Archives for how to network

2 Common Networking Mistakes and a Formula to Train Your Network to Be a Job Lead Generation Army

Networking by Greentech Media of Flickr

Networking by Greentech Media of Flickr

I seem to repeat this almost every day – you cannot be everything to everyone.

You can try, but you will eventually fall short in something. It becomes very difficult to maintain the persona of someone who is equally strong in a diverse range of competencies. Even if you land the job (and it may be appealing to smaller companies and start-ups, if that is your TRUE brand), it may not keep you employed when a company feels that your competencies have been misrepresented. It also may hurt future transitions if you have to explain why your former employer may not be a positive reference for you.

Branding is the opposite of being everything to everybody. An effective brand distinguishes an individual or a company as having unique qualities that appeal to a particular cross-section of the population or demographic based on their needs or wants, also known as a niche.  Companies can execute different branding strategies for different demographics. You might notice that a phone company will air a much different ad on Lifetime than it will on Spike. However, LinkedIn has been very strict about their users only having one profile. As a job seeker, you will actually prolong your job search if you diversify your brand to reach several different employer audiences.

For employers, there is greater risk in hiring people who present themselves as the perfect fit for all their needs. In this market, the candidate whose qualifications and motivations can be trusted will be able to compete more effectively for an open position, and their future performance can be more accurately assessed. In order to instill trust, be honest about what your strengths are and what skills you want to develop further. Prominently identify the qualities or skill sets that distinguish you as a top candidate without making assumptions about the caliber of talent the company already represents.

Many people recognize that networking is the number one transition activity that helps people get hired. However, even people that network fanatically may not be developing the volume of job leads that they would like. There are two major mistakes I see most people making in networking that prevent them from being able to leverage this activity to generate momentum.

 

Networking mistake #1

It may sound counterintuitive, but not being specific and concise enough for network contacts will actually narrow the number of leads that your network produces for you. Your contacts need to walk away from the conversation understanding how to recognize a good job lead.  The chances of your contacts coming across an open position for your job title is so much slimmer than them conversing with someone who has a problem you can solve.

 

Networking mistake #2

Asking for favors is not the way to inspire people to make powerful introductions for you. A call to action is much more likely to have a positive response when the individual being called upon to act has a clear understanding of the mutual benefits of an introduction. People want to connect you so that they can help both you and their network contacts.

 

Flip your networking script

Think of network branding as training your contacts to be lead developers for you. Do not use industry lingo if they are not savvy. Do not run down your whole employment history. Tell them what they will remember, such as why companies have hired you in the past and what problems you can solve for a company. Demonstrate the mutual benefit of connecting you to your network’s contacts.

I have seen many formulas for 30-second commercials, but Margaret Lynch’s “Captivate From The Start” formula is the most impactful, by far. Though it was designed for coaches, and was a product of training that SHE received as an EFT practitioner, she decided to pass it on to coaches in her tribe, and I must share the concept with you.

It starts with understanding the pain of your audience. People are motivated to take action primarily by two things: avoiding future pain and ending current pain, with the more dominant driving force being the latter. As a job seeker, you’ll want to think about why the position you want exists, or why it should (because it might not). What business needs does the position fulfill? When it is not filled, or when it is not filled by the right person, what pain results, and for whom? What are the costs of this job not being done well?

Let your network contacts know who would be impacted, and that is a sign to them as to whom an introduction would be beneficial. Tell them two or three things that your target would experience that would be a sign that they have needs you can fulfill, and then give them an idea of the results you can bring about for them.

For example:

I help business leaders and engineering teams who have difficulties launching on time because they are not agreeing on product specifications that understand each other and the customer needs, so that products are launched with minimal bugs, with as little time and budget as possible, and with the highest satisfaction ratings possible.

It seems like a mouthful, but would you be able to find a lead for this professional?

To turn this 30-second commercial into a 60-second commercial, think about why you are the right person to fill this position. What evidence do you have to present that proves that, among people with similar qualifications, you add something uniquely valuable that will make the resolution of the pain faster, greater, or more pleasant? What was one major problem you resolved for one major initiative that you were pivotal in making successful?

Once you get the lead and someone encourages you to contact a VIP in his or her network, follow up, even if the opportunity does not seem like it is a fit. Be forthcoming if that is the case, and always offer to be a resource to your network and the network they make available to you.

 

Train for long-term retention with something tactile

Of course, not everyone learns audibly, so it is wise to have something you can leave behind, whether it is a business card that has comparable information on it, or, even better, a one page networking profile. These are becoming more standard for executive networking groups, and yet I find them to be not much more interesting than a résumé for the average reader.

