Is it a cliché or is it a truism? Whatever. The fact is: the more you put into it the more you get out of it.
There are so many possible triggers to your career advancement and so much advice, but there is no template to tell you which is going to be the one that makes the difference. First you certainly know you have to bring your resume up to date with a clear forward expression of your value. But then there is someone telling you to read the trades, someone else says Facebook is important, someone else says LinkedIn is the one that counts. Go to industry events, they say. Or network with your co-workers and with people from other firms, and on and on and on.
It’s all so overwhelming you don’t really get going at any of it properly do you? And the channels of communication – well I mean really! Some of us remember when we used to send mailers. In the post. Am I glad to have those printing costs behind me!
So nowadays it’s easier right? Well wrong. Because at the key moment that person you want to reach might be checking Facebook, or he could be Tweeting, or she might be scrolling haphazardly through her emails while stuck in traffic on the Ten on her interminable way to Santa Monica. Or texting, or G+ing or i-chatting or goodness knows what else. Can you be surprised she didn’t respond to your message? She never realized it was there.
The odds of a particular piece of communication being read – especially if it is not something they are waiting for – get longer every day. This proliferation has made the personal introduction even more important than ever before. Not only will you benefit from the validation of a mutual professional acquaintance, but you increase the odds of being noticed by hanging your story onto someone else’s name – someone who will not be so easily ignored or “not seen” by the person you are targeting.
Don’t allow yourself the time to get discouraged. You have to be out there – in as many ways as you can manage. Work the personal connections. Work the channels. Be out there at events. Do your follow up “calls” on a different channel from the one that hasn’t worked yet. Be doing interesting stuff and be talking (texting, writing, blogging, whatever) about it. The subject matter you are on about may be just the thing that gets the kind of attention you are seeking.
So there you have it, and I know I did not make it any easier. But the truth is, the more you put into it, the more you will get back.