Your Network Is Gold

6 months ago a series of events took place in my life that landed me on the job search superhighway. I suddenly found myself in that unnerving place of the unkown mixed with a lot of self-confidence, self-doubt and anxiety at the same time. The search ended about a month ago with a position that seems as though it was literally written just for me. The many weeks of the highs of being invited for the interview and the lows of not receiving the offer finally came to an end, and the peace that I have is inexplicable. One of the most important parts of this journey was my network. They are golden and yours can be too if you allow them to be. Don’t be afraid to ask for their help and support. Here are some tips to allow your network to help you through the job search journey.

  1. Inform Your Network That You Are In The Job Market One of the very first things I did was let my network know that I was looking for a new opportunity. This plants a seed in the minds of those who can be on the lookout for you should anything come across their path. Suddenly, I had colleagues sending job opportunities to my inbox and making suggestions that I would have otherwise not come across. Additionally, they introduced me to their colleagues who introduced me to their colleagues. I met so many incredible people on this journey that I would have never met and am so appreciative of it.
  2. Schedule Informational Interviews Linkedin has created a culture of helping each other. Since I believed I was going to be changing careers, I looked up people on Linkedin with the job title that I was hoping to have and reached out. To my surprise, they answered. Complete strangers created time in their schedule to talk to me about what their jobs entailed and give me tips about how to break into the career. I am forever grateful for that and will definitley pay it forward the day someone reaches out to me.
  3. Listen to Sound Advice My network constantly reminded me of who I am. When I shared my reasons for making the move they cheered me on, encouraged me and most importatly, they validated me. Now, when I say they validated me, they weren’t necessarily telling me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. Due to the career change I wanted to make, some of them prepared me for the mindset of those in the field that I wanted to go into…and reminded me that if anyone says that I am not qualified, not to believe them because I have the experience needed. In addition, since I wanted to move up a level, I sought advice from people who were already Directors or VPs in various industries.They confirmed, that based upon my track record, I AM ready to go to the next level and sometimes in order to move up you have to leave your current situation. They also gave me different perspectives of what to expect at the next level that were invaluable and allowed me to prepare my mindset for a new way of thinking which I was able to use in my interviews.
  4. They Kept Me Encouraged Oddly enough, similarily to professional cheerleading auditions, the interview process can be soul crushing. The same despai, confusion and disappointment that I felt when I nailed a routine at an audition but didn’t get picked for the team, resurfaced when felt like I nailed the interveiw, only to be either ghosted or told they decided to go with another candidate. My network never failed to encourage me and give me perspective that it wasn’t the right job for ME, which quite frankly no one wants to hear when they desperately need / want a different job. However, it was exactly what I needed to hear during the emotional roller coaster I was experiencing. It is through experiences like these that encouraged my 101 Affirmations Journal series to stay encouraged on those really tough days.
  5. They Celebrated With Me When I finally landed the job that I feel was literally created for me, I told them about it first and they celebrated with me. They were so happy for me that they celebrated in such a way that it was almost as though it had happened to them! It was a win for the profession, it was a win for a colleague, it was a win for a friend, it was a win for a sister, it was a win for a mother, it was a win for a daughter, it was a win for a wife. It was truly heartwarming just how happy they all were for me. I had never experienced anything like this before and it was truly UBUNTU realized.

Gold is a precious metal because it is rare and it can change without fracturing it’s makeup. This is exactly what a good network is and looks like. Quality over quantity prevails. Surround yourself with people in your life who can support you through changes in life. Do not take your network for granted, but celebrate them, and better yet, make sure you are golden to THEM when the time comes too.

Nicole is a Panamanian-American, workforce development specialist, published author of Game On! Relentlessly Pursue Your Dreams and the 101 Note-taking Affirmation Journal Series, motivational speaker, blogger podcast host of From The Suggestion Box; Navigating Feedback The Good The Bad and the Say Whaaatttt??? and dancer. She earned her Bachelor’s degree via a Division I full-ride track scholarship and after graduating, she founded Step It Up! Inc., a non-profit dance organization. Her experience in sports and entertainment, radio, TV and the performing arts has spanned nearly 20 years covering the Chicago, Houston and Miami markets. She has danced and cheered for four Professional and Semi-Professional sports teams, has prepared more than 800 interns to enter the workforce and has inspired crowds upwards of 2000. She was a contributing writer for The Life of a Single Mom for two years and in October 2020 she was awarded an Emerging Leader Award from Alive Impact Awards for Volunteer Engagement Professionals. In 2019 she was listed as one of WLRN’s “Local Women Who Inspire You” and was selected as one of Legacy Miami’s Most Prominent and Influential Black Women In Business and Industry of 2019.

Connect at www.nicolersmith.net and @nicolersmithnet on Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

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Nicole is a Panamanian-American, single mom, workforce development specialist, published author, dancer, and motivational speaker. Her experience spans 20 yrs.

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Nicole R. Smith

Nicole R. Smith

Nicole is a Panamanian-American, single mom, workforce development specialist, published author, dancer, and motivational speaker. Her experience spans 20 yrs.

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