I’m not really sure if what I’m about to say is reflective of anything in particularly or just an example of me trying to be helpful — I would like to think it may offer some insight into the importance of strategic social media thinking, networking and the moral imperative that requires you to help when asked (or at the very least, seriously consider it).
In an unsolicited conversation that came my way through LinkedIn I found myself offering some advice and thoughts with regard to a career transition into sales. The conversation went like this (verbatim):
A Stranger — Hi Graham, I have decided to change my career path from being an organic chemist (MSc) to a sales representative. This is what I am truly passionate about and I hope you can advise me on this transition. Please accept my request. Regards
Me— Sure... assuming you have no experience I would start by reading the one minute sales person and the little red book of selling... there is also something called “strength finder”... worth profiling yourself to see if your really align with a career in sales... although older publications still foundational... I would start here...
Not so much a Stranger — Good morning Graham, Thank you for taking the time to respond to my request and sharing your thoughts. It’s interesting because about two or three days before I got your message, I borrowed the red book of selling from a nearby library. I have been reading it since then and there are a lot in that book to learn. I would definitely search for the other book you mentioned in your message. Also, I will try that strength finder to see if my personality traits matches up with a sales career. Regards
Still Me — The thinking is to determine if sales is something you really want to do and what it involves... if you still think you want to do it, redraft your cv to be sales oriented, word smith your linkedIn with subtle sales language... your opportunity will be entry level sales positions or sales gigs with small companies... obviously using your chemistry background is ideal but it may not work out that way in the beginning... start applying... google STAR interview questions as it will give you a feel for what you will be asked... since you have no experience you have to leverage your potential... Good luck
Not a Stranger — I very much appreciate your time providing all those precious information. Regards
I will admit it’s nice to have someone reach out for opinion and advice, so when the person reached out I recognized right away that they were trying to build and work their network as part of a career development goal, and was particularly interested that their career choice was in the commercial space (which I have a big soft spot for). I was also gently reminded of a moral imperative that simply says, “When someone asks for help, you try to help them”… I do appreciate there is some contextual consideration to this imperative, but when it comes to advice and insight in your field of expertise, there is a certain debt obligation requiring you to share.
For anyone who has developed a certain degree of expertise and success, it would be hard for me to accept there weren’t mentors, advisors and supportive conversations involved along the way; all sharing information, advice and insight that ultimately became building blocks for that success. This is a debt that needs to be recognized and passed on in the same way that it was received. And if you don’t like the idea of debt and obligation just think of yourself as a catalyst — sharing doesn’t really impact you in any negative way but can precipitate great change for others.
And if your are still struggling with a perceived altruistic gesture, keep in mind you will expand your network, probably learn something, continue to craft your thoughts and theories, and have a microphone for an audience who wants to hear what you have to say.
And this is what we call a WIN - WIN