The beginning of a new year is traditionally the time for resolutions and planning, and new starts. Here Niall Flanagan, Managing Director of Club Inc., the PGAs of Europe Career Services Partner, explains how making sure your networking skills are in top form can seriously help your new year’s career progression…
It is said most people spend more time thinking about where they are going on holiday than their career. For those golf professionals who really want to succeed you need to think what your ultimate career goal is in order to satisfy all the things you want to achieve. Having worked with hundreds of PGA Members every one of them has different goals.
Some want a top club professional job, some want to be the best coach, some want to work abroad, some want to turn to club management and become a General Manager. So its is important to research and understand what steps are needed to get to your individual career goal.
Networking and marketing yourself to the right people is one of the most powerful tools in getting you to the next stage. For example I knew my career goal was to be a General Manager at one of the top clubs in the world. I started writing to Dick Kopplin the leading headhunter in the USA in 1998.
At first I never got a reply as he didn’t know me and at the time I was living and working in Dubai. When I moved to St Andrews in I attended the CMAA World conference presenting the Opening Education Address to 1,800 people in 2004. This was the first time I met Dick.
In 2005 I invited Dick to speak at a conference that I promoted which he accepted. In 2006 he got me the interview for the position of CEO at Loch Lomond that resulted in me being successful in fulfilling my career goal. It had taken me 8 years but the work I did along the way helped me pave the way to getting me what I had set out to do some 15 years before.
Improving your own PR is also vitally important, most golf professionals I know are confident in presenting themselves due to the hours coaching their students and retailing to their customers. Think about putting yourself forward to speak at conferences, writing articles for magazines or websites. This will grow your brand and attract potential employers as the more often your name and picture appear the more chance you have of being reminded to or meeting owners, CEO’s, headhunters etc.
For golf professionals I think Linkedin is a must to help promote themselves and open up career opportunities. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals giving you the keys to controlling your online identity.
You should Google yourself? You never know what may come up. LinkedIn profiles rise to the top of search results, letting you control the first impression people get when searching for you on line. You should know how to best set up your account and by having the right CV would help your Linkedin profile. Whether you’re looking for a career opportunity, winning new clients or building your professional reputation, LinkedIn can if used properly connect you to jobs, sales leads and ideal business partners.
So please remember that Networking can be very helpful to your career its just not a buzz word it actually works. Develop a network of friendly people who share information to help each other. I believe it is best known as a strategy for opening the hidden job market. Since 80% of jobs are not advertised, it is essential that you develop friendly relationships with people who can tip you off to job openings — perhaps even introduce you to the person who is doing the hiring. There is some truth in, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
Since the start of this series of articles on helping Professionals with the very best career advice in sport we are pleased to report that we are now working with a large number of PGA members currently 10 professionals a week are becoming clients helping them to have a better chance to improve their careers and networking opportunities which Club Inc can provide.