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Career Connector

That Confidence Thing

I was having a talk with a friend the other day–she’s a professor who regularly writes and speaks at industry conferences. This is an important part of her work since it impacts her credibility as well as her ability to get tenure at her university.

She was lamenting that, although she knows and respects several leaders in her field who are in charge of conference planning, she doesn’t get as many invitations as she’d like. And she feels bad about it.

So I asked her what she’s been doing to encourage those invitations. And she told me, well, not a lot.

They know her, she says, and once in awhile she emails with a few ideas for conference topics. And she hears nothing back. So she feels insecure. Maybe they don’t like her, maybe they don’t think she’s a good speaker…you know the drill.

The truth is, it’s always easy to feel out of the loop, to feel slighted and wonder why the calls aren’t coming in. This certainly goes for job searching, when you are very much out of the loop. Only you can create the momentum so that people are motivated to call you back. That goes for anything that requires you to initiate interest. It’s up to you to make your priorities the priorities of others. And it almost always takes more than one try–in fact, it takes sustained effort. Just like looking for a job.

It’s a numbers game: the more people you contact, and the more frequently, the more responses you’ll receive. In this particular case, I suggested to my friend that she create a regular newsletter, or a topic list, that she send out to conference producers on a bi-monthly basis. The more they hear from her, the more frequently she’ll be considered when their priority shifts to speakers for that next conference.

It’s the same with a job search. Figure out the organization (s) you want to work for, find the right contact, ask among your network who can help you get to that person and make the contact. Don’t worry about whether they’ve posted a job. If they like you, they may create a job for you. Or, if you get in there and impress them, a job may come up down the line that you’re perfect for–and they’ll think of you.

All of this is a long-term investment in your brand, and showcasing it to your market. So don’t get bogged down by feeling rejected. Everyone is busy, everyone has their own priorities. Especially now. Just keep plugging away and at some point your efforts will bear fruit.

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