The work landscape is ever evolving and changing. Working professionals are afraid of losing their jobs. We are faced with headlines and articles like this one, “Innovation, Optimism and Jobs” from the New York Times that technology is great and not so great, creating jobs, disrupting jobs and wiping out the middle-class. Joe Nocera, in the above noted article, reports on The Second Machine Age and provides a disturbing excerpt from the book for those who are not prepared to embrace change, “Rapid and accelerating digitization is likely to bring economic rather than environmental disruption, stemming from the fact that as computers get more powerful, companies have less need for some kinds of workers.”
The frequent questions I get as a career coach and job search expert are along the following lines: How do I insulate my career and guarantee my income when the world of work is changing so quickly? Will I be affected by disruption now or in the near future?
The best chance of career survival I believe is through picking the right tribe to be in. Surviving as a human has always been about being part of a tribe. Finding your tribe and/or developing a tribe is key to survival and if you want to progress in your career then you need to develop your professional social skills within your tribe. Be a cave man or cave woman, (not to leave anyone out)! No, don’t get all Geico on me! Rather make real professional connections off-line, in person; yes in the flesh –what a concept? Sure connecting online is a great starter but take it to the next level. Connecting face to face with other professionals in the right tribe or what we call today a social network will guarantee that you have friends on your side when times are tough and a sense of belonging and fuel for acceleration when times are great.
Find associations and networking meetings to attend, in other words find your tribe – expect to give – and trust that the human race is reciprocal – you give and you will get back. Hang and actively participate with the right crowd and you will guarantee you can count on your network and thrive in your career. By exchanging ideas and trends with those in the know you will be at the cutting edge and always ahead of your competition. Meeting with experts who can expand your knowledge and give you the steps to put that knowledge into action will hold you steadfast against the wind of change.
Sure it takes effort to get out at night and meet new professionals but remember these are the connections that if you step-up and ask can accelerate your career beyond your wildest dreams. Most importantly, it is not what you do between 9 to 5 that guarantees your income and accelerates your career; it is what you do between 5 to 9 that matters most.
“Word of mouth is 10 times more effective than traditional ad,” Jonah Berger marketing expert and Wharton School professor is quoted as stating in a thought provoking article by Nicole Carter “The Fascinating Psychology Behind Word-of-Mouth Marketing.”
Why is word of mouth 10 times more effective? Nicole answers the question in her article “because consumers don’t trust ads – even ads with beloved celebrities.” So, if that is the case is it any wonder your great advertisement from the great celebrity, YOU, through a resume sent digitally is not trusted?
Another gem to consider about Berger’s findings, “according to his research, only 7 percent of word of mouth is online. So the best way to understand word of mouth is to understand people in real-life settings.”
My team and I have been preaching the best way to get promoted or hired is to have a recommendation and referral done in the flesh; it carries much more weight than an online introduction. Social proof in action always wins. It is a hard road to sell the world of work that you are the greatest; it is much easier and believable when others do it for you. It does not happen spontaneously, it requires getting out and meeting other liked minded professionals and connecting.
It is bad career management to only begin networking when you are unemployed and to stop once you are hired. It is also bad career management to stop helping or meeting with those who are seeking career help when you land a new job. It is most important to realize that “permanent jobs” even though they are named as such, do not really exist. Therefore joining a career networking group is critical to sound career management.
One of our clients coined the following after securing a great job:
Hill’s law: Your career success is directly proportional to the number of influential decision makers and/or raving fans in your network.
Check out professional networking groups in your area and if you are a successful professional employed, underemployed, making a career transition or unemployed and in the Toronto area then check out HAPPEN at Night, where successful professionals connect, by visiting HAPPEN.ca for meeting information.
Paul Hill is the Founder of Transition to Hired and Lead Trainer of the Ultimate Job Search Boot Camp. He is the author of the international best selling book The Panic Free Job Search and is the Director, Career Services for The HAPPEN Network, and the co-founder of HAPPEN at Night where Successful Professionals Connect.