What if you looked at every interaction as potential to change your life?
Your family. Your friends. Your friend’s friends. Strangers on the street, in the airport, at the library.
These are all potential connections.
People who may help you in the future.
Now, picture the impact just that positive thinking could have on your career!
Networking doesn’t have to be intimidating. We network without realizing it. When you start to transform your thinking and become strategic about how you present yourself to the world, you can change your life.
How I Moved Cross Country & Networked My Way to my Dream Job
When Zack and I first moved to Nebraska in 2008, we knew no one. We had five kids under the age of eight and Zack travelled a lot for work. Though I’m an extrovert, I stayed home with the kids because childcare would have cost us more than I could make working outside the home, at least at that time in my life.
The perfect recipe for loneliness.
I missed running into people at the grocery store. I missed familiarity. I missed being able to stop by my momma’s for dinner. I missed all the comfort that living in the town you grew up in naturally brings.
I missed home.
I missed who I used to be.
I missed human connection.
Finally, I realized: it was on me to build a new community, to build a new home. But in this massive new city, where to start?
With one of my passions, cooking.
A Williams Sonoma cooking class sparked my interest. I arrived early, excited to learn! I was optimistic: I might find my new best friend here, I thought.
I ended up cooking next to a gentleman. We struck up a friendly conversation and enjoyed learning how to braise beef together. At the end of the class, he introduced himself and asked what I did. Feeling brave, I replied, “I’m a PR and Marketing Consultant!”
Now, this was true. I had two tiny clients that I was helping get publicity in the local media. I had an advertising agency background. I loved sales. I knew this world and was excited to have an answer that felt authentic.
His response to my eager, confident description of my work was, “Wow, I need to hire you!”
And sure enough, he brought me into his small technology firm and asked me to help his sales team. I started training them and developing marketing materials for them.
Six months later, I was offered a full-time job as their Director of Sales and Marketing. My dream job–and three times the salary I had ever made! I could afford daycare now. This was the launch of my career.
It genuinely was that simple.
Was I lucky? Or was I strategic?
I believe both theories are true.
Without my willingness to put myself out there, both physically and mentally, I might still not have the dream career I have today.
Here’s my path to success and one that will further your career if you commit to implementing these steps in your life.
First, define what you want. Having an answer to, “What do you do?” is imperative. If you are wishy-washy, uncommitted, or babble on, you aren’t presenting something consumable.
Do you have clarity around what you want? If not, stop reading and grab a notebook.
Outline your ideal career. What does it look like? How do you feel in that new space? Once you get giddy, you have found it.
You CAN have that life.
You have to decide you are willing to be intentional about creating it yourself.
Because here’s the truth, love: YOU have the power!
We have to make it easy for others to help us. So do the work and define what you want. Draft what we call in sales an elevator pitch.
Elevator Pitch: a simple description of an idea
Think three sentences max.
I am Sarah Tucker. I am a blogger who inspires others by sharing stories. I partner with local companies to feature creative work in our community.
Or my professional one:
I’m Sarah Tucker, Regional Sales Director at IP Pathways. I help companies reduce cost and build strategic technology plans to drive their business forward.
At the end of the elevator pitch, you want people to reply, “How do you do that?” or “I need that in my life.”
It really is that simple.
Next, you want to ensure that your social media and public profiles reflect your objectives.
How are you showing up online? At parties? With your coworkers?
Share your wins.
Share your projects and ideas.
No one can help you if your work/objectives are a mystery.
I want everyone to know what I am working on and how they can help me.
It’s human nature. We all want to help others. But often, we are clueless as to how. Make that easy for everyone around you.
This is your personal brand.
You are showing up with confidence, determination, and ambition.
Your friends and family and acquaintances see that reflected in you physically and on your digital footprint (aka social media).
You serve up on a silver platter, “Hey universe! Here I am! Here’s what I do! Here’s how you can help me!”
With unabashed exuberance and confidence.
So now, you have clearly defined what you want. You have come up with a two-sentence description and are ready to share it with the world.
Let’s put that plan into action.
At the time of writing this, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s 2020, y’all. So how the heck are you supposed to network?
Honestly, it’s easier right now.
Everyone is home more. We are more connected to our devices than ever. We are lonely. We are looking for connection.
Start on social media. Your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok are all platforms for you to connect. While I enjoy posting pictures of my lunch just as much as anyone, I get giddy when I find posts that are asking for help. I feel needed. I feel activated.
See what happens through this one step. If it’s not enough, find groups and virtual events. They are EVERYWHERE.
To know which ones, find your target audience. Are you looking to break into a new career? Connect with leaders on LinkedIn. Comment on their posts and engage in their content.
Want to launch a new business? Network with other entrepreneurs. Find where they hang out and ENGAGE.
Ask for help.
You are gonna need to shed that ego. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a symbol of strength.
Read that again. You show STRENGTH when you confidently share how people can help you.
Look at her over there making moves and being confident and stuff. It’s sexy. It’s attracting people to her corner.
Be that girl.
When you begin putting your confident and sexy self into the universe, people notice.
First your family. Then your close friends. Then the message starts to spread.
Hey, did you hear Sarah is launching a new blog?
That’s so cool — how can I help her?
Then, you start to find your cheerleaders. Your admirers. THAT’S YOUR NETWORK. That’s how you start to change your life.
These are your people.
YOU GO, GIRL.
Go. Make your money. Live your dream. Be YOU. Whatever you is, you can build that. I can’t wait to meet the you that is your whole you.
Your network is your most valuable professional asset. You will be able to use this to help others and help yourself.
Use the comment section below to share your elevator pitch. What are you working on? What do you need? How can people help you? Let’s network, y’all!