People crave speedy, visual information. Not only do infographics make information easier to understand, and more fun to read and share, but they make it more memorable. If you really want to wow your contacts, give them something they will be excited to show their contacts and engage us to create your one page networking infographic.

 

Words are the most powerful force we have as a species. By changing what you say in your networking conversations, you will multiply the number of opportunities that people send your way. Furthermore, these opportunities may not look exactly like job openings that thousands of other people are vying to fill. They will most likely more often look like people who need you and are eager to find out how you can ease their pain. In turn, your pain will be relieved. Interviewing will be more productive and more fun, and will more likely result in a job offer.  The job offers you receive are more likely to be for positions that fully utilize your talents and experience. Because you will have the leverage of having a solution to an immediate need, negotiating will be that much easier and more successful. Use this formula to lubricate the tracks to success and accelerate toward a successful job landing.

 

Become an Effective Job Hunter: Work Smarter, Not Harder!

Photo courtesy of kate hiscock (http://bit.ly/1BiDvrt). Job search

Photo courtesy of kate hiscock (http://bit.ly/1BiDvrt).
Job search

Keyword searching for job opportunities is an important part of your job search that should not be overlooked. Looking for the next employment opportunity can be a time consuming task. However, you should only spend 10% of your time searching for work on a job board using keywords for the position you’re interested in. Naturally, the next question to ask is: what are you doing with the other 90% of your time? Evaluate the time you spend job hunting. Are you spending too much precious time on job boards? Or are you blindly sending your résumé to everyone who’s hiring out there in the hopes of getting an interview? A smart allocation of the remaining 90% of your job search time can help you land your next job.

Nurture Your Networks

Human connections are one of the most important tools in your job search arsenal. Think about it. If no one knows you’re looking for a job, then they can’t help you. Don’t hesitate to ask your family, friends, alumni, and your professional connections about job leads. If you’re unsure about how to go about nurturing you network, try watching my vlog, “How Does Your Garden, uh, Network Grow?” Your personal and professional networks may have insight to possible job openings before the positions are advertised. Gathering leads from family and friends isn’t always easy. In another one of my vlogs, “Get Interviews in Your Network, ” I walk you through how to get powerful introductions that lead to interviews to jobs no else knows about. Target (but don’t harass), employees and hiring managers at the companies you would like to work for. A cup of coffee and a personal touch can go a long way in your job search. StarTribune writer Kevin Donlin has excellent advice in his article, “How to target hiring managers and crack the job market.”

Work LinkedIn for all it’s worth

LinkedIn is an essential job search tool. It can take professional networking to the next level. You can make yourself an appealing job candidate by using the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile. I wrote about the importance of changing your default headline, and the importance of differentiating your profile from your résumé. Another critical aspect of LinkedIn is building connections. Don’t think of connections in the same way you would think of friends on Facebook. Building connections within your industry is important when looking for job opportunities. You’ll need more than 200 connections from people you know well in to get your search rolling. Additionally, you can research companies through their LinkedIn pages in order to receive job postings and company news. You’ll also want to join and contribute to groups within your industry that align with your skills and job objectives. This is a big part of effectively leveraging the community on LinkedIn. Remember earlier when I mentioned connecting with alumni? LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with school and corporate alumni, and it is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. A few minutes a day using LinkedIn to the fullest can take your job search to new heights.

Our sister company, JoMo Rising launched a program last week called Accelerfate. The program can provide you daily job search to-dos. The program is full right now, but you go to the website and sign up if you want to be part of the next enrollment.

Work your personal brand

LinkedIn is a great way to build your personal brand, but you’ll want to cover all of your bases. If you use other social networking services such as Facebook or Twitter, make sure to take advantage of them. Carefully craft your online presence in a way that will capture the attention of employers. If you’re an IT professional write about your industry as often as possible. Stay on top of the latest industry news, and follow those within your profession. You can also put a personal and professional spin on the news from others in your industry for your followers. You never know if a post, or tweet for a job will go out. At the very least, a professionally cultivated social media presence help you standout from other job candidates who use these platforms in a more personal manner.

You can also take it a step further when it comes to your personal branding. If you have a blog, make sure to write about your profession. You’ll be able to brand yourself as an industry leader and a go-to person while you grow your audience. In short, you’ll be able to take an active role in your industry, instead of being a passive employee. Illustrate how you solve problems, and how you’re a valuable asset to your company. If you have amusing stories, heartwarming stories, or even stories that are inspiring, make to share them with your audience. Story-telling is the pillar of marketing these days.

