Your Mom Won’t Get You Your Next Job. Stop Obsessing Over Your Network

You tentatively dial into the company-wide conference call, uncertain about what the big news might be. Within a few minutes it’s clear what is happening. The company has been acquired. The cheerfully delivered announcement put emphasis on what a pivotal event this is for the company. But what does it mean for you? What does it mean for your future?

You’ve spent years focusing all your efforts on your role in helping to make the company what it is today. Now it is being sold and it looks like you’re out of a job. You can’t help but wonder if you should have been spending less time on your work and more time building your network. Now that you’re going to actually need it you’re kicking yourself for not taking action sooner.

So many people spend their workdays with a nagging feeling that they should be putting way more effort into building their network. However, most procrastinate or simply don’t have time for networking. Then when they find themselves in the position of having to look for a job they panic. They start writing lists of everyone they know; from their mom to their great uncle to that guy they met at some function two years ago.

Well guess what? Your mom won’t be getting you your next job, and neither will that guy whose business card you can’t find. The only person who’ll be doing that is you, and networking is just one tiny part of the process. Here are the things you should be doing to prepare yourself for your next job search:

Create the Best Product ~ Excel in Your Current Role

The main focal point throughout your career should be your best-selling product and that is you. That’s right, you are the product and you need to sell yourself. Buyers, or prospective employers in your case, are looking to buy quality goods. Before you can begin to start thinking about networking you need to make sure you’ve tailored the best possible product.

A well-defined high-performance product is far easier to market. Indeed many great products often sell themselves. An awesome product is not only easier for you to promote, but also easier for others to endorse. The better you are at performing your job, the more others will recommend you.

Define Your Product ~ Curate and Communicate Your Experience

Next you need to figure out your story. You have to make sure that you can effectively articulate the work that you have done. You also need to explain why your experience makes you the right fit for future roles. Ask yourself how you can curate your past experience to show your employment history in the best possible light. And this doesn’t just apply to putting it down on paper. You also need to be able to talk about your work intelligently and astutely to convince someone to hire you.

Ask yourself these questions. What dials have moved in your company based on your work? What significant dollars have you brought to the company or saved the company? What impact have you made? And don’t forget to find people references to help you tell your story. After all, testimonials prove products, and people buy proven products.

Predict the Future of Your Product ~ Have a Vision

Finally you need to have a vision for the future. Take time to understand the direction in which you want your career to go. Setting solid goals can help you to streamline your job search process. It will enable you to focus on positions that align with your career interests and long-term objectives.

Being able to convey your ambitions also makes it easier to sell yourself to potential employers. Like any potential buyers, employers want to know the intent of the product direction. Will this be of use in the future? They want to know if your career goals align with those of the company and their intentions for your position. Being clear about your goals also displays confidence and ambition. These are traits that help people progress quickly within a company.

Tying It All Together

By focusing on your current role you will excel in your position and make it easy to obtain excellent future references. You should also be able to articulate what you do, the results of your work and where you want to go in your career. In other terms you should create the best possible product, describe the product and its expected results, and predict what this product will do in the future.

Only once all of these steps have been taken will you be ready to network. Chances are, if you’ve focused on perfecting your product the whole time, you won’t even need to actively network to find the ideal job. Prospective employers will be looking for you.

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