Build Bridges, not Barriers, in the New Work World



By Mary Ann Faremouth,

 

The other day a client called me with a search assignment for a sales representative who had experience selling a structural product used in the construction of buildings and bridges.  I did have a few very good candidates available, and immediately submitted the resumes.  The candidates were all a bit different in their scope of experience but they all could make a significant contribution to the company’s bottom line.   This particular company was a new division of a long-standing company I had worked with for many years, and the hiring authority was new to this particular division. The people to be hired had to be not only good sales representatives, but they also had to be in alignment with the culture and have a strong technology bent.  The client kept stressing the competitiveness of the marketplace since Covid, and how important a candidate with solid  technology aptitude, communication skills, contacts, flexibility, and commitment would be to the success of this new venture.

 

Because of the great paradigm shift resulting from the Covid-19 crisis, it is of paramount importance for candidates to understand that organizations all over the country are restructuring, reassessing, and re-imaging ways of working.  Digitalization is front and center, and my clients insist that the holistic approach will be a major part of more lean operating models currently and in the future.  Clients, not only this one,  especially for sales jobs, keep telling me they are very interested in a candidate’s ability to develop and keep relationships, and possess a keen planning ability and more. They are also telling me that their customers, especially now with competition so strong, buy from people they like and trust. The relationship building part of the process is now more important than it ever has been!

 

It is interesting, with May just around the corner, that the 5th month of the year is a “Bridge Month” between spring and summer.  And when I think about the word “bridge” aren’t we all, as human beings during these uncertain times, in the business of building and maintaining bridges? We are all looking for that “bridge” that will get us over the obstacles that Covid has brought to our lives, and get to the other side on our journey of work to a better place.

 

The definition of a BRIDGE is:

 

“A structure built to span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or  road without closing the way underneath.  It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, usually something that is otherwise difficult or impossible to cross.”

 

I think many of us since Covid are trying hard to overcome the barriers in our current or future work world and be able to bridge the obstacles we have all encountered because of the pandemic.

 

Let’s take a look at some valuable tips I have gleaned  working on the front lines with various clients concerning what they are telling me are key ingredients they are looking for in the candidates of  the New Work World.  By knowing the important areas to stress, candidates will be able to become more prepared architects in building career goals in a way to be able to bridge the differences and be more marketable in the New Work World.

 

Relationships 101

 

Connect, Connect, Connect!  Reach out to previous bosses, professors, friends, mentors, and keep in contact.  The candidates who have strong relationships in the business world are more valued now more than ever.  If these job-seekers belong to professional associations, non-profit organizations (like Toasmasters/Rotary, etc.) clients are finding that membership to be a strong positive in the New Work World.  It also demonstrates that they want to become better at their  craft or communication skills and they are also interested in helping others and performing as a team players.  With online Zoom ability made so easy these days, even if the contact is online, it is a good idea to establish it and stay connected.  Remembering a birthday or anniversary is also always a nice touch that can gain much positive ground for a candidate in this new reality.

 

Demonstrate Your Gratitude

 

Make more of an effort to verbalize your appreciation to a mentor, coach, professor or previous boss.  People like to hear they have done something you appreciate.  This also fosters better respect and understanding between people.  We sometimes forget to say “Thank You” and focus more on what someone DID NOT do as opposed what they did.  If your boss gave you a special assignment that might be a bit taxing, thank him or her for believing in you enough to give you a task somewhat out of your comfort zone.  Instead of verbalizing how you have never performed such a task, change your attitude to thanking that person for allowing you to have the new challenge to learn something new and grow.

 

Increase Your Digital skillset

 

It seems the digital world is with us to stay and is only going to get more complex and expansive.  The Cloud seems to be a highly desired skill area I heard about recently on an interview I did with a Customer Experience/Technology Innovation expert.  Research and learn all you can about the technology platforms of your current or prospective employer. You want to be able to offer experience and “hands-on” exposure that will allow you to make a greater contribution to your current or future employers.

 

The Bridge of Giving Back

 

Reach out to the community, in a safe and protected way, to be able to give back to others.  Whether it’s identifying ways that the employees of your current company can support local efforts, or investigating what a prospective company might be involved with, etc.,  and bring it up in the interview that you are interested in being a part of that effort.

 

The employers of the New Work World I have been dealing with are not just interested in exact skills and backgrounds. They are looking for the right attitudes and mindsets in a new hire that will contribute to a more holistic, well-rounded work culture that involves many more variables than existed Pre-Covid. As gold medal Olympian Mary Lou Retton said:  “Rather than focusing on the obstacles in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle.”

 

The applicants I am placing these days have absorbed the above tips and have embraced the New Work Attitude.  By building more bridges and fewer barriers in the New Work World, you will have a more enjoyable employee experience and the success you receive on your job will also transfer into other areas of your life to build a better life overall!

 

Mary Ann Faremouth 

Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze,  Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)

Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business.  Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.

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