Harnessing the Power of the Grid—and Your Corporate Memberships
Are you making the most of your corporate memberships? Harnessing the power of this influential gold mine within the hidden job market can catapult you into opportunities you never knew existed.
If you are like many of my clients, you have never had to worry about your career. It has unfolded before you with little effort because you had the expertise, drive and potential that business leaders and customers were looking for. You may have recently encountered a merger, acquisition or buy-out and now for the first time, are faced with the daunting task of looking for a new career opportunity.
Recently I attended an electricity industry conference, Cigre Canada in Winnipeg Canada, where specialists from 23 countries converged to exchange technical knowledge and ideas among Canadian and international delegates in the area of global power systems.
From conductor galloping to counteracting sub-span oscillations there was no shortage of high-brow conversations about the reliability of our power grid.
It’s a critical topic obviously. Access to affordable and reliable energy is a topic that is becoming increasingly important, especially as we shift from fossil-based generation to innovative and clean technologies.
You may wonder why a career strategist is extoling the virtues of the power grid. It hit me as I spoke to many of the experts in conductors, insulators and transformer manufacturing that our professional networks are critically important to our careers.
There is a magic and a science of meeting face to face vs. virtually and this conference was no exception. Collaboration, marketing and rich conversations happen in an environment that is positive and can change your career trajectory literally by the simple act of participating in these industry events.
You may believe that you are too busy to travel to a conference and participate. Think about the power of meeting like-minded professionals in related organizations. Or perhaps new industries. Think about the ROI!
One participant, a civil engineer, confessed to me that he didn’t understand very much the lectures delivered by electrical engineers. I was in good company. Even though the lectures were complex and I am not an engineer, I understood the depth of collective experience at this conference.
It was inspirational. In fact I met individuals at this conference who I will work with professionally but I also met new friends and rekindled relationships from the past.
Benefits of membership also include low-cost membership fees (and sometimes free) for students. If you have children in university, what better way to introduce them to the world of professional networking in a supportive environment than attendance at an industry conference.
This is also an important component of the hidden job market. Being seen outside your organization is important as you continue to grow and develop your career. This is what I refer to as your internal and external brand and what you are “known for” internally and externally.
Sometimes they are quite different.
Usually the “internal” piece is easy to define—what happens when you do what you do best every day? One of the critical oversights I see with my clients is certainly not a lack of value—far from it. What I see is a tremendous lack of marketing of that value inside the organization and outside the organization. This is lost opportunity.
It’s never been easier to demonstrate your value to the external world. Self-publishing opportunities through mechanisms such as You Tube, LinkedIn Facebook and industry association blogs are tremendous opportunities for you to demonstrate your value and your expertise. Similar mechanisms exist internally and really all it takes is intention to make it a reality.
Professional networking is another way to show your stuff professionally, although many overlook this brilliant opportunity to influence others without boldly boasting at industry events.
Not comfortable networking at industry events because you feel that you don’t have anything to say? As brand ambassadors for our current organizations, there should never be a shortage of things to discuss. People enjoy talking shop with others and if you discuss something that is important to you and your employer, it’s practically effortless.
What is the objective during these networking events? Simply exchanging information and demonstrating interest in others is enough of a catalyst to lubricate the conversation. Always strive to provide value to others by providing information and knowledge to others. Acknowledge others: “Chris, it’s great to see your business doing so well.”
If you are currently not engaged with an industry association, consider joining one. It can jumpstart a job search with great power. As Harvey McKay’s titled book says, “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” and this is a great place to begin digging your well.
Here are a few places to start looking for your well.
- International Professional Associations
- Director of Business and Trade Associations (Canada)
- LinkedIn Groups where members are actively discussing industry issues in real time
The Encyclopedia of Associations is a comprehensive source of detailed information on 22,000 American associations of national scope (United States).
They also publish an International Organization listing of 22,300 associations and a regional, state, and local organization listing with 115,000 entries (International).
Although I’m not sure how the next conference will beat the gala dinner entertainment of Dean Gunnarson the “World’s Greatest Escape Artist” and star of OLN Canada’s thrilling new series “Escape or Die!”, I look forward to attending next year’s Cigre Canada conference in Vancouver where I will network with a captive audience for mutual benefit.
It is a fact that 80% of jobs at senior level are uncovered through professional networking (I personally believe it is as high as 95%). Active participation in professional associations are ideal for building trusting relationships that can lead to your next opportunity.
What are you waiting for?