A few weeks ago, one of my clients had a job interview. She waited several weeks only to find out she didn’t get the job. She was a little bummed — she felt like she has a great connection with the interviewers and was well qualified for the position. I told her to follow up with the interviewers to thank them again for the opportunity and ask about gaps in her experience that she could address. We workshopped some language and sent off an email — and she got one back from one of the interviewers. He was impressed with her experience and wanted to meet to discuss not only other opportunities in the organization but also working with her to create a strategic career plan for achieving her goals within that organization. In short, she had found an advocate, and it’s already started to make a difference.
Who is an advocate?
According to Oxford Languages, an advocate is someone who publicly recommends or supports. In terms of your job search, an advocate is someone who is impressed with your potential and is willing to help you make connections with the right people in the right places. You probably have many advocates in your life, and it’s certainly possible for an advocate to have another role — she might be your boss, mentor, career coach, or professor. However, as in the case above, advocates also sometimes spring up from networking opportunities.
How can an advocate help me?
Internal referrals, introductions to key decision-makers, and advise based on experience are just a few ways in which your advocates can help you. Your advocates can urge decision-makers to consider you for upcoming roles or to give you more opportunities. They can provide positive references and help you navigate promotional practices at specific companies and within specific industries.
How do I find an advocate?
How did my client find an advocate in the story above? By seizing an opportunity. In many cases, taking the initiative to attend networking events, have important conversations, and follow up can spark the interest of seasoned leaders who are on the look out for more junior professionals to develop. Just as advocates are often on the look out for promising upcoming talent, you can be on the lookout for influential advocates. And when you find one who might be a good fit, say something.
Of course, I can be one of your advocates and I can help you find other advocates as well. Finding an advocate starts with branding yourself effectively. Whether you need a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, or advice on how to effectively present yourself at a meeting or during an interview, I can help. Finding an advocate is also an important part of your career strategy — and I’m all about building an effective career strategy! So whether you need help with branding or strategy building, feel free to get in touch!