Written by Gary Matsuda
The U.S. Navy SEALs have a saying: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” While not as harrowing as preparing for combat, the thought of networking still gets our insides twisted up in knots.
Cary Pfeffer spoke to Career Connectors and called on us to get out of our minds and out the door and ready to build new connections. Cary brings a cumulation of 15 years as communication consultant with Clearcom Consulting and 20 years as a news anchor and reporter delivering news worthy stories to the public. You’d think with a career in broadcasting and speaking publicly that he’s a natural at people skills. But that wasn’t always the case. Especially in his early career, Cary was uneasy about using a network to build his career. Yet recognizing this and intentionally working to improve his professional skills and continually moving forward enabled him to take his career to higher levels.
Get out and Expand your Pool of Contacts!
Woody Allen said, ”80 percent of success is showing up.” So here’s to those who show up at Career Connectors’ meetings! Go ahead and get out there. Don’t wait until you’re in the mood to mix it up a bit with new people. Cary says no one will ever know who you are if you don’t put in the effort to be seen and become known.
Get Out and Learn Something New!
We learn best when we experience something novel, out of the ordinary, even when we’re a bit uncomfortable. Who knows who you’ll meet, or what you’ll learn from other’s experiences? In addition, you could gain valuable insights about what’s going on in your field and how you might be able to contribute or where you’ll need to improve. In a networking meeting, this is perfect for doing that in a low-risk environment.
Expand on Who You Know!
As Cary mentioned, no one will know you if your professional and social circle is closed. The more people you know, the more likely you’ll find the right people who can introduce you to the next big opportunity. Cary stressed that if anything, this is could be your most important take-away. During his career Cary worked with 3 professional agencies and despite that their specialty was to find him clients, not even one provided him with new work. Yet 60% of his business came from just 3 personal contacts. Go figure.
Before You Go Have a Plan
You shouldn’t go to a networking event empty handed. But that doesn’t mean fill your plate with hors d’oeuvres. What you should bring is your crafted story that would be of interest or helpful to potential contacts. The best meetings may have a theme, niche or curation that will give you a better idea of what kind of people will be there and so you can adjust your story accordingly. Knowing who might be there will help you decide if this could be a potential gold mine of clients/employers or not a good use of your time.
The best way to find out if your story will really connect is to try it out on new people who don’t really know you. On occasion you’ll fall flat but with practice, these in-person encounters will get you closer to the right people. Observe people’s reactions so you’ll know what best gets your message across and if necessary, fine-tune it so you can be even better next time. Did your pitch seem too long or not long enough? Does it solve a problem? Do you even have the right audience? It may take a few tries to get it right, but a potential employer can expect any candidate worth his salt to be able to tell a story that will resonate. Just don’t wait to test it out during a high stakes job interview!
What’s in a Name?
While you are your own favorite person and the most important thoughts ever imaged run through your head, never assume people will remember you, let alone remember your name. Help them along so they can more easily associate you with that personal label that you call your name.
Balance your time so you can not only provide your input but also give others time to speak. Remember showing up is 80% of success? Respect the effort of others who also made the effort to show up (just like you did). Appreciate that they may not want to spend the whole event with you when there are dozens of other potential connections in the room.
Don’t Be a Card Dispenser
You’re more than a resume or LinkedIn profile. Likewise, the personal impression you make is more important than the 3 ½” X 2” card stock you’ve got in your pocket. As important as these resources are, don’t rely on a great looking business card, LinkedIn profile or resume to do the relationship building for you. Listen more than you speak, ask how you can be helpful. As Cary puts it: ‘Don’t be a serial card dispenser’ which could project an insincere impression or that you might be even a bit pushy. Instead, when you meet someone who could be a valuable connection, turn the tables and ask for their card.
After the Meeting
Make notes on who you’ve met. Now that you have their card, you can make notes on that and follow up with them as promised.
Because of our dependence on electronic apps, you’ll stand out if you make quick follow ups with the people you want to continue a relationship with. Handwritten notes? Who does that anymore? Why now you do of course!
Resources for more help from Cary Pfeffer:
Century Link, Lisa Allen, Sr. Recruiter
Careers at Century Link let you get more out of your sales career. At Century Link you get work/life balance – there’s no working late nights, no weekends. There’s paid vacation, holidays, tuition reimbursement and generous medical, dental, vision coverage for your family.
Account Manager II – Outbound Sales
The Account Manager II-Outbound Sales Representative is responsible for growing revenue in the Small Business Accounts sector. The right candidate will possess the ability to place outbound calls daily to new and our existing Small Business clients. Must be able to effectively present sales recommendations to new account prospects and cultivate new opportunities within existing accounts.
Center Sales and Service Associate – Small Business
The Center Sales & Service Associate responds to phone calls in a fast-paced inbound contact center promoting and selling CenturyLink products and services to our Small Business clients. Successful Center Sales & Service Associates must respond with a high sense of urgency while providing extraordinary customer service. This will include answering questions regarding client accounts, fulfilling orders as well as troubleshooting problems. Our goal is to assist our clients with a first call resolution.
U-Haul, Alex Taylor Corporate Recruiter
U-Haul vehicles are everywhere. You can find them in far off places and accessible all over the United States and Canada so that they have a central headquarters doesn’t easily come to mind. But they do and it’s right here in Phoenix!
Their job opportunities cover a wide range of professions too. There are openings in every field including IT, field work and at corporate headquarters. U-Haul opportunities don’t stop at transportation. They’re also affiliated with Repwest Insurance, Oxford Insurance and Amerco Real Estate so there could be a chance to cross industries as well.
Current openings include Software Engineer, Software Infrastructure, Retail Sales, Customer Service Agents, Accounting and Project Managers.
Freedom Financial Network, Heather Marcom, Head of Talent Acquisition
As a 9 time winner of ‘Best Places to Work in Phoenix’ this place has got to be on your list of employers to target. You’ll be taken care of as you work to care for others as they live by their core values of:
Care. Act with integrity. Get Better. Collaborate.
Freedom Financial helps those who have hit hard times by providing debt relief, help negotiating debt down to get them credit worthy and helping to consolidate personal loans, when no one else will.
You can find their open positions at the Sky Harbor Airport office or at the new Tempe location.
Among these are openings in:
Call Center, Sales and operations
Contact them at www.FFNJOBS.com
Goodwill of Central & Northern AZ, Ron Mack
If you haven’t found a job yet, you probably haven’t been to a Goodwill Career Center.
Not just a retail store but it’s an organization that provides opportunities which serve the needs of community, help the professional job seeker become self-sufficient and get people back to work.
The Goodwill Career Center offers free career coaching, resume critiquing, job leads from employers, mock interviews, and digital skills training classes from beginning to advanced at several locations in the Phoenix area. This is much more than place for entry level jobs- you could start a long term new career at places like Amazon, Target and Home Depot.
The average age of people taking refresher courses with Goodwill is 45 -50. These courses include computer basics in Word, Excel, Power Point, Mac and Windows operating systems and North Star certification.
Interested in Getting Your Master’s Degree?
Want to get started or get a leg up in the IT industry? Or Nursing, Business, Leadership, Communication, Teaching? GCU’s online and evening programs have the flexibility you need!
Right now, GCU is offering alumni $2,000 in tuition credit. If you’re not an alumni, you can still get a 20% discount on evening classes.
For more information visit the Graduate Programs Office in Cypress Hall or https://www.gcu.edu/degree-programs/masters-degree
“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your comfort zone and become familiar with the unfamiliar and unknown.”Denis Waitley