You Have To Engage Not Just Take Up Space

How do you get what you want?  It starts with action and not just initial action but continual action.


It is like wanting to go out with someone; the first step is asking them out.  But once you get there what do you do?  You have to maintain engagement if you can even think about asking them out for another date.  Keep engaging them and you keep going out with them.


If you have ever read a few of my blogs you will know that I compare dating and job searching a lot.  There are a lot of similarities therefore it is a natural fit for me to compare.  I also think that people can understand things when presented with a different approach.


That and I am just darn creative.


When I talk to some clients they express an interest in a certain position or field.  Great.   When I ask what they are doing to break into that field or obtain that position and they reply with what amounts to a whole lot of nothing – not great.


You can want whatever you want; however without putting any action behind it you will be left with just the desire no result.


It doesn’t matter how big or small the want is – what matters is your behavior.  If you do not demonstrate the behavior to achieve your goals then don’t pout if you don’t get them.  It’s your own fault.


If you are looking into a new field or position do the research, figure out what it means to be there, what it takes from you, what benefit it is for you, what is expected and where you can go.


Sometimes you can find all this out on your own but sometimes you have to engage other people that are in the place you want to be in order to find out what you need to do to get there.


Talk to them, let them know your interest, redo your resume to fit that role, network in the circles that will get you good connections and even better information.


It is a continual engagement process.  You have to give to get.  It is not enough to just show up.  Just taking up space does not convey your intent or interest.


I went out for drinks with a friend and all was going well.  I was having a good time, but apparently my friend was not.  At one point he said something to me about talking to other people around us and not him.  Really.


Unfortunately I am a cut to the chase kinda girl so my response was, “well, perhaps if you were having a conversation with me instead of your phone you wouldn’t be so grumpy.”


If you want to talk to me then talk to me, if you are not talking to me then I assume you are not interest in what I have to say at the moment.  No worries, I’m a social person, I can always find someone to talk to, but I’m not going to sit on my hands and wait – I can’t be quiet that long!


Don’t sit on your hands once you started the research and networking process.  You have to show up and continually engage people.  Just standing next to them does not convey the idea that you are very interested in learning more about the company, position or industry.


We are not mind-readers open up and start talking.  I have had clients frustrated after attending a networking event telling me that no one talked to them.  I ask who they attempted to talk to and they reply no one.


Well, duh.


People are not going to come up to you and say, ‘gee, you look like you would like to change industries and get started doing XYZ – let me give you a road map of everything you need to do to get there.’


It would be nice, but it doesn’t work that way.


Before you get in front of that audience that could help you put the pieces together figure out what it is you want then act like it.  Engage, ask the questions, find out what you can do for them, request follow ups – but don’t just stand there expecting them to read your mind.


It may not be comfortable, and people may not be able to help you at this point in time or give you what you need, but you will never know unless you engage them.


Smile, stick your hand out, introduce yourself and start the conversation.  You never know where it might lead.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


Leave a Reply