paNASH blog


Do You Want to Take the Work Out of Networking? Here’s How

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Networking can feel like, well, let’s just say it, work. Just the thought of it can trigger a sense of dread for a lot of people. This is especially true for introverts and job seekers currently unemployed. Because networking can often feel awkward and fake, it therefore feels like work.

But there are some ways to take the “work” out of networking so it doesn’t feel so laborious. Keep reading to find out how.

Taking the “work” out of networking

1. Change your mindset

Instead of thinking about networking as work, start thinking about it instead as “netweaving.” I heard of this term when reading an article by producer and photographer Michael Kushner.

Kushner explains:

“There is a fine line between networking and netweaving. Are you making these connections to advance yourself, or are you creating an environment where everyone can succeed? What establishes the difference is your intention.”

Networking should never be about what you can get from someone. Instead, your intention and approach should always be about making it a win-win for each party. (See my post, “How to Stop Networking for Good Contacts and How to Be One!“)

In addition, your intentions should be genuine. I’ve personally experienced people approaching me with a so-called win-win situation. But in looking closer, they weren’t being genuine.

For example, in one instance, it was obvious the other party was using empty flattery. In another, a contact was using one of her own clients as bait, to lure me into something only benefiting her other client and herself. Therefore, I declined each of these networking proposals.

In the second example, I politely and tactfully called her out on it, because I’d known her long enough to be able to do so. When I did, she admitted it, and showed appreciation for my forthrightness and said she found it refreshing. We were able to be honest and gracious with each other, which strengthened both our reputations within our network.

Not only do I encourage you to be genuine and intentional in your own “netweaving” efforts, but also to be discerning of those who aren’t. You don’t have to say yes to every meeting or proposal. If you do, this is when networking becomes work. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Use your time wisely

Take an inventory of all the different types of networking you’ve done in the past. This can include:

  • attending large networking events
  • conducting one-on-one meetings or informational interviews
  • connecting through LinkedIn
  • attending conferences or industry events
  • joining professional associations
  • volunteering
  • serving on committees
  • etc.

Ask yourself:

  • “Which ones am I more skillful at doing?”
  • “Which ones do I enjoy the most?”
  • And, “Which ones have had the most success?” (with success being defined as all parties benefiting from the connection).

Spend the majority of your efforts on those that meet the above criteria, while occasionally incorporating a couple of the others so you don’t let yourself get too comfortable. As a result, you’ll see more genuine success, and feel less overworked.

More resources:

How Can Career Coaching Help Me if I’m Not Currently Looking For a Job?

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The other day I heard from a previous potential client. We had originally spoken last fall about his desire to look for another job, but then he decided to stay with his current company to try to make it work. Now he’s reaching back out because this approach hasn’t turned out as he’d hoped, and he’s now reconsidering career coaching.

Did you catch that? He wanted to try to make his current career situation better, yet originally declined career coaching. Does this make sense to you? Probably, if you’re like most people who think career coaching is only beneficial when conducting a job search. But it’s not.

In fact, career coaching is helpful for all aspects of your career, such as improving your current work situation so it’s less miserable, getting promoted or changing roles within your company, starting your own business, considering retirement or semi-retirement, and much more.

Trying to do any of this without the help of an expert is a lot to put on yourself. Why go it alone?

How career coaching can work

To illustrate this point, let me tell you about a client of mine. I’ll call her Kate. Kate first came to me because she was unhappy with the department she was in at her current company. She didn’t mesh well with her co-workers in this department, and she wasn’t getting to do the type of work she enjoyed most. But she also wasn’t ready to start a job search yet.

Over the course of Kate’s coaching package, we looked at various options for her. This included exploring whether she should consider a new job search or not. We also explored the feasibility of starting her own business.

But first, I helped Kate brainstorm ways to have conversations with her supervisor about the option of carving out a role more in line with her skills and passions. We worked on this throughout her coaching package.

While doing so, we also focused on how Kate could start her own business doing what she loves, first as a side hustle, then eventually as a full-time gig if nothing panned out or things didn’t improve at her current company.

Kate began taking the steps to start her own side gig, and then COVID hit. As a result, she had to table her business idea.

In this time, the conversations she’d been having with her supervisor, along with taking the initiatives I suggested she should take at her job, led to the ideal role for her in a different department at her current organization.

When I last saw Kate, she was much happier in this new capacity at her current company. She was thriving because she was working within her skill set, and with a new group of people who appreciated those skills.

Are you running from something, or running to something?

Kate still plans to grow her own business idea slowly in the form of a side hustle, in case she ever decides to go full-time with it. But she feels less pressure now to do so. This is because she started with career coaching prior to considering a job search, before she knew exactly what her next step should be.

Kate told me she’s glad she didn’t wait until she was so fed up at her current company that she decided to start a job search. She knew if she had, she’d be running away from something instead of running to something.

Don’t wait to get started with career coaching

Don’t wait until you’re desperately running away from something to talk with a career coach. If you do, you’ll probably find yourself running in all different directions, with no real direction at all.

Let paNASH help you find the direction of your next turn in your career path. Click here to get started and schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Or, help yourself to some of paNASH’s online video tutorials. These will help you get your footing in your current situation and properly pace yourself for the next step.

Related posts

What Are Some of the Best Networking Hacks for Your Job Search?

Everyone knows networking is the best way to find a job. But many networking efforts have been hampered the past year due to the pandemic. Now, we’re able to cautiously step back into traditional networking methods in some instances, while continuing to use virtual means when necessary. As a result, I wanted to compile some of the best networking hacks and practices, both traditional and virtual, that I’ve previously shared on the paNASH blog. Enjoy!

