No, I do not mean quit your corporate job to retrain as a barista. Whilst the profit margin on a coffee might be known to be high, what I’m actually referring to is networking.
Not everyone likes to network, or understands how to do it effectively, so read on to find out how it can and will lead you to your dream job.
One of my favourite ways to nurture and stay top of mind with my network is by going for coffee catch-ups. Why? Well even the busiest senior executives and CEO’s can fit in a 15-minute coffee break at some point, it’s easy, enjoyable, and rewarding.
Whether you’re networking with a colleague or acquaintance, by getting them away from the office environment, you are allowing them to relax and speak more openly.
This is a great way to start to develop a real relationship, you’re making a small but kind gesture by buying them a simple coffee.
Many of the thousands of senior leaders I have had conversations with over the years have said to me that every job role they’d had throughout their career has been down to networking.
If you missed that let me repeat – every single job opportunity has happened as a result of networking!
Not only is it true of many of the senior execs I work with, but it’s true for many of the roles I’ve held throughout my career too.
This should be a big wake up call to those who say they don’t like networking.
So here are the 3 easy steps that have worked for me:
1. Buy someone a coffee. This is your starting point. Pick someone who you admire and want to understand more about. This might be someone more senior than you at your current place of work, it might be someone in a department where you’re thinking you might like to move one day. It might be a former colleague who has gone on to do new and interesting things and you want to pick their brains. It might just be someone who sits in your office who you’ve never really spoken to before. Whoever it is, reach out to them and ask if you can take them for a coffee in the next week or so. It helps if you also pick a coffee shop near to them, so the effort of saying yes on their part is minimal.
2. Keep in touch, don’t disappear off the radar. Once you’ve started building good relationships with your network and taken some key people for coffees, don’t let this new relationship dwindle. It’s important to keep in touch, at the very least, try sending them articles and resources you’ve found that you thought they’d be interested in. Suggest events that they might like to attend. Take them for another coffee. Don’t be dissuaded if you don’t always get a response, but most of the time I find if the content you’re sharing with them is relevant, you will.
3. Give before you take. This means in short, don’t make them feel like you’re using them to further your career. The relationship needs to be give and take, and whilst one day they may help in some way to further your career, it will soon fall flat if you expect it to start that way. The best relationships, the ones that lead you to that dream job, start by you first giving to them and showing that you’re a genuine person. This might mean sharing someone’s resume when they’re job hunting or sending them a job you think they might be a good fit for, it might involve talking them through an element of your job that they’re interested in, or something you do to volunteer. It might be buying them all those coffees.
Being a natural introvert meant that networking isn’t always something that has come naturally to me, but I’ve made it work my way using this ‘coffee catch up’ technique.
Oh and by the way, if you don’t like coffee, that’s okay. Tea works just as well, English Breakfast is my personal favourite.
Networking is one of the modules that’s covered in depth in the my mentor: Courageous Women program – our female career acceleration program. One of our clients even had 40% of the females promoted with just a few months of taking the program.
Enquire today about the my mentor: Courageous Woman program.