was in college. When I appeared on CNN HLN, it was because of a relationship I made after speaking on a panel.
- Ask for help. As you meet people, don’t forget to make a good impression and do your part before you ask for help. Often we feel like people aren’t interested in helping us. Before you draw that conclusion, ask yourself if you’ve positioned yourself for help or for opportunities. If you’ve done all of the above, you’re in a great place to reach out to the people you’ve created relationships with. Whether it’s a professor, someone at church, a mentor, or even an ex-boyfriend’s mother, people enjoy helping others get ahead- especially youth and young adults. And when you’ve done a good job of making a good impression, maintaining relationships and expressing your interests and goals, people will seek you for opportunities…even before you ask.
Watch this short video with 5 Strategies to Get Your Dream Job or Live the Dream of Being Your Own Boss