Best networking hacks

1. Stop overthinking networking

Why You Need to Stop Overthinking Networking

First and foremost, you need to stop psyching yourself out about networking. I see so many clients who come to me overthinking networking, to the point they feel too paralyzed to reach out to anyone.

As soon as you stop putting so much pressure on yourself, you’ll be able to have a purposeful and productive conversation with anyone who could be a potential connection. To learn how to stop overthinking networking, click here.

2. Be realistic about networking

How to Be Realistic About Networking (Re-Post)

In addition to not putting too much pressure on yourself, you also shouldn’t put too much pressure on your contacts. This requires you to be realistic about your expectations of networking.

Click here to find out what this looks like.

3. Know how to handle the question, “What do you do?” when unemployed

How to Answer, “What Do You Do?” When Unemployed

Networking is intimidating enough, but even more so if you’re currently unemployed. Especially when asked, “So, what do you do?”

To learn how to answer this question without feeling like a failure, click here.

4. Understand the etiquette specific to LinkedIn

LinkedIn Etiquette You Need to Know When Networking Remotely

To some people, LinkedIn can feel like an easier, more casual way to network. But you must remember it is still a professional setting, even though it’s in the form of a social media platform.

There is a certain etiquette which must be followed on LinkedIn. Click here to learn the rules of LinkedIn when networking remotely.

5. Write emails people will want to respond to

How to Write Networking Emails That Will Get Responses

Email is still a good way to make an initial connection. It gives the recipient the chance to respond when it’s the most convenient time for them.

To ensure you receive not just a response, but the kind of response you want, it’s important to know how to word your subject line and body of the message. To learn how to craft the best networking email, click here.

For more networking tips, check out these resources:

What Are the Best Companies to Work for in Nashville?

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If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ll notice my absence for the past several weeks. I was out of town due to a death in the family, but I’m back in Nashville and available to assist you with your career coaching needs.

As I was driving back into town, I was reminded of the vibrancy of this city. The amount of growth Nashville has experienced in the 15 years I’ve been here has been amazing. So many companies have moved to the area, creating more job opportunities than ever before.

Yesterday, the Nashville Business Journal announced it’s annual list of the best places to work in Nashville. I’m sharing this list with you below so you can know where to target your next job search in Music City, with the help of paNASH of course!

35 best places to work in Nashville

The following companies are listed as this year’s best places to work in Nashville based on three factors:

  • Employee satisfaction
  • High retention rates
  • A healthy bottom line

1. ARCO Murray Nashville

2. Blueprint Inc.

3. Evolution Event Solutions

4. Hire Dynamics

5. Judith Bright Jewelry

6. Nashville Vascular & Vein Institute

7. Rock House Center

8. Row House Cool Springs

9. Tennessee Bar Association

10. TennGreen Land Conservancy

11. Davidson County Register of Deeds

12. Graduate Nashville

13. Jones Lang LaSalle

14. Patterson, Hardee, & Ballentine CPAs

15. Rocky McElhaney Law Firm

16. Rustici Software

17. ServisFirst Bank

18. Studio Bank

19. The Onin Group

20. Trinisys

21. Brasfield & Gorrie

22. Churchill Mortgage

23. DPR Construction

24. First Community Mortgage

25. Healthcare Bluebook

26. InfoWorks

27. JE Dunn Construction

28. KraftCPAs PLLC

29. Turner Construction Co.

30. Vaco

31. Deloitte

32. Gresham Smith

33. RJ Young

34. Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLC

35. Wesley Financial Group LLC

Job search assistance available

For assistance with your job search for an opportunity with any of the companies above, click here to complete the paNASH intake form.

Why Your Career Decisions Require Focus, Patience, and Passion

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When working with clients, I spend a lot of time delving into the deeper issues involved in career decisions and the job search. I’ve written several posts on this topic as well.

Today, I want to share some “oldies but goodies” with you. If you’re new to this blog, I hope you’ll find them refreshing. If you’ve been following me for some time, you’ll see it never hurts to be reminded of these topics. Repetition helps improve memory and learning.

How to make good career decisions

1. Don’t follow your heart

You might think since my work emphasizes helping people pursue their passions, I’m telling them to just follow their hearts. This is far from the truth! In fact, following your heart can actually lead to trouble.

To better understand how pursuing your passion is different from following your heart, check out my post titled, “‘Follow Your Heart’ is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice!

“Follow Your Heart” is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice! (Re-Post)

2. Get focused

You can’t expect to find the right job without having focus. Applying to jobs without really knowing your goal can lead to some very poor career decisions.

Learn how to get focused in my post, “Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search.”

Why Focus Is So Important in the Job Search

3. Seek career advice that’s different from the same old, same old

In addition to providing some tried and true career guidance, I always strive to bring more to my clients with out-of-the-box career advice. This approach helps set them apart from their competition. It’s advice you won’t get with most other career coaches, or from a simple Google search on the topic.

Get a taste for this out-of-the box guidance with my post titled, “Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You.”

Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You (Re-post)

4. Be patient

Learning to be patient is a difficult thing to master. In fact, it’s a lifelong learning process. Each time we fail, we’re given more opportunities to become more patient.

To improve your patience with your job search, check out my post, “How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs.”

How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

5. Try some proven life and career hacks

When your career or job search feels out of control, focus on doing the things within your control, while letting go of the things you can’t control. This will help you better prioritize your job search and career decisions.

For eight simple hacks, see my post titled, “How to Hack Your Way to a More Passionate Life and Career.”

How to Hack Your Way to a More Passionate Life and Career

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If you’d like more personalized attention, please fill out the paNASH intake form. I’d love to talk with you!