So often it’s not what you know but who you know that results in endless opportunities in life and in your career. Think for a moment about all the people you have worked with in the past. If I asked them to tell me what they remembered most about you, what do you think they would say? What would your past employers remember most about you or if you are in a management role, think of all the people you have supervised. What would they remember most about you?
You might be thinking right now that this dialogue is not something you can control, but of course you can. I’ll never forget once when I was young, I was asked how I wanted to be remembered and I found the question morbid. However, I finally decided that what I wanted to be remembered for is the following – I want people to be better off for having met me, and that has made me become very aware of the impression I make on others.
An important question to answer is, “What would you like to be known for?” If you want to advance in your career and live the life you deserve, you must make a positive impression on people who pass through your life.
It’s interesting that over 80% of career advancement is the result of networking. That is not my number, that is the number shared by LinkedIn. It only makes sense that you must be extremely aware of the individuals in both your personal and professional networks. Just as important, they must understand the value you bring to the table.
Networking is a two-way street where you give much more than you receive initially and then hopefully what goes around, comes around. Are your posts on LinkedIn self-serving or do you help others succeed in their life or career? When you join groups, are you just a name on a membership list or do you become a proactive member who gets involved and possibly ends up in a leadership role?
I’ve been in the Recruiting Profession for most of my life. When we notice someone has held a leadership role in their Professional Association, that is someone we want to connect with because we know they are above average and involved.
The workforce, workplace, and work in general continue to change. In 18 months, Millennials and Gen Z will represent over 70% of the workforce worldwide. They are two of the most connected generations and if you are not building your professional and personal network daily, you will be left behind.
COVID, technology and AI have had a tremendous impact on the rapidly changing global trends that impact the job market. While they may eliminate some jobs, they are creating so many new and innovative opportunities. The way to get your foot in the door for many of these new fields is to be recommended by someone who knows you.
Your reputation is not what is posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, Tic Tok, or other social media sites. Your reputation is what people are saying about you behind your back. When you think about this, you may not like the dialogue or impressions you’ve left in the past. However, you can certainly control the impressions you leave starting today. The good news is you can rewrite how you are remembered by taking time to determine the impact you want to have on others.
One of my past employers was a VP who lived by the motto “Nice Guys Finish Last.” He did whatever it took to get ahead and did beat out a much more qualified person for the VP position. However, his attitude was his downfall, and eventually he was terminated because of how he treated others. I always wanted to say to him, maybe you believe that nice guys finish last, but people like you never finish first! When he lost his job, no one recommended him because he was remembered for all the wrong reasons.
There are actions you can take starting today to “get known” for the right reasons. First, determine how you want to be remembered and make sure the decisions you make and actions you take back up this new attitude. Most people will not judge you on what you say, but rather on what you do.
Second, join your Professional Association and become an active member. Chair a committee or accept a leadership role. Most associations offer you the opportunity to mentor others who have less experience than you, but you will learn in the process as well.
Third, take time to identify the causes that you hold dear to your heart and get involved. You may not think you have the time or money to support philanthropic causes, but the work you do and people you meet can be life changing.
Fourth, realize that when you are helping others succeed, you automatically increase your knowledge, network, and it will have a positive impact on the level of success you attain. Never be afraid to teach anyone everything you know. When I launched online Training Tutors, my employees were not happy that I was teaching everyone all our “secrets” and best practices.
To this day, I will share everything I know with whoever I feel will benefit from the information, even my direct competitors. The reason is that I keep learning, growing, and changing. Even if I teach someone everything I know today, they won’t catch me because I’m learning daily.
If you ever want to test if you’ve left a great impression on others, think about how many referrals you get. When people respect you, they will tell others about you which just continues to grow the number of people who know you and can help you achieve the life you deserve to live.
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