12 Feb 16 Career Advice
I recently wrote a post entitled 'The Power of The Network You Already Have' which was about utilising your already existing network to open new doors, develop better relationships and hopefully achieve better results in your chosen industry.
I’ve been consulting with various people in my industry and thinking a lot about the next steps, and how as an emerging professional in any industry, getting to the level of the ‘movers and shakers’ can seem daunting, if not impossible.
As humans, we tend to be able to visualise an idyllic future, in which we’ve achieved most, if not all of our goals, but we sometimes draw blanks when considering just how we are going to get there. The path to success is littered with failures - people who had a go but didn’t quite make it, whether due to a lack of passion, drive or determination to get where they want to be.
I’d like to propose a new way of looking at it, and that is Trading Your Way to Success. This isn’t, as it may sound, some sort of self-help book for young stockbrokers; rather it is a way of looking at what you’ve already achieved and using that to your advantage in order to get bigger opportunities in your industry.
This works particularly well in the music industry, as scouts, managers and agents will look at where an artist/DJ has performed, what labels they have been signed to and who has already supported them when they are searching for new artists to endorse as ‘The Next Big Thing’. Some artists spend years slowly edging their way up the ladder before hopefully getting noticed and suddenly being able to reach networks of people they had previously only dreamed of. Others get lucky being at the right place at the right time, but for most it’s a long, hard graft before they get picked up.
What can we learn from this?
You should always be thinking about how what you are doing can be represented in the future. Is there anybody in your network that you’re close enough to ask for a recommendation? A recommendation from the right people within an industry can do a great deal of good, and is a great tool to hype up your reputation.
Take a look at my LinkedIn profile. In my most recent recruitment role, I have got 7 recommendations, all from candidates I’ve placed since I started here. I now use these when I’m speaking to candidates to show that I’m good at what I do, and I’ve got those recommendations by making sure I gave a damn good service to those candidates so I felt absolutely comfortable outright asking for them.
You can also use industry-specific events to your advantage - not only great to meet like-minded people but also to get your name out there. I guarantee that a majority of the top people in your industry will attend, if not lead events/meet-ups on a monthly basis. If you’re feeling particularly ballsy, start your own meet-up group. ‘I regularly attend meetups for x in my City’ is great. ‘I run regular meetups for x in my City’ is better. Use www.meetup.com or Reddit to organise groups of like-minded people in your area together, and make it happen!
Remember to make a note of everything you feel that you achieve, however small. Keep coming back to this list and figure out how you can shout about those achievements to your network. Always be looking to improve on your achievements.
Reach out to better-known people at the events you attend, letting them know you’ll be at the next event and that it would be great to meet them to discuss their views on the industry. Use what you have already achieved and push yourself out of your comfort zone to do bigger and better things that you can shout about down the line.
After adjusting your mindset to this mentality, you will be constantly on the lookout for opportunities. Why do you think that opportunistic and positive people seize better opportunities more regularly than the ‘Glass-half-empty’ type? They put themselves out there and make sure that they are always pushing for success.
Start with the little things: make lists of your achievements and always be on the look-out for the next opportunity.
Shout about your successes to your network and utilise your connections to get bigger opportunities.
Keep this up and you’ll be on your way towards being a leader in your industry. Once you get there, always try to help the little guy; remember - that was you once!
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