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I’ve been on furlough for the last 18 months from my marketing job in the travel industry and I’m starting a new job next month in a different sector. My confidence is a little low, but I’ve kept myself up to date and researched the sector. I will be starting the job online so I’m not sure how to make connections, particularly outside of my own department so that I am visible and make a good first impression. Any suggestions would be very welcome.
All your instincts here are useful – doing the right research, making connections and building relationships – join online meetings early and get involved in informal chat so people get to know you. Connect by asking for insights, information and advice. Visibility begins with smart, well-researched questions.
Focus on questions about parts of your role which add most value to colleagues – how you can make their lives easier.
Keep doing your homework. Read key documents and web pages. If you want to know what issues matter most to your organisation, check for media releases and published articles.
Don’t sound helpless. You’re not looking for special favours, just gathering information which makes what you do more efficient.
Begin with people who are naturally inclined to explain how things work, but offer value reasons for conversations. There will be information you can pass on, but also questions you can ask that show you take someone else’s expertise
seriously. Occasionally drop in ideas that showcase skills you bring from the travel sector.
Curiosity is a great door opener. Don’t hesitate to say ‘I’m trying to find out more about….’, but remember that people enjoy feeling flattered rather than just being a resource, so it doesn’t harm to say ‘I’ve been told you’re the go to person for x.’
Yes, visibility is often about first impressions, so plan for any situation where you might be noticed or heard by someone senior. Ask good questions early in meetings, and if you can offer a quick-fix strategy based on your past experience,
make the suggestion clearly.
*John Lees is one of the UK’s best-known career strategists and author of 15 books on work and careers. How to Get a Job You Love (now in its eleventh edition) regularly tops the list of best-selling careers books by a British author and was twice selected as the WH Smith Business Book of the Month. Formerly Chief Executive of the Institute of Employment Consultants, John’s expertise as a careers specialist is also sought by a wide range of commercial organisations, universities and business schools. www.johnleescareers.com