TODAY

TODAY   |  November 29, 2013

To get ahead, networking is key

Cosmopolitan Magazine’s editor-in-chief Joanna Coles and author Sylvia Ann Hewlett give smart advice on how to get ahead in life with a little help from your friends and colleagues.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> who's pulling for you? who's got your back? who's putting your hat in the ring, whatever you want to call it? it does help to have a champion on your side.

>> here to help you get ahead in work and life, are silvia hewitt, author of "forget the mentor find a sponsor" and joanna cole , editor in chief of "cosmopolit "cosmopolitan." good morning. i like the concept, forget the mentor, find a sponsor. sometimes you feel like you're using people to get ahead and that's not really what you're doing, is it?

>> no, it's not. a sponsor is this person who really does believe in you and defend your value and willing to make that phone call or create a piece of kind of concrete opportunity.

>> right.

>> a few years back, i had been out of the work force a few years and i was trying to get back in.

>> yeah.

>> that isn't easy, right?

>> it's much harder.

>> i reached out to an old colleague of mine and i knew that she kind of loved my writing. and so what she did, she made a few phone calls and lo and behold, i go and interview for a part-time lectureship and it made such a difference.

>> sometimes it's hard for people to make that initial step because you feel a little weird asking for someone for a step ahead.

>> i think one of the ways to handle it is to offer. ask not what your mentor or sponsor can do for you, ask what you can do for them.

>> yeah.

>> and i think -- i mean, one of the excellent points in silvia's book which i think is an incredibly good guide book for your 20s is that sense of find a sponsor who actually has power. women are very auto good at finding mfind ing meanters who are nurturing and warm but may not have the keys to the kingdom . this is about analyzing who has power and how they can be helpful. all bosses want young people with smart ideas.

>> some are so busy you hesitate to ask them. are they the very people you should because they're the kind that find time for everything.

>> exactly. for instance you might know someone who started a business. fascinated by this business. she desperately needs a website. you know how do that because you just created one for the elementary school , right? you have skills that you can offer and that makes you invaluable to them and then they open doors . i mean it really is a two-way street thing going on here.

>> you're not asking for, you know --

>> charity.

>> you're not asking to spend a week with them. say, do you have ten minutes for me?

>> that's it.

>> and go in prepared with three questions, three things.

>> maximize it.

>> don't hang out with them for the sake of it. go and be focused about what you want. i have people wanting to talk to me about their careers all the time.

>> what do you do.

>> i say no. when you figure out what you want to do, magazines or media, tell how i can be of use to you it's not therapy. it's specific.

>> that's a good line.

>> don't mess with her.

>> i know.

>> that's okay. you ladies, thank you.