When you think of your network, you may think of quantity – the many people that you know socially and professionally. They can serve as resources while job searching or for other career needs. When thinking of quality, important people that you have worked with over the course of your career might come to mind; mentors for example. Mentors and other valuable relationships can make up a different kind of support system – a career team. A career team is a small group of individuals who provide support, advice, and expertise as you work towards your goals. This could be related to your job search or other professional development such as expanding your skillset, enhancing your role at your company or identifying your next steps professionally.
Your career team might be made up of:
- role models, or
Who are your mentors, role models, and coaches?
Mentors – Mentors could be former or current managers, colleagues, teachers or friends. A mentor is defined as an experienced and trusted adviser, someone who has been where you are or where you hope to be. Mentors can be developed through a formal partnership such as a company or college program, or more often than not, develop naturally through a shared interest or goal.
Role Models – Role models can be someone from your personal or professional life or could even be someone you follow online or an author you love. For those that you may not know personally, what wisdom can you take from their teachings? Your role models’ advice does not need to only be career-focused, it can be anything that keeps you motivated, encouraged and generally helps you be your best self.
Coaches – A coach is a bit different than a role model or a mentor. Coaches often have knowledge or expertise in a specific content area. They are also very process-oriented, providing guidance on identifying next steps and ways to achieve a goal. A coach could be a Career Coach or a content expert brought in to help you focus on a certain skill related to your work (for example, a public speaking coach).
Career Coaches are designated support systems to assist you in identifying process, goals and action steps of a job search and/or your professional development. This can include helping you:
- Explore job search strategies or strategies to expand your professional development
- Identify your strengths and values
- Prepare for interviews or professional development experiences
- Make career decisions
- Identify strategies to get promoted or negotiate salary
- Improve your communication and relationships at work
… and more
Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help
The relationships that you have cultivated over your career are valuable assets, not just for you but for others. Just as others have benefited from your expertise and support in the past, it is okay for you to benefit from others’ expertise and support. In most cases, people feel valued and important when you ask them for help. Check the articles below for some interesting perspectives on asking for help:
Why Mobilize Your Career Team?
The job search or planning your next steps professionally can feel isolating. Having others ask about your progress and providing support can be a game-changer to meeting your goals. Many of us approach the job search or our career goals in a vacuum and avoid sharing too many details with others until we have good news to share. Keeping ourselves isolated can hold us back from making progress. By asking others for support, we can get ideas on how to approach the challenge as well as recognizing the strengths that we bring to the table. We also can get positive reinforcement when we are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
- Ideas and Advice
Your mentors, role models and coaches most likely have good advice and resources to share. Either they have been where you once were, or because of common interests and goals, they have resources that you would find helpful or inspiring. By sharing your goals, you are inviting others to be a part of your success.
- Leads and Referrals
Whether job leads or leads for professional development opportunities, by opening yourself up to suggestions, you are optimizing your team. Business Insider reported that up to 70% of jobs are not posted and that 40% of new hires were through referrals.
How To Mobilize Your Career Team
Ask them to meet for coffee or for a quick chat on the phone to introduce your request.
- State your intention and make it meaningful
Avoid a simplistic request such as “keep me in mind.” Instead, share why you thought of them to reach out and why you value them as a mentor. Ask them if they would be willing to support you in meeting your goals through sharing advice and listening as you reflect on your progress and your next steps.
- Stay in touch
Follow up on a regular basis to update them on your progress or to ask them for advice. They will then be invested in your future and feel a part of your success.
Don’t go at it alone. By asking for help, you are continuing to cultivate meaningful relationships that can help you meet your goals.
For more ideas on mobilizing your career team, consider working with a career coach. A coach can help you identify action steps to put yourself out there. Check out our executive coaching services and sign up for a free consultation here.