How to Create Relationships that Build Your Network

Pictured: 2 hands, a pen, and a card that reads: "Thank you for meeting with me today."

How to Create Relationships that Build Your Network

December 5, 2022

Pictured: 2 hands, a pen, and a card that reads: "Thank you for meeting with me today."A common trend with networking is the lack of follow-up. We connect with people on LinkedIn, during networking events, or at conferences, and then months go by without any additional interaction. Over time, we forget where we met the person, they forget about us, and then we never reconnect.

Building, following up, and staying connected to your network takes time and effort. If you don’t make the effort to stay in touch with a new person that you just met, your connection with that person was merely a transaction, not the beginning of a relationship. That means you’re missing the opportunity to add them to your network.

It also means you’re wasting your time! All that networking effort goes to waste when you don’t do the follow-up work to build a relationship with them.

The power of your network and its usefulness is based on the strength of your relationships with the people you know.

The whole point of meeting people and getting to know them is so that you can strengthen your network. When you do this, you increase the number of people you can turn to when you need help, be it with your job search, going for your next promotion, or support for a project you’re working on.

But just meeting a person once and not talking to them again is not enough. That’s just a transactional exchange and it doesn’t add them to your network.

To add someone to your network, you need to connect and communicate with them multiple times. This means following up, scheduling another time to talk, meeting up with them again at another event, and so on.

Your main driver might be to get to know the other person better because you anticipate asking them to help you in the future. However, the focus should be on helping them.

Building lasting relationships within your network is all about the other person, not about you.

It’s when you help other people that you build the true bedrock of your relationship.

Maya Angelou said, “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

When you build a relationship with the people in your network so that you can help them, you make them feel supported and safe. They, in turn, will be there for you when you need them.

Perhaps this goes without saying but I want to be clear that this doesn’t apply to every interaction. Not everyone you meet will be a good fit, and that one-time interaction may be enough.

But for many of the people you meet along the way, it will serve you to move beyond the initial meet up and build a relationship with them.

How do to move an encounter from a simple transactional experience to a network-building relationship?

I mentioned at the beginning that it’s a common trend to not follow up after meeting someone for the first time. It’s too bad this is the case, because following up is a great place to begin!

After meeting someone for the first time, if you feel like they are someone who would be a great addition to your network or think you may be helpful to them in some way, follow up your initial meeting with an email or, better, a hand-written card.

It need only include a statement or two, saying that it was nice to meet them and proposing a next time to connect. If you met at a networking event, you could suggest that you make a point to cross paths at the next event. Or if you’d like to have a more focused opportunity to talk with them, consider meeting over coffee.

If you’re going to put out the effort to meet people and build your network, don’t waste your time by only meeting people once and leaving the rest to chance. Put in a little more effort; follow up with them and schedule your next meetup. This will help you build a strong network full of people that you know and can rely on, because they know they can rely on you.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Giving thanks? Don’t forget your network!

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Giving thanks? Don’t forget your network!

November 21, 2022

Pictured: cofee pen and card with the message, "I am so grateful for you."One of the keys to building a strong and broad professional network that people often miss is expressing gratitude.

As I write this, we’re approaching Thanksgiving. While most of us start to think about what we have to be thankful for in our lives and in our work, I think it’s easy to forget that we also need be thankful for our network.

The people in our network are important! They can help us find a new job, advance our career, and solve a problem we’re working on. We, in turn, can help them with similar challenges, and doing so makes us feel good about ourselves.

It’s important to notice and recognize the impact that our network has on us and that we have on them. And also…

Gratitude can help us strengthen our network connections!

When we recognize the people in our lives and what they’ve done for us, and when we take the time to let them know that we are thankful for them, they feel appreciated. It’s one of many steps you can take to strengthen your relationship with them.

There are some easy ways to express your gratitude, not just during Thanksgiving but all throughout the year.

Here are some ideas that will work well in a note or an email, or in person:

  • “I have been thinking about you and the value you brought to my last job search. Thank you!”
  • “I’m really excited that you taught me ________. Here’s how it helped me: ________. Thank you!”
  • “I really appreciate that we aren’t just colleagues. I consider you a friend and I really value the friendship we’ve built.”

