The Value of Networking, by Michael C. Dennis

Consider this example. Two credit managers, both with similar resumes, are vying for the same position within a company. Who gets the job, since both candidates (at least on paper) are so similar? The answer is easy: the one whose resume was hand-delivered to the boss’ desk by their contact, who works at the company.

Some individuals prefer to let their work speak for itself, and they trust others to recognize their worth.  This sounds good in theory, but falls short in practice.  In a difficult economy, one of your goals should be to increase your visibility through networking.  Gone are the days when you’d apply to a blind ad in the newspaper and then get the job. With trade associations and social media set up to help you be a better networker, now more than ever there are numerous ways in which the credit pros can increase their visibility.  Here are some ideas for doing so:

  • Participate in one or more industry credit groups
  • Volunteer for leadership positions inside and outside of your company
  • Be the first, not the last person to volunteer for special assignments at work
  • Always attend optional company-sponsored events
  • Attend trade shows and industry functions, such as the CMA Annual Meeting or Western Region Credit Conference, and participate in the receptions and networking activities
  • Build up your LinkedIn profile and participate in LinkedIn groups specific to your area of expertise, such as the Credit Management Association LinkedIn group
  • Become a powerful resource for the members of your expanding network by positioning yourself as a thought leader

Do not assume that hard work alone will get you noticed.  The value of networking is more important than ever. Make networking a part of your routine.

What are your most valuable networking activities, and why? As always, I welcome your feedback.

Michael Dennis is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit (www.encyclopediaofcredit.com), a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals.  He is a consultant, and the author of “Credit and Collection Forms and Procedures Manual” as well as a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events.  He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.

AVOID CAREER LIMITING MISTAKES by Michael C. Dennis

I was recently thinking about the lessons I’ve learned in my experience as a credit manager, and I thought I’d share them with you. This is the advice I’d give to both a new and veteran credit manager.

You can avoid many mistakes by following these guidelines:

  • Admit when you make errors, correct them as quickly as possible, and learn from them.
  • Always complete assignments on time.
  • Arrive early for meetings, or at the very least be on time.
  • Don’t be a know-it-all.
  • Don’t embarrass your manager in meetings or in writing, and never go behind your manager’s back.
  • Focus on adding value.  Doing only what is required is rarely a good long-term job strategy.
  • If you disagree with your boss, before sharing your POV, ask if they want your opinion.  If the answer is No, follow the instructions you received doing so is illegal, immoral, improper or potentially harmful to you or others.
  • Invest in your continuing professional education.
  • Keep your commitments.
  • Know how much authority and autonomy you have.
  • Make sure your communications are clear and concise.
  • Never complain about your manager at work.
  • Recognize the importance of adapting to and adopting the cultural norms in your workplace.
  • Remember that what others say is not always what they mean. For example, and depending on who is saying it, the phrase: “Please try to complete this assignment as soon as possible” may actually mean “Do it now!”
  • Shore up weaknesses before they hurt your future prospects, or your reputation.  For example, consider whether your presentation or public speaking skills need improvement.

You’ve heard my list. What would you add?

Michael is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit (www.encyclopediaofcredit.com), a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals.  He is a consultant, and the author of “Credit and Collection Forms and Procedures Manual” as well as a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events.  He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.