Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Networking is like the composition of a beautiful melody. You can feel the underpinning of the beat and rhythm being played to perfection. If one note is out of place or one instrument playing when it should be silent, a tension is created with an awareness that something or someone is misplaced. It is an incongruency called dissonance.

Networking dissonance or a lack of right timing causes a serious misperception. When timing is off this is what happens:

1. An eager jobseeker really wants to work as an administrative assistant. She calls back to check on the status of the job daily. Eagerness is perceived as annoying.

2. A successful professional recently laid off starts to attend monthly meetings of a young professional association even though he completely dismissed it while employed. No one takes the time to introduce himself or herself to the professional and he leaves disgruntled and isolated with feelings of resentment of time wasted and a growing dread of trying to find work.

3. A worker recently down-sized starts to connect with every imaginable friend, associate or colleague he has ever known. He gets the word out that he has been let go from his company but is terribly disappointed that no one responds to him except his retired neighbor who wished him luck.

All of these examples rest on the vitality of effective networking not being utilized due to poor timing.

Let's go back and look at these three examples if networking timing happened to be in perfect correlation with the contextual scenarios.

1. The eager job seeker follows up concurrent to the same degree follow up is neccesary in the position she is seeking. A car salesman position would demand a daily follow up to show persistence. What about a professional position? Once every 5 to 7 business days at most. Perception: Engaged, persistent but not a pestering presence. Timing is critical.

2. Timing in this scenario is simple. Be active and intentional in networking long before you need it to work for you. The time given is the response you will likely receive.

3. People are busy, schedules are full and an emergency on your part is not likely to receive triage from everyone else. Unless, you have been in an emergency mode for them. We reap what we sow. How did you respond when your neighbor lost his job five years ago? Did you return his calls? Did you introduce him to potential job leads?

Timing is everything when desiring to network because every moment counts. If you're not connected to a community of neighbors, colleagues and friendships, take the first step. Make the initial contact and overcome your fear. Otherwise, your fear will someday overcome you. When you do it right, beautiful music is your reward.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Synchronicity is a BEAUTIFUL thing

Having synchronicity while networking is akin to pushing the pedal to the metal at a green light and slamming the break when it turns red. There are rules of networking that make synchronicity with others possible so no one gets hurt.

Here they are for you to consider:

Be nice and respectful. This may seem to be obvious but it isn't a done deal. People for the most part have forgotten to be respectful and courteous. Without these two essential skills, networking will never evolve into a productive use of your time or anyone else's.

Be genuine and get rid of the fake. This is critically important to simply be yourself and not someone who can't be real. People know the difference and no one wants to connect to a wax figure. You know the one who has life-like features but isn't natural.

Focus more of your energy and attention on others. You can't be in synchronicity with anyone unless you take your eyes of yourself. Stop thinking about what you can take and start thinking about what you have to give.

The irony? People warm up to someone who wants to focus on mutual trust, kindness and rapport. When you show respect, you form the underpinning for solid synchronicity. As I always pound into the brains of my children:

"This world isn't all about you. Until respect is the axis of your actions, you're not going to go anywhere. With it, the world rotates upon your respect and rewards you with what you have given."

With these simple basic reminders, the synchronicity of kindness gives you the green light to proceed to the next important component of networking: timing. It is the sister of synchronicity.