Here are some other things you can do to connect with the people in your network:

  • Send them an article that you think they’d find be helpful. It will tell them that you are thinking about them and that you know what’s important to them.
  • Keep track of their birthday, anniversary, and any other special events. Save them in your calendar so you remember. Then and take the time to acknowledge them with a card, an email, a phone call, or a post via social media.
  • Call or email and say, “I was just thinking about you and wanted to say a quick hello.” Or “I saw ________ and you came to mind. I thought I’d reach out and see how you are doing.”

As you roll into the holidays, don’t forget to be thankful for the people who support you. When you take a moment to express that gratitude, you strengthen your relationship with them. It also reminds you of an important reality: None of us succeed alone. We need each other!

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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How to Measure Your Job Search Progress

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How to Measure Your Job Search Progress

October 31, 2022

Pictured: notebook with the words: how to masure your progressDo you sometimes feel like you aren’t making any progress in your job search?

It’s a long and sometimes frustrating process, and it can often feel like you’re spinning your wheels. So, that’s a great question to ask:

How do you measure how much progress you are making in your job search?

It can be difficult to tell!

Most job seekers measure how their job search is progressing by how many online jobs they have applied for, how many interviews they’ve had, or whether they’re waiting to hear back from a recruiter or hiring manager.

But then recruiters don’t call back when they said they would, interviewers talked about moving to the next round but you haven’t heard anything more about it, and you feel ghosted. When you haven’t heard back from the companies where you thought for sure you were qualified, the frustration is real!

One minute, you think you’re making progress; and the next minute, you aren’t. It feels like one step forward, two steps back. You’re feeling on top of the world, only to be let down and wonder if you’ll ever find a job.

Why is this?

It’s because of what you’re using to measure your success.

How many interviews you’ve done and which whether you’ve gotten to the second or third round of interviews are what I call a “vanity metric.” It can feel like you’re making progress, but it can be a false hope and you can go from hero to zero in a second. This is not what you need to be paying attention to!

Instead, I recommend these criteria for measuring your progress:

  • How many people (ideally hiring managers) in your targeted companies know what you want to do in your next role?
  • How visible are you on LinkedIn, especially to your connections, people you want to get to know, and people within your targeted companies?
  • How many face-to-face meetings do you have on your calendar each week?
  • How many people have you met with since you’ve started your job search?
  • How many new names have you added to your list of contacts from your one-on-one meetings?

As you may have noticed, these measurements are all about talking to people. Are you wondering how you’re going to find a job when that’s all you’re paying attention to?

That, my friend, is the whole point!

The best way to find and land the right job (not just any job) is to find out about new openings before they are posted online. Help people in the companies you want to work for get to know you (and by “people” I mean the hiring managers and the people they trust). Then, when there are new openings, you are the first person they’ll think about.

There’s one more benefit that you get when you focus on how many people you know and how visible you are: You eliminate the highs and lows that come with doing all of those interviews for jobs you aren’t even sure you want.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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3 Steps to Finding Your Best Next Job

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3 Steps to Finding Your Best Next Job

October 17, 2022

pictured: man and woman networkingIn a recent blog post, I talked about choosing the best path to your next job. In that article, I highlighted the most powerful way to find a job that you love… one that fits you and steers you in the direction you want to go.

In this article, I want to dig into that process a little bit, because I know that it can be daunting.

I’m going to give you three steps for getting onto this new path so you can get moving forward more quickly and easily.

But first: What is this job-hunting process that am I talking about?

The best way to find your best job – one that you’ll be happy in and will also help you move in the direction you want to go in your career – is to network first, apply second.

This isn’t just your typical networking, where you walk into a room of unknowns and see if you can find something interesting. Rather, it’s an intentional networking process during which you connect with prospective employers that you have already researched. Ideally, you have already spoken to them by email or phone prior to the networking opportunity!

What makes this your best choice? There are a few reasons!

