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career path advice

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There are many events that can cause a person to want to change careers. Having a family can make you want to reprioritize your life and potentially seek a job that allows for more work-life balance. Having a near-death experience can make someone completely reevaluate how they spend their time, and seeing as work takes up a big chunk of our days, one’s job may be the first thing they change after such an eye-opening experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that “young baby boomers” change jobs just over an average of 11 times in their lifetime. Maybe those figures don’t translate to every generation under normal circumstances, but we just went through something (and are arguably still going through something) incredibly abnormal: the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic either forced a job change, due to unemployment for many, or sparked a desire for a job change, as these unprecedented times had many people reevaluating their lives.

Women, in particular, have seen significant job displacement during the pandemic. If you’re finding yourself trying to regain your foothold now after months of possibly not working and not having much opportunity to network, you may need a little direction. To get some expert advice, we spoke with Shonezi Noor, VP of operations at female-led startup Sampler.io.

LinkedIn App Icon on smartphone screen

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The wrong way to use LinkedIn to connect

Like in the real world, nobody likes to be cold-call networked. Noor says that it’s important to think through that first message on Linkedin, especially when it’s to a stranger. “What I don’t recommend is adding people you don’t know on LinkedIn without a specific ask or purpose. People are generally willing to help but if you send an invite to someone you don’t know with a message like ‘I’d love to have you in my network,’ it doesn’t send the right message, and sounds kind of one-sided right?” she says. “Instead, try to show, even if you are new to a space or don’t really know them, that you have done your homework and won’t waste anyone’s time.” She recommends finding a specific point of interest to bring up – maybe a trend in your industry – and noting why this person is particularly appropriate to speak to about it.

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