A good story helps your audience relate to you and keeps them coming back to you. It can be difficult to come up with stories on the fly. I’ve found it easier to remember stories by keeping a digital library. Record the stories that you remember or are inspired by on your phone. It will be a huge benefit when you need to recall them for future content and conversations. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s worth remembering, it’s worth recording.

Having an active online presence is a great way to set you apart from the competition, and can be a highly productive way to spend some of your job search time. If a potential employer does Google you, they’ll see a motivated and fully engaged professional. Versus someone else who may have simply set a few social media accounts and lets them go dormant.

[Click to tweet this article: http://ctt.ec/D6u9o]

Research the company you want to work for

I mentioned targeting a hiring manager as one part of your job search. You can take that strategy a step further by researching an entire company. Look up the companies you’re interested in on Google, and check out their LinkedIn pages. Learn everything you can about them and imagine how you’d fit into their company. In my article “You Can’t Afford Not to Investigate Your Next Employer!” I discuss ways to thoroughly research an employer. Try digging deep and pitching yourself to an employer with an extremely personalized cover letter. Remember, you want all of the fruits of your research to show up within your letter. In my vlog, “Our Cover Letter Secret Sauce” I discuss how to write a customized cover letter. Even if the company isn’t hiring at the moment, they may consider you in the future.

Hire a professional to polish your résumé

If you’re having a trouble with your résumé, you may want to consider hiring a CPRW, or a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, like me. A professionally written résumé that specifically targets an employer can go a long way in standing out from the crowd. All of the advice I’ve listed in this article is crucial, but having a great résumé is an importance center-piece to productive job search.

Keyword searching on job boards should comprise a small fraction of your job search time. An effective job search strategy will make use of personal and professional networking, social media, and personal branding. A large portion of job boards are inundated with job seekers. In order to stand out from the crowd you have to be willing to work smarter. Just imagine the quality of leads you’ll generate by asking your networks about open positions, or using the vast resources available to you on LinkedIn. Also imagine how much further you’ll go by targeting the company you want to work for, and pitching them a personalized cover letter. Not only will branching out in your job search methods produce better results, but you won’t be at the mercy of a hiring manager who is overwhelmed with the same applications, and résumés coming from job boards.

It’s been a hard days night – The Beatles

Lyrics: A Hard Day’s Night Lyrics Artist(Band):The Beatles Review The Song (23) Print the Lyrics Send “A Hard Day’s Night” Ringtones to Cell It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log But

3 Unexpected Places to Find Job Leads

Photo courtesy of Sharyn Morrow " X marks the spot (where the center caved in on the vegan cake)." http://bit.ly/1znpXtL

Photo courtesy of Sharyn Morrow ” X marks the spot (where the center caved in on the vegan cake).” http://bit.ly/1znpXtL

In May 2011, Dianez Smith was ready to take her career an epic level. She was tired of not getting interviews and working a low-wage retail job. Dianez literally took to the streets in search of leads. Armed with a homemade sign, dozens of résumés, and a sharp business suit, Smith stood at the corner of a busy Washington D.C. intersection. The recent college graduate desperately wanted land a job that would put her bachelor’s degree in studio art to use. She passed out 17 résumés in total to anyone who would give her a second glance. Smith’s résumé eventually landed her an interview and a job as a receptionist at a law firm.

Dianez Smith’s case of standing on a street corner may be extreme, but she was willing to look in an unexpected place to find job leads. With the economy still in a state of recovery, the job market is flooded with applicants. You have to stand out from the crowd just to get an interview. The idea of doing this may cause your creative side to balk. After all, you’ve polished your résumé until it sparkles and you’ve come to dread attending the same old networking events. In short, you’re tired of searching the same employers, in the same way everyone else does. In fact, you’re itching for the novelty of trying something new. Or maybe you have yet to search for a new career, but you want to start in a unique manner. If you’re willing to take a path less traveled, you may find surprising leads in your job search.

  1. Your “Other” Network

Other realms of your community can be a great source of unexpected job leads. The idea is to expand your network beyond the professionals you normally interact with. First try asking the people outside of your immediate circle of friends (assuming you’ve already told your friends how to identify leads for you.) Consider all of the folks with whom you are on a first-name basis. Your neighbors, your barber, your hairdresser, your trusted mechanic, and the parents you know from PTA meetings and kids’ sports and activities. Think personal relationships VS professional ones.

