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Schmooze With Power Players

Jun 23, 2008
Climbing the corporate ladder is tough and requires knowing the right people. Have you ever noticed that the guy/gal that gets promoted is well known and liked? In the past, if you wanted to rise to the level of corporate executive (CFO, Controller, Marketing Director, Marketing Vice President, etc.) you were required to:

1. Spend countless hours working after hours to get noticed by the boss, or

2. Spend $200,000 on an Ivy League education, or

3. Purchase a $12,000 annual membership to the local country club, or

4. Marry the boss' daughter/son

Luckily, talented individuals are hard to find. You no longer have to marry the boss' daughter/son, but knowing the right people is still an asset to your career. Networking is essential to going up the corporate ladder. Here are five ways to schmooze your way into the position you deserve:

1. Network within your company. Get to know your boss and your boss' boss. Know their likes and dislikes, their family, their background. Get to know the other department heads and keep players in every department. When it is promotion or lay off time, you do not want to be known as "that guy".

2. Join your professional organization, pay your dues, read the journal, and attend every meeting. Accountants should be members of AICPA; marketers should be members of AMA, etc. You will meet powerful members of other organizations that may become your clients, your referrals, or maybe even your boss.

3. Establish an online network. Social media websites (Facebook, Linkedin, Schmoozii, etc.) provide accounting, marketing and management consulting professionals an effective way to market themselves and build up their network. Networking in this type of media outlet must be done correctly. To be effective:

* Pick the correct site. There are hundreds of networking sites online ranging from special interest, to social, to professional. You want to pick a site that focuses on your profession to increase your chances of reaching professionals who will add value of your network.

* Establish yourself as an expert by providing free information. Most networking sites available today have discussion forums. Engage in discussions that promote your knowledge about the profession. You will not only establish credibility with the person that asked the question, but also with others reading the question.

* Maintain a complete and up to date profile. This is your business card and your resume that will be presented to prospective clients, hiring managers, and peers. If there was ever a time where first impressions matter, this is it.

* Join groups and create groups which allow you to network. Five years ago, networking on social networking sites was a waste of time unless you were 14 years old. Times have changed with the invention of professional networking sites. These sites are filled with decision makers ranging from CEO of SME to Vice Presidents of Fortune 500 companies. Joining online groups is a fantastic way to bump into one of these major players and cheaper than the $12,000 membership to the country club.

* Have fun! Most of these sites have professional level content (articles, blogs) to help you learn about your profession. They are meant to be fun and engaging with maximum participation. Do not be afraid to voice your opinion (in a professional manner of course).

Schmooze with the power players and you will be amazed at the number of opportunities you receive.
About the Author
Theron Nolen is the founder of Schmoozii ( www.schmoozii.com ), a portal for accounting, finance, marketing, sales, and small business professionals, complete with articles, discussions, groups, jobs, and networking by profession. Members from AMA, Chamber of Commerce, & AICPA. Join 4 Free!
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