At a family party, I visited with my Gen X cousin who works for a major software company in Seattle. She said that she loves her job as a marketing strategist. Then she mentioned that she has had three bosses in 24 months. That is a red flag and she knows it. She also shared that her boss does not seem to be on board with the new bosses’ agenda. I asked how she is preparing for the next opportunity, just in case things do not work out. She said she had not given it any thought.
I shared five successful tips that have proven successful for my clients:
1) Help the Boss Succeed – set up a coffee meeting with your boss and ask him / her how you can support their success. Be prepared by researching them on LinkedIn and google. Create a list of your key accomplishments that you have top of mind, so that you can be clear about your accomplishments as they relate to the discussed strategies. (See the key accomplishments prep sample template document, you don’t share this document with the boss – it’s a tool for you – unless it’s for your review.).
CLIENT SUCCESS: My Controller client wanted to move into a CFO or VP Finance role. He met with his boss and asked how he could support her success. She was seeking M&A strategy advice for a large retail acquisition. My client had created and implemented M&A strategy for multi-unit retail locations and because the boss was new, she did not know he had those skills. Within three months, my client was promoted to a VP Finance role on the executive team leading the M&A strategy.
2) Meet Up with New Colleagues (regularly) – set up coffee / lunch / walking meetings with colleagues in your department and connect with them on LinkedIn. Get to know them on a personal basis and find some work and personal things in common. Visit their LinkedIn profile and send them a personalized message before the meeting. Like, comment or share something that they posted. You will make more meaningful and lasting connections this way. Put a reminder on your calendar to do this a least once a week.
CLIENT SUCCESS (mine): I was always interested in corporate wellness. I was working on Channel Marketing programs and I reached out to my colleague in our San Francisco office, Christy Consler, who I had heard was doing initial strategy work around employee wellness. Christy was wicked smart, kind, and collaborative. She suggested that I talk to her boss and learn more. He agreed and Christy and I co-developed the first wellness program, with our amazing team. The solution and technology was sold to Steve Case, founder of AOL, who started Revolution Health. (I was then out of a job, but because of my network and leveraging LinkedIn, I was found for another job in 2 months.)
3) Get Known Outside Your Department – introduce yourself to colleagues in other departments that you may be interested in working. Take them to lunch and see they are working on that is interesting and new. Be curious about them and then invite them to LinkedIn and keep in touch – and keep you in mind.
CLIENT SUCCESS – A sales client asked the VP HR if she would be willing to do an informational interview and they had a nice visit. Shortly after that, a new Sales Leadership role as posted in another division the VP HR immediately thought of my client – he got the job. (See informational interview questions)
Informational Interview Questions for Exploring a Career Change
- What are your specific responsibilities?
- How is your time divided? How much is spent with people?
- How would you describe the work environment?
- What do you find most satisfying in your job?
- What’s the one thing you wish you could change about your job?
- Where would you like to go from here?
- What kind of person makes a good paralegal?
- What are the skills required and experience required?
- Are these skills transferable to other types of roles?
- How do you acquire these?
- If this is the job I want to pursue, how do you recommend I best market myself – what would be to my advantage or disadvantage?
- What should be emphasized in my resume?
- What steps should I start taking to make this transition most effectively?
- Is there anyone else you recommend I talk to about this?
- What can I do to assist you?
4) Take on Bonus Projects – let your boss know that you would like to learn new skills and ask them if they would be on the lookout for projects that you could take part in. Ask your boss to support you for the role so you can showcase your skills and learn new skills. (This makes the boss look good, too.) Add these projects to the new Projects area on LinkedIn and include your teammates. They’ll get a message that you gave them a ‘shout out’ and they can add this to their profile, too. My brother, Joe, called these “extra credit” projects and he taught his son, Andrew to this all through high school. It worked great for him as he got many great recommendations from his teachers. (Example of project below. Gen Y loves this!)
CLIENT SUCCESS: A marketing analyst took on a bonus project that allowed her the opportunity to travel with the team to Australia to present data for the bonus project. She connected with all of the people she met on the project, including those in Australia and was offered a job in the Australia office.
5) Volunteer: Participate in projects that the companies support. Take on a leadership role with the charity project; get known in both the company and in the non-profit community. There are over 80,000 volunteer jobs on LinkedIn – visit:
CLIENT SUCCESS: One client volunteered for the United Way employee fundraising event and two years later, they invited him to be an Executive on Loan. He now is a non-profile Executive Director and loves his transition.
THE REST OF THE STORY – Oh, back to my cousin – she took my advice. She met with her boss, who agreed to give her an opportunity to take on a bonus project. She will present to a sales team in London next week. She has already looked up her colleagues in London on LinkedIn and has connected with them. She has three early coffee meetings with them and she will be interviewing them on how she can support their success.
Maybe at the next family meeting she will share with me that she is moving to London. Stay tuned.
Please share your ideas and successes to get ready for the next opportunity.
To an abundant year, my friends,
Read other posts at: www.linkedin.com/in/annepryor
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Personal Brand and LinkedIn Camp: February 18-20, 2016