There are countless articles on career tips published for our consumption. Much of the advice is similar, so it's important remember is to follow a strategy that will yield positive results. Keep in mind, "what's my return on investment (ROI)?" Time is way too valuable to be wasted!
Learn Faster from Others
One of the fastest ways to get ahead is learning from others’ lessons. I'm grateful to leaders like Nely Galan who are honest about the decades it took them to become an overnight success. It's a gift when we can avoid pitfalls, work smarter and navigate our career paths in ways that are a little less painful. What inspires someone to be candid and vulnerable enough to share a game-changing story with you? Your relationship.
Build Relationships to Build Your Career
Investing in relationships is the only strategy that has never failed me. Relationships are the key to any successful endeavor and vital to having a thriving career.
In public relations, it’s paramount that we foster strong, positive relationships with all types of individuals. It's what the profession is built on. From day one, I’ve had to chuck all fear and find ways to create rapport from scratch. PR pros must jump in the ring daily to befriend new journalists, inspire potential volunteers or bring an idea to life across organizations in a matter of weeks. If we get that kind of lead time! The only way I’ve been able to manage it all is by having the resources in human capital to call on when needed.
My greatest ROI for my advancement efforts is related to the effort I’ve made to build and maintain a mutually beneficial relationships with others. That requires much more than a mechanical business card exchange with a stranger at a mixer. People who simply name-drop with an “it’s who you know” mentality sometimes forget what's more important. It’s really more about what people know about you. You can manage what they know by building a positive reputation from the work you do to help others achieve their goals.
Sometimes meeting new people can feel awkward. Here five ways for you to authentically connect with others in ways that'll show a solid return:
1. Join your local professional association. Pay the dues and make that expense count by attending networking events like luncheons, mixers or meet ups. Introduce yourself, learn about others and find common professional interests to share as you get acquainted with new contacts. My colleagues at the local Public Relations Society of America chapter have been the mentors, friends and lifeline I've depended on since I started my first "career job" years ago.
2. Volunteer on the board or sign up for a committee. You'll have to get involved for the best ROI. Use their professional volunteer opportunities to learn, try stretch assignments or get to know a professional you may have not connections with.
3. Give more than you take. Share advice, share job opportunities or brainstorm with others who need support. You never know when you'll need theirs.
4. Make friends with an industry veteran you admire. Swap stories, tips and contacts throughout your career. It'll be like mentoring without the formalities that make those opportunities so hard to come by.
5. Champion others. We women can be the worst about tooting our own horns. There's no reason why we all can't applaud work well done. Celebrate others and offer win-win cross promotional opportunities whenever you can. Everyone appreciates a connector and those favors can return to you tenfold.
I'd love to hear your viewpoint. What are some of your favorite ways to grow your business relationships? How important have they been to your career? Leave me a comment so we can all grow together!