networking

 

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Almost every time I speak to a new client about why they want to move into an impact-driven career, they say, “I want to make a difference.” Sound familiar? As you think about your 2017 resolutions, why not set a goal to finally make that difference: to find a job that will empower you to do the work you really want to do and make an impact.

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More than 50 percent of jobs are landed due to personal connections or referrals, so it is crucial to leverage your network of contacts for your professional development. Even though many people find networking to be intimidating, you don’t have to worry. Reaching out to your network doesn’t have to be scary and salesy. Think of it as a mutual friendship where you are simply reconnecting or offering something in exchange for a favor. You have to give a little to get a little.

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Creating and marketing your personal brand is key to finding a new challenging job in sustainability. I can tell you where to start this process, which is actually very similar to dating. In order to differentiate yourself in the job market or the dating market, you need to develop strong personal brand that reflects the ‘authentic you.’

Here some pointers about how to do this for impact-related careers.

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Many people make friendly chitchat in everyday life, but develop a phobia of meeting new people when they find themselves in a professional situation. The mere thought of standing alone at an event surrounded by potential employers, clients or contacts has them breaking out in a cold sweat. They’ve forgotten that all networking is basically making new friends, and that it can be fun as well as strategic, although it takes practice.

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When asked why they want to work in sustainability, most of my career coaching clients say “to make a difference.”  Some word it as “to have positive impact,” “to create a future for our children,” “to save the planet,” or even simply, “to give back.” As values-based practitioners it’s important for us to “walk the talk” in our personal, as well as professional lives.

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“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”- African Proverb

In a few of my past columns I’ve been highlighting what I call the three P’s of a successful impact career: purpose, potential and finally, people. I’ve saved the best and most important P for last. After all, I’m a strong believer that you can’t get anywhere worth going, alone.

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