Will the people you meet today help your career tomorrow?
Whether you talk to a successful entrepreneur or corporate CEO, many will say they didn’t achieve their success on their own. They give credit to knowledgeable people along the way who groomed and mentored them, giving them pathways to accomplish great things. In some cases, these mentors opened new doors to them through promotions, unadvertised positions, and timely career advice.
But where do you find these mentors and advisors? You may have found that when you attend structured networking events, you’re competing with lots of other people looking for the same thing. In environments such as those, it is difficult to get one-on-one time with the people who can help you, while making a memorable impression.
Luckily, there are a number of other strategies you can put into place to meet the kind of people who can help you advance your career. Here are four suggestions on how you can meet these people, get the opportunity to chat with them individually, and build a foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Volunteer at Local Charitable Events
You will find a number of people who give their time are often in positions of authority. People of high integrity often find a way to give back to their community. When you have the opportunity to work with them shoulder-to-shoulder, they will be able to see some of your true character without you having to sell yourself.
Attend Trade and Professional Group Outings
Those who are looking to improve their skills and keep up with changes in their field often attend educational events designed for their industry. Typically, these events are hosted by trade and professional associations in your local area. You can make a big impression on real decision makers and show your desire to learn and grow when you attend the outings that these groups sponsor.
Ask to Meet, and Don't be Shy
One strategy that will truly set you apart will be to go ahead and initiate conversation with decision makers. Let them know you're interested in pursuing a similar career and would like to learn about their personal success strategies and the path they took to success. Use sites like LinkedIn or Twitter to find and connect key individuals and then write them an email, direct message and/or even letter to request to talk with them. This will show that you’re interested in their industry and willing to think outside of traditional channels.
Talk with Fellow Students and Alumni
Networking with fellow students and alumni is a powerful strategy, yet sometimes overlook. This is an important connection to make because the common bond of attendance at the same school can break down barriers that might hinder open communication.
Use these tactics interchangeably and simultaneously to accomplish your career goals. Doing this will put you in the driver’s seat of managing your career.