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Networking is about pursuing opportunities to meet and build new relationships. With the advent of social media we have all become “armchair networkers.” There is less motivation to meet in person with anybody. That is unfortunate, as in-person networking is the best dress rehearsal for interviewing. Further, people you meet in-person are easier to cultivate afterwards into a substantial business relationship.

Given that career success is based on not just on who you know, but who you get to know, building a network is a lifelong endeavor. To facilitate your efforts, here are some in-person networking tips formatted for attending a talk, but they can easily be modified to accommodate a sit down dinner or a trade show.
 

Many executives think the professional promotion they put online will jeopardize their employment with their current company. They don’t want their employer to think they are actively looking for a job. Thus, they deliberately withhold information on LinkedIn (and other social sites), refuse to get recommendations and expand their social networks with new contacts.

Any career transition requires making your professional competencies visible online, as that’s where search firms and employers look. Though there is no avoiding visibility, you can approach it without risk by blogging in any language. Making a career transition can take the most advantage of a blog with least risk of your employer’s retribution.
 

Ask many people in corporate America their Myers Briggs type and most likely they will be able to tell you their four-letter code, along with their astrological sign. Thanks to team building, and management skills training, we can describe ourselves with personality test terms such as Driver or Amiable as well.

In the decades of boom economic times, many executives never had to look for a job while climbing and advancing in their career - most executives were promoted up the corporate ladder in their company, recruited by search consultants, or solicited by direct contacts in other companies for employment. Opportunities were plentiful and talent was less so.

The game has changed and it most likely will not return to the above scenario in the near future. This new search environment has found many executives unawares of how to approach, manage and make the best use of their 'first call' networking circle. This is the group closest to you that you call first for help, and they will give you just about anything professionally.

Sometimes career change is inevitable. As a culture and economy, we welcome progress, innovation, growth and change as good things. But there is always a price extracted in terms of jobs lost, product obsolescence, industry decline, business consolidations and careers uprooted.

According to Wikipedia, “Opportunity cost is the value of the next-best choice available to someone who has picked between several mutually exclusive choices...opportunity costs are not restricted to monetary or financial costs: the real cost of output foregone, lost time, swag, pleasure or any other benefit that provides utility should also be considered opportunity costs.”

As the job market fluctuates, more executives are venturing out of the safe harbor of their current companies to look for new opportunities. Many have been biding their time for months, if not years. During an economic crisis, many are willing to tolerate negative, demoralizing or unchallenging situations at their employment for financial security.

Too often we overlook the opportunities for making new connections offered up at conferences, trade shows, meetings, institute seminars. Our attention gravitates to current contacts, the people we know. Our minds wander back to the office too frequently. How much of our time is spent online, texting or on the phone with our office? Or, do we cloister ourselves off with our colleagues and customers to the exclusion of all others?

Most executives line up their top references with such confidence that they just assume that those recommendations will be sterling. That may well be the case, but why risk a slip of someone else’s tongue? The use of online recommendations on sites such as LinkedIn makes the importance of soliciting, influencing and managing your references all the more critical.

Whenever my clients are considering an immediate or future global relocation, we first delve into the cultural ramifications that such a move would entail for their career and personal lives. Having lived five years in Belgium and being well inculcated into a French-speaking culture, I still vividly recall the shock of re-assimilating back into the United States. I had forgotten how different were the pace, cultural energy and behaviors a half-continent away in California. I was a stranger to my homeland.

Frequently, we overlook the impact of a cultural transition upon careers. The results can be a lack of assimilation that derails the career opportunity. Here are some common transition challenges that are often overlooked:
 

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