If you want to expand even further, look into community workshops, neighborhood events, and Meetup.com gatherings related to your interests. The point is to meet and network with different people to search for job leads. I’ll use Meetup.com as an example. You might be into web development and content management. So you find a local group dedicated to WordPress (yes, they exist), and decide to attend a local event. Such meetings could be the perfect place to ask for job leads. Or if you attend social gatherings completely unrelated to your profession (i.e., clubs, board game nights, or even religious services), take a moment to ask for leads there. You never know who may be the source of an important job lead.

  1. Online Marketing

In August I wrote an article titled “5 of the Craziest Ways People Found Jobs.” In this list I wrote about one man who got a job by advertising himself on Google’s AdWords. There’s no reason why you can’t market yourself in a similar manner. Set up a personal blog or website if you don’t already have one. Get yourself a personal domain name to brand as a URL. Naturally this would be YourOwnName.com. Next, create a page just for your résumé. Once you have such a page you’ll purchase an ad and use it to promote your résumé and highlight your achievements in a few words. For the AdWords URL you’ll want to use that personal domain name you bought.

If Facebook is more of your flavor, purchase a social ad. Use the title of the ad to target the business you want to work for. Make sure to include a professional picture, and a 25-word description about yourself and the job you want. Make sure to link these ads to your LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and your other social media outlets. Ask friends on these networks to share the ad. You want to target people in your profession in order to generate job leads.

  1. Become a Public Speaker

Volunteering to speak through community and professional organization can be a great source of job leads for those willing to try. It can be a breakout way to garner attention, establish expertise and value, and to expand your network. By public speaking, you’re marketing yourself to other professionals outside of your usual network who can then market you by word-of-mouth. Seek out clubs, civic groups, and professional organizations. These engagements can be used to gather job leads from attendees. If you’ve never spoken in public before, or the task seems a little daunting, you will definitely need to practice. Christopher Witt’s Entrepreneur article “How to Get Started in Public Speaking” is a good starting point.

Be bold and refuse to leave any stone unturned by looking for leads everywhere you can think of. Strike up a conversation with acquaintances and steer the discussion to job leads. If you don’t mind contracting work, try a few gigs on sites like Fiverr or Elance. In addition to making some extra cash, try asking clients about job leads. Consider putting out ads asking for leads in your local newspaper and on Craigslist. These sources are a little more risky, and you may end up with irrelevant leads, or no job leads at all. The point is, never stop looking and asking for leads.

These methods are not a substitute for a solid résumé, strong networking, references, and researching the company you want to work for. You can think of it as a quirky complement to the good practices you’re already using. As the saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Survivor – The Search Is Over

Survivor’s official music video for ‘The Search Is Over’. Click to listen to Survivor on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/SurvSpot?IQid=SurvTSIO As featured on Ultimate Survivor.

Free burial plot!

 

Headstones 2 by Brenda Starr

Headstones 2 by Brenda Starr

I don’t know if you’ve ever been a telemarketer, but it is quite the unappreciated duty.

One of the many jobs that helped me pay my way through college was telemarketing for a cemetery. That’s right—I had to call up people from a call list and tell people that they won a free burial space at a value of $800 and all they had to do to claim it was make an appointment to come see the grounds. I stayed for two weeks.

I also was on the student fund development team at my alma matter, Ursinus College.  What I learned is there is no generally receptive audience for telemarketing.  You could be legitimately offering, say, free advice on how to accelerate your career transition.  Still, people will pick you to project their frustrations on.  Any reasonable offer could be considered preposterous, especially if the offer is made to one of the 10.9 million people out of work.

You don’t know where your next job lead is going to develop.  People land jobs in the most unconventional and unpredictable places.  There have been some who land new employment just by describing their ideal role to their dentist.  I, on the other hand, was given a lead for one of my clients from a telemarketer.

She lived in Michigan and worked through a firm located in Washington, D.C. that had a credit card company in Delaware as their client. We spent time talking about how much she enjoyed being able to work from home in the evenings. It wasn’t glamorous, yet it fit her criteria.  That same week, I was able to pass on the name of that telemarketing firm to a customer service representative who was looking for a legitimate work-from-home position.

Telemarketers can be your ally.  Most people can be your ally, actually. As long as you are genuinely interested, the person on the other end of the phone may be willing and able to share insights into what it is like to work for that organization, the general pay scale, or if any other departments are hiring.

Telemarketers may just be doing what they have to do part-time or temporarily to pay the bills. Their true vocation may be completely different. Perhaps they were even a hiring manager and will be again some day.

It’s a small world. If you were the rep’s most irate customer, chances are they’re venting to their colleagues, and maybe even their boss. Your name could be travelling around through the corporate grapevine while you stew in your ire.

You might lose some time by listening, and furthermore engaging in conversation, but you might also gain some intelligence that leads you to a paycheck.