Make Career Change Easier by Managing your Professional Network
How long have you been in your current position? If it’s a while since you’ve made a career change, you may have forgotten how demanding the process can be. At the beginning, many professionals realize they’ve neglected a crucial ingredient of easier career transition – access to a professional network.
Over the next few weeks, we will discuss three crucial ingredients for a successful career change. We will focus on three practical steps that you can begin right away. Your career transition will be easier and faster if you learn how to manage your contacts, stay motivated, and create a personalized plan.
Let’s begin with first crucial ingredient of a successful career transition – how to keep track of your contacts.
Reconnecting with people already in your network and adding new contacts is undoubtedly one of your most important career change activities.
For most professionals, the fastest path to your next career move is by tapping in to your network. But to do this more easily, you need a way to manage information about your contacts.
Knowing a lot of people is a good thing when it comes to your career. But how easy is it for you to contact them? Unless you have a good system in place to keep track of the people you meet and the professional contacts you make, you may be missing opportunities.
If you feel like you’re too busy to network or rely on your memory only, it’s time to think about how to make connecting easier.
To do this effectively you need an easy way of doing two things. First, you need a way gather contact information when you meet people. Secondly, you need a way to create reminders and follow-up alerts to remember what to do when, and help you stay on track.
Every customer relations management systems (CRM) on the market will include these basic functions. If you’re starting from scratch a simple spreadsheet and reminders on your calendar may be be a good option at first. If you are not accustomed to doing these two things, give yourself a bit of time to create a new habit. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time if you make it part of your routine activities.
If you decide to begin with a spreadsheet, you will usually be able to upload spreadsheet data to a CRM system later. One of the advantages of CRM is that many systems are now cloud-based allowing access from any device.
To find out the best tools for you, ask colleagues or search for reviews of CRM software online. There are a lot of options available. For a tool designed specifically for job seekers, have a look at Jibberjobber to see if it is a good fit for your needs. There is a free version available.
The important thing is to use a system that makes sense for you. With a way of managing your contacts in place, you will spend less time looking for “lost information” and more time building the relationships that will support your career change success.
Next week we will focus on the second of our three crucial ingredients for career change success, how to stay motivated.
Career & Work Life Matters, ISSN 2150-6299, Vol 6, no. 7
|Jennifer Bradley, PhD helps professionals lead their own careers, empowered with the information, tools, and resources that they need. She offers individual coaching and consulting, teaches classes, and publishes articles on career development and career transition.
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