For one, you’re starting with what you are interested in doing and then finding the job that fits what you want. That’s why this process increases the likelihood that you’ll be happy in your job.

For another, you’ll start with companies that you’re interested in working for and focus only on them, which increases the likelihood that you’ll like where you work.

And lastly, you’ll make connections with prospective employers before you apply for a job, which means you are a known quantity to them and vice versa. Everyone interacts better with people they know; that includes hiring managers!

How can you get onto this more lucrative job-hunting path more easily, especially since it’s probably new to you?

Here are three steps to get you started:

  1. Download my guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and answer the two questions it presents. You’ll end up with a list of key contacts!
  2. Send a message to each of those contacts to begin connecting. This could be via email or through LinkedIn.
  3. Meet with each of those contacts in person or via Zoom and have a networking conversation. In addition to telling them what you are looking for, make sure you learn what they are up to and how you might be able to help them.

If this still feels too big, or you aren’t sure what to say, maybe we should talk. I can help you get clear about what you’re looking for, coach you around what you want to say during your conversations, and help you build your confidence, so you present your best self to your prospective future employers. If that sounds like something you need, let’s connect! Just fill out the form on this page to get started.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Choosing the Best Path to Your Next Job

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Choosing the Best Path to Your Next Job

September 26, 2022

pictured: business people standing in line along a wallWhat does making progress in your job search really mean? Here are three options for you to choose from:

  1. You have attended a lot of interviews
  2. You’ve made it to the second and third round of many interviews
  3. Each week, more people know what you are looking for and you have visibility within your targeted company even though there isn’t a job opening.

Most job seekers would choose 1 or 2 from that list. They believe the interviews are the key sign of progress. They are feeling optimistic about moving through the interview process because the interview went over 15 minutes, the interviewer liked their responses, or they told you someone would be calling you to move to the next round.

That makes sense! When you can see something, you can visualize you doing that job and you are hopeful about getting an offer.

Unfortunately, looking for a job is much more complicated than applying online and walking through the interview process. If you want just any job, you’re probably right. But if you want to like your job, and if you look at your next job as just one step in your long, successful career, then it isn’t that simple.

There are three pathways job seekers can use to find the right job. Which pathway are you using?

Pathway #1

Most job seekers are applying for jobs online. They’re seeking roles they believe they are qualified to do. Either they have the skills outlined in the job description, or they have some of them and are confident that, with some training by the company, they can get up to speed quickly. They supply a cover letter and a resume. Then they wait…. and wait… and wait. Sometimes they hear back, but they often don’t.

Pathway #2:

Some job seekers look for jobs within companies where they know someone. They start by finding jobs online, but then their second step is to identify someone they know (or someone that someone they know knows) and asking or a referral. Ideally, the referrer knows the hiring manager and passes on their resume, which increases the chance of hearing back and getting a screening interview.

Pathway #3:

Few people take this third path. It involves developing relationships within your targeted list of companies and roles. You get to know people who can give you information about your industry, and the skills and qualifications needed for the role you are seeking. Hiring managers get to know you beyond your resume, and it increases the chance that you’ll learn about an open role before it’s put out into the public. Because you are now a known entity and have built a nice rapport with the hiring manager, you have an increased chance of getting an interview and getting the job.

Think about it: If you had an opening in your department, would you rather hire someone you’ve already met or someone you need to get to know.

Looking back at these three pathways:

In pathway #1, you aren’t doing enough. You’re starting way back at the end of the line, where thousands of other people are in line with you. You’re largely invisible, and you’re leading on luck to get that job.

Pathway #2 has a better chance of working than #1. Now you’re in the middle of the line. There are still a lot of people there, though not as many as in pathway #1. It is a big help that you’re coming in through a referral in the company. In essence, you are leaning on your referrer’s credibility. It makes you a bit more of a known quantity.

I have to say though – the biggest problem with both #1 and #2 is that you’re basing your search on what is already available. You’re taking what you’re interested in doing and fitting it into the cookie-cutter jobs that are being publicized.

