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Career Networking Webinar

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Career Networking WebinarThere is nothing more important to successful career management than effective networking. You have a great pitch and know how to run a networking meeting - now how do you find people with whom to network? How do you identify and bring people into your network that will be the most valuable to you in your career? This webinar covers the following pillars of success in building the network you need: How to be memorable, networking -building your network with those with vested interest in your success, moving networking on-line, and building off your networking meetings.

This Career Networking Webinar video is from the Proformative webinar "Expanding Your Network" held on June 15, 2012.  The webinar features a presentation from Mark Richards, Finance Executive and Creator, CandidatesChair.


Career Networking Webinar


John: We've got a lot that we want to cover today, but long story short we want to help you effectively recruit the folks you want to be in your network, and then leverage those people to your best advantage. You'll be hearing all about that today from the gentleman I'm going to introduce right now, Mark Richards, who is a longtime finance executive, and also the creator of CandidatesChair.

Mark is currently helping Success Factors integrate a company they recently purchased in Minnesota, where Mark was the Consulting CFO. Mark started off in public account 25 years ago and has been in corporate finance roles for the past 20 years. His roles have included being CFO of six start-up companies, and SVP for Royal Bank of Canada in their U.S. Wealth Management Division, and a Director of International Finance for Companies.

Mark developed after a job transition, and has been chair of a local finance executive networking group in Minnesota for five years. His site, CandidatesChair, has drawn visitors from over 90 countries and over 25,000 copies of his job search tool has been downloaded from that site. Mark also has two of the most read blog posts on Proformative in the last year. With that, Mark, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us today, and please take it away.

Mark: Thank you, John. Thanks for Proformative for hosting. Welcome, everybody. As John said, this is our Job Search Series, and it's the third one that we've done so far. So far, I think we've had some nice feedback from everybody.

The one thing I would like to emphasize at the beginning is that I will never say that I'm an expert in the field, but an expert of being in the field. Everything that you're going to see here today and that I'll share is just from my experiences that I've had when I went through my own (inaudible 00:01:57), my ongoing networking.

Also more importantly I think is all of the feedback and insight that I've gotten from my fellow finance executives in particular that I've gotten overtime. I've probably met with, oh gosh, a couple hundred finance executives. When I put together this series, it's really the greatest hits of everything that I've learned overtime.

Like I said, this is the third webinar of the series, and I would say that this one actually applies to everyone, regardless whether they're in transition or not. The first two series covered just job search basics, and those basics were the key things that you need to know before you start your search to get really effective.

Then, the second webinar was getting yourself just really for networking, what to do before, during, and after. Today is, you're at the point where you understand how to go out and network, and now how do you expand it.

What we'll go through is talking about how big you want your network to be, and how being memorable comes from knowing where value is created in networking and why being memorable is important when it comes to expanding your network. The message that you can expand your network, first how you can gain exposure versus connections, and how you can turn that exposure into connections.

Then, because we're at Proformative today and I think for finance executives - I mean, personally, for me it's just been a very unique site, and that how I fit that into my networking equation and how I think it could help you as well. Then, lastly, how to just keep your network growing once you get it built up.

The first question in networking for me is you have to decide how big do you want your network? Really, time is your governing factor here, when it comes to your network, because I look at there are three groups of people that you really are working with. First are people that I call have a vested interest in you, and I'll go into that in more detail. Those are the people that know you very well, and so quite frankly, you don't have to spend a lot of time with them.

Then, former colleagues, again, you know them, they know you, so you don't have to spend a lot of time networking. Then, once you move past that and the further you move into your network, it just takes more and more time, and the time really is finding those people, getting connected to them, and then preparation for the networking with them.

Also, as you go further and start to grow your network, I believe in my mind that it's probably an equal amount of time to build your network as it is to maintain. Then, quite frankly, the bigger it gets, the more you spend more time on maintaining than you do building. Just because you've got to take the long view of networking in that it's not just to build a network to accomplish a single goal, but to build a network that you can go back to time and time again.

Editor's Note: Please take a look at some of the other webinars in Proformative's library: Corporate Financial Planning Strategy Webinar, SaaS Consolidation & Reporting Webinar, Managing Debit & Credit Card Merchant Fees Webinar, Evaluating Accounting Software Webinar and Chief Financial Officers & Cloud Computing Webinar.

To me, the real key for yourself is trying to figure out how big of a network can you maintain? I think of it, the best network is one that's effective. When I mean "effective", it's you can reach out to somebody and they'll be willing to assist you and vice versa because you know them well enough to offer connections to one another. Each person that decides on the network you'll build is different, but I think the key factor is making sure that the network that you build is effective for you.

To start being effective, to me, I always think about being memorable. I think to me, it's the real hidden key of building an effective network. If I ask myself, "Why would you want to be memorable?" It's because you really are competing with multiple priorities for your networking contact. Besides work and family, etc., people generally have just a few hours each night a week to do activities, whether that is with their family or networking. That's when most of the follow-up takes place.

It's important to remember that most of the activity in your networking doesn't happen at the time when you meet with someone, but it happens over time. The real key about being memorable is understanding kind of where the value comes in the networking meeting, which we'll cover next.

It's the ability to start a long-term relationship in that first meeting because it's really that first meeting that gets you out of the gate and you build from. If you have gone back or even if you have someone in your network that maybe you need to reconnect with, it's kind of the same effect. If there are people out there that you have met on time, taking the approach of how do you go back to them to rekindle that network would be a way to go at it as well.

Let's talk about the value, where it comes from. This is a repeat slide from my last presentation but I think it's pretty important. This is what I call my "non-scientific  representation" from literally hundreds of networking meetings. I think at first glance, where the value created, it comes up in many ways a little bit opposite of what I think people would expect in that the middle column of during the meeting is much lower than you think.

Networking, I guess, is like any sport, and it's the practice before and the analysis after that make you effective during the game. In the Before column, the real value for you - and we'll get, again, into this a little bit more in the next upcoming slides - is selecting the right people to network with is probably the most important step you can do to get your network going.

Then, the research that you do, both in terms of what you're looking for for yourself, but in them, the commitment in that is another item that I like to emphasize. What are you seeking from that individual that you're networking with? Are you seeking for them to help you develop your business, to help you find a job, to just help your own personal growth? Understanding what the commitment is that you want from that person really will drive how effective you are as to getting into networking with them.

During the meeting - I said the last one is your main prep, obviously getting ready for each meeting, and treating each meeting differently and not assuming one is like the prior. Because when you get to the meeting, at that point, quite frankly, not a lot will happen other than it gives you that chance to kind of impress somebody.

This is where you will come in and be able to offer connections with someone which shows that you're there for mutual networking, and that you are able to deliver a simple message to them about kind of what you're seeking in a networking relationship. Then, also, this is where you really take all the notes and do all the work afterwards.

It's after that meeting where it's your actions that you're following up, following up on the commitments they've made, and then the ongoing connections with them, that's where the real value happens in my opinion. Let's just say you're looking for work. The chances of someone knowing about a potential role for you at the moment you meet with them is generally pretty small. If you maintain that relationship over time, that's when you'll get feedback.

I can just give you a perfect example of this. There is someone that I've known for several years that I met through networking. On Monday of this week, he sent me an email and said, "Hey, I was talking to somebody and they're looking for a new CFO. Are you interested?" This is just an individual that I've met, again, like five years ago. We've just kept in contact over time and shared networking contacts..."

End partial: Career Networking Webinar

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