That’s where pathway #3 really differs. When you are taking this route, you are starting with your interests and finding the job that fits you. When you get to know the hiring manager ahead of the job opening, you’re leaning on your own credibility.

Looking for a job is not easy. More than likely, you have used pathway #1 or #2. My question for you is this: Have they led you to a job that you love and a company where you really fit?

If your answer is no, then maybe it’s time to try a new approach. You can get started right now by downloading my free guide: The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Quiet Quitting: What to Do Instead

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Quiet Quitting: What to Do Instead

September 12, 2022

Pictured: woman at work desk with head in handsHave you heard of the phrase “Quiet Quitting”? It is the latest hot topic in the world of work right now.

Before I get into it, let’s clarify: What does “Quiet Quitting” mean?

It does NOT mean quitting your job quietly, so no one knows that you’re gone!

Quiet Quitting is a behavior that is tied to a belief system.

From a behavior standpoint, it means you stop going above and beyond in your job. You do only what is required and nothing else.

From a belief system standpoint, it means that you’ve decided that your worth is not defined by how productive you are. You have decided that work is not going to be your whole life. It is going to be PART of your life.

If you are considering Quiet Quitting, I suggest you first pause and reflect on your work experiences before you start making any changes. The impact could be significant, so it is important that you first determine what is most important to you at this time in your life and career.

To help you in your consideration, I want to dig into three key aspects of Quiet Quitting that I mentioned above.

#1: What do we mean by going “above and beyond?”

Going above and beyond has a different meaning, depending on the circumstance.

Sometimes, it means going beyond the job description with the potential of being promoted. For example, let’s say you are offered the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities without a pay increase. This gives your manager time to determine if you can do the job well… in other words, you are given the opportunity to prove yourself.

Other times, going “above and beyond” is a requirement of the job. It shows up in the job description as: “extra duties as defined by the supervisor.” This gives your manager the ability to delegate responsibilities that you wouldn’t get if you just work within the parameters of the clearly defined job description. These are growth opportunities!

So, what happens if you are working “above and beyond” to an extreme level and giving more to the company than you are to your personal life? This can cause problems! You become stressed, resentment sets in, your emotional well-being is affected… and then the “quiet quitting” may suddenly make sense to you.

If how you perceive “above and beyond” is different from how your boss sees it, there is a conflict in expectations which needs to be addressed.

What should you do?

Take the time to evaluate two things: (1) What you want and (2) What you are doing.

Is the work you are doing that goes “above and beyond” being recognized with growth opportunities or are you being taken advantage of?

Where do you want to go in the future, and is the work you are doing “above and beyond” going to help you get there?

Before you start “Quiet Quitting,” see if there are ways to address the situation that are less passive aggressive. Talk to your manager. If that doesn’t work, talk to HR. Let them know what your situation is and see if they will work with you to come up with a more productive answer that serves you and them simultaneously.

#2: Your worth is not determined by how productive you are.

Being productive is just one measure of how well you are doing your job.

Measuring how productive you are is less about how much you are accomplishing during defined work hours, and more about the contributions and value you have brought to the organization.

Other ways to measure your worth – or success! – at work include:

  • Positive feedback from your manager
  • Recognition by others
  • Saving the company money
  • Improving processes
  • Doing a great job on a project
  • Leading a team successfully

The challenge here, then, is to get clear about what success looks like in your particular job so that you can get a clearer picture about how well you are doing.

What should you do?

Communicate with your boss about how the company determines your worth as an employee. Beyond being productive, what else do they want to see? When you are on the same page with your boss about their expectations, you’ll be clearer about what growth and advancement looks like, and it will be easier to feel satisfied and valued with that company.

#3: You have decided that work is not going to be your whole life. It is going to be PART of your life

In my experience working in the outplacement field for 20 years, I saw too many employees make work their whole life as they gave up time with their family for the company. I watched them miss their children’s ballgames, recitals, and important family. One day they were fully employed and the next day they were sitting in my office after a layoff and wondering what just. They just gave up so much for a company that didn’t think twice about letting them go.

I completely support not making work your life for that very reason. A company might one day lay you off and you have lost much more than your job. You’ve lost an investment in time and effort that was focused on your growth in a company that no longer wants you. Now what?

What should you do?

Starting right now, find a healthy balance between your work and your life. Set new boundaries for yourself and communicate them to your boss. Take time for lunch and use your vacation time! The company is not paying you to work through lunch or forfeit your vacation. Make sure you are rounding out your life with activities outside of work so that if you lose your job, you don’t lose your identity.

In the end, what I’m saying is this:

  1. Quiet quitting isn’t necessary. You have other options that are more productive and less passive aggressive.
  2. Evaluate what is important to you for your career. Where are you going and what do you  want to learn?
  3. Schedule a meeting with your manager to have an open honest discussion of what is expected of you.
  4. Create a life outside of work. Yes, there’s more to you than that! And it’s up to you to serve that side of your life.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Your Manager Matters: How to Find a Great Boss

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Your Manager Matters: How to Find a Great Boss

September 5, 2022

pictured: 5 people around a table in a business meetingThere are two sides to the relationship you have with your boss. Your side and their side.

On their side of the relationship is their management style. Every manager has their own distinct way of managing people, which can vary from micromanager to hands-off, servant, collaborative, tyrant, experienced, and inexperienced manager. Across the breadth of your career, you’re likely to encounter many of these types.

At the other end of the boss-employee relationship is you. Everyone is different in how they like to be managed and what leadership style they respond to the best.

How well your boss’s management style matches how you like to be managed will impact your ability to succeed in your career.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to find a manager with a leadership style that enables you to perform at your best. To make that happen, you need to know what those qualities and behaviors are. This will enable you to recognize the best manager for you, so you can advance and be happy in your career.

How to find the right manager for you?

Here are three steps to finding the right manager for you:

  1. Think back to any manager with whom you did NOT like working and create a list of all the things you didn’t like.
  2. Think back to any manager for whom you enjoyed working and create a list of all the things you liked about working with them
  3. In future interviews, ask about the management style of the person you’ll be working with, and keep your lists in mind while you evaluate the answers.

The secret to finding a job that you love is connecting with an organization whose culture aligns with your belief system, and a manager that has a leadership style that aligns with your preference.

If you could use more guidance about finding a job that you love, download my workbook: What is the right corporate culture for you?

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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How to Set Boundaries That Serve You

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How to Set Boundaries That Serve You

August 15, 2022

pictured: business woman with hand up, creating boundary between her and man with his arms crossedDo you struggle with setting boundaries with people you work with, or with those in your personal life? Do you allow others to treat you in ways that make you feel bad about yourself?

Have you ever wondered why it happens, or why you allow it? What stops you from speaking up clearly and confidently when someone crosses your boundaries?

Before we get to that, let’s define what we mean by boundaries.

Boundaries are established guidelines or rules of conduct around behaviors with people we have a relationship with, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

We often think of boundaries as a wall that we set up between ourselves and others, but really our boundaries are about the passageway through the wall. It’s about what we allow, and it enables communication, connection, and stronger relationships based on respect.

Boundaries define how you want to be treated by others, with a focus on respect, kindness, compassion, empathy, and understanding.

Boundaries are also about self-worth. When you set a boundary, you are expressing your internal belief of feeling worthy of love and belonging. This is about the value you place on yourself. It is about making decisions that are right for you and not about pleasing others.

The best time to set boundaries is right now. Use the process below to begin identifying them before you’re in the situation where you need them, so that you already know what they are.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and answer these questions:

  • Think of one or two recent situations where you were treated poorly. Write out some of the details… What happened? How did it make you feel? For how long after did you ruminate about what happened? What other impact did it have on you?
  • Write down why you didn’t speak up either during the situation or after? What do you think they would have said or thought if you spoke up?
  • Next, write down how you would like to have reacted. What do you wish you said or done? How do you want to feel about it?
  • Drawing from what you’ve written, create a list of three ways you want to be treated in the future. Be as specific as possible.

Identifying how you want to be treated is the first step in creating boundaries with others. In addition to delineating how others will treat you, it helps you get clear on how you want to treat the people in your life as well!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Women in the Hybrid Workforce: What will make you happy?

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Women in the Hybrid Workforce: What will make you happy?

August 1, 2022

Working in a hybrid environment has many challenges, especially for women.

pictured: woman in blue top working at computer

According to the Deloitte’s Women@Work 2022 Global Survey, looking at women in the hybrid workforce:

  • 58% of women feel excluded from meetings
  • 45% don’t have enough exposure to leaders
  • 36% have clear expectations around where and how they want to work
  • 38% have work/life balance

When we look at these statistics, it’s clear that changes need to happen for women who work remotely or in hybrid if they are to advance in their careers.

Here are three options that you may consider:

Option #1:

Do nothing and hope things will change. This is probably not the wisest move. Hope is not a strategy! Apathy won’t get you what you need to be happy, so it’s not the best way to approach and resolve a challenge that relates to your career.

Option #2:

Start looking for a new job, hoping thing will be different in the next company. This is an active response, which is helpful. However, it’s easy to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. It’s up to you to take intentional action, like asking good questions in the interview process, or else you run the risk of landing in a new company culture that is the same as what you left, or even worse.

Option #3:

Stay and work to communicate effectively with your manager. These may be difficult conversations, but they can also be very powerful. Share how you are feeling and provide specific examples of what you’ve experienced so your manager understands why you feel that way.

In my opinion, Option #3 is the best place to begin. Unless you’ve already tried to talk to your manager, now is the time to have that difficult conversation. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they want to help you be happy so that you will continue working with them. Without knowing what you want, how can they give it to you?

Which option will you choose? Tell me in the comments!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Case Study: How to Get Support from an Absent Manager

Case Study: How to Get Support from an Absent Manager

July 18, 2022

Periodically, I invite a small group of early to mid-career professional women for breakfast and what I call, “Career Conversations.” I want to hear about the challenges they are experiencing in the workplace so that I can understand how to better serve them and others like them through my coaching and training.

The women who join me for this event are always very gracious as they share stories about their struggles and concerns; In turn, I offer guidance and help them come up with some new ideas for how to handle their situations.

As a new feature to my blog, I’d like to share some of their stories with you here as case studies. I’ll also share with you the advice I gave to help them in each situation. My hope is that you will find these conversations useful as well. I do have their permission, though I will use fictious names to respect their confidentiality.

Here is one of their stories:

Elizabeth has a manager who is consistently canceling meetings. She is frustrated because the manager is not providing enough direction for her to reach her sales goals.

The manager knew it was a new industry for Elizabeth when he hired her, so her asking for guidance was expected. However, the business has been growing, and he had less time to spend with her. When she reached out to him, his response was: “I am too busy because we are growing, so I don’t have time to meet with you.”

My advice:

I recommended that she send an email expressing why she needs his time.

During our discussion, we spent some of our time wordsmithing the email so that she had clear steps to move forward. Here is what we decided:

She should open the email by acknowledging the good news that the company is growing and that she can understand why his calendar is getting busier.

She should then state the reason she needs his help. For example, she might say: Since I am your only salesperson, I need you to help me understand best how to get the attention of new clients.

I also recommended that she include the following in her email:

  • What she has done to get herself acclimated to the new industry
  • What she has been doing to increase her knowledge of the industry
  • How she is broadening her network
  • How she is using LinkedIn to increase the company’s visibility.

These details will show her manager that she is not solely relying upon him to help her.

I also suggested she mention to her manager in a diplomatic way that since he has canceled the last three meetings, that they meet at a different time even if it means coming in early or staying late.

She should end the email expressing excited she is to see the company growing and that she wants to continue to be part of its success.

And finally, I suggested that in the future she should not wait too long to address concerns with her manager. This will enable the challenges to be rectified sooner and prevent them from growing out of hand.

Would you like to experience this level of support? Registration for my next workshop, Accelerate Your Career With Confidence is open now. Join me for a 3-month workshop that will help you improve your decision-making, feel more secure and confident at work, and work through the career challenges you face so you can build the career and life that you love.

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