Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category
Enrich Your Career Through Associations
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Have you thought about joining an association but questioned investing the time and money? It’s time to re-visit the subject. Seven out of ten adults are members of at least one association, which proves there must be personal or professional benefits. Listed below are three main ways joining associations can make a positive impact on your career.
1) Education: Furthering your education can make a dramatic impact on your career. Whether you are new to the job market or well placed within your career, you can still benefit from learning new skills or brushing up on old ones. By joining an association, you’ll likely save money on webinars, certification courses, etc., along with access to an abundance of free information through newsletters, blogs, and members-only meetings. Even if you only have time to utilize one of these resources, you’ll stay on top of industry trends.
2) Credibility: Being a member of an industry association looks great on your resume – period. It also indicates that you’re dedicated to growing within your field. An association membership provides an instant boost to your resume– the minute you pay your dues you can claim to be a member of that association. You can then highlight your membership with a logo on your website or LinkedIn page.
3) Networking: Associations provide one of the best ways to meet others in your industry. To maximize the benefits of networking, you should be doing it whether you are currently looking for a job or are happily employed
With so many associations out there, how do you choose which one is best for you? Ask your colleagues, search for relevant associations in your area (i.e. finance associations + Boston), or visit Weddles.com for a comprehensive list of organizations grouped by industry. Consider joining an association an investment in your professional future.
Picture Credit: Handshake, mikecco
Are You Gambling With Your Career?
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
Photo Credit: ThreeOak
When most people go to the casino, they do so for fun. If they win money, it’s gravy – not something to rely on to pay the bills. Why? Because gambling is notoriously unpredictable and the odds are always on the house.
So how come so many of us continue to gamble with our job searches? The odds of getting a call back after applying to a position online are extremely low, partly because of heavy competition. In addition, since many companies now use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to search for candidates by computer, the process for getting your resume picked up has become even trickier.
Though there are things you can do to improve the likelihood of getting your resume viewed – for example, checking the job ad for keywords – the bulk of your time and energy should be spent on the methods most likely to bring you results. They include:
Networking: You’ve likely heard this before, but it’s worth repeating since 70 to 80% of people find jobs through somebody they know. It’s worth placing a bet on this option.
Recruiters: In some industries, recruiters are the #1 way that people find a job. Even if yours is not one of them, it never hurts to cultivate relationships with anyone in a position to get you in front of employers.
Strategic Positioning: By determining the companies you’d like to work for and positioning yourself as a solution to a problem (based on information you found while researching the company) the results can be astonishing. Depending on how many companies you target and your follow-up strategy, this could end up being one of the most successful methods that you can use – in fact, I’ve had several clients get multiple job offers through this system.
Want to boost your odds even further? Diversify! Pick at least two methods, but give more of your time and attention to those likely to get you in front of decision makers.
Photo Credit: Three Oak
A Different Way To Find A Job – And It Works!
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
Anyone who has ever looked for a job knows how frustrating the process can be. However, most would agree that the most exasperating aspect is the “black hole” your resume seems to disappear into once you’ve applied to a position online.
My friend Kristin Vadas, Senior Strategic Project Manager of Carlson Wagonlit Travel felt the same way. After three months of applying to jobs that she was qualified for, she came to the conclusion that her resume was easily overlooked among the thousands of other submissions.
Trying a new approach, she emailed around 200 friends and former colleagues that knew of her experience, could speak to her qualifications, and would vouch for her work ethic. In just one week she had not one – not two – but FOUR promising prospects! One of those led to her current job, where she’s been happily employed for the past two and a half years. Kristin was kind enough to share a sample of an email she sent to her contacts (each individually tailored):
How have you been? Are you still working at XYZ COMPANY? I was reaching out to you to see if you knew of any opportunities, for Project Management or Change Management, at your company or within your network.
I left Accenture in October to start my own non-profit volunteer organization and now that the organization is off the ground, I would like to return to work and find a company I can grow with over the next few years. I am looking for full-time roles in Chicago and am also open to contracting positions.
Please keep me in mind if you hear of anything. Many thanks and I hope all is well!”
That’s it! By writing an email of just over 100 words, she was able to get in front of decision makers at four different companies. If you’re job search has stalled give this method a shot. What have you got to lose?
Photo Credit: “Jumping Girl” by Mattox
How To Network Without Being Pushy
Monday, October 1st, 2012
The term “networking” can seem a bit vague – how is it any different than meeting and/or talking with people? It’s really not, but since part of networking is to get something out of it (i.e. job leads), people understandably feel pushy.
There are two ways around this. One is to change your mindset. Be prepared to state what you’re looking for (contacts at specific companies, an informational interview, etc.), but go in 100% focused on helping other people. Not only will you end up being more successful at networking – who doesn’t want to help people who help them? – you’ll feel more comfortable and confident when meeting new contacts.
You’re probably thinking, “what can I possibly offer someone?” That’s where following the R.E.A.P. acronym comes in. When talking with someone new or just following up to stay in touch, you can offer:
Something to READ: Come across an article you think they might like? Send them the link!
Notices of EVENTS: If you’ve heard about an upcoming conference they might find beneficial, send them an invitation.
ADVICE: If you have a tip a contact might find valuable, pass it on (being mindful to SHARE the information and not preach).
PEOPLE to introduce: If you know two people that might have something in common, virtually introduce them. You’ll gain a reputation as a connector, and people will be even more likely to put you in touch with their acquaintances.
Following this framework can give you guidelines for what to talk about. However, as long as you’re sharing something of value, you’re networking from a place of giving, not taking. And no one would ever find that pushy!
Are Companies Waiting to Hire Until After the Election?
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
This question was recently posted on LinkedIn. Some say yes – companies want to see what changes will come as a result of whichever administration is in office. Others say no – that politics don’t affect the job market, at least in the short-term.
I say – IT DOESN’T MATTER. Anyone who holds off on job searching because companies “might” not hire until November is doing themselves a disservice. Same with those who don’t look during the summer (everyone’s on vacation, right?) or in December (because people are off for the holidays, of course).
My point here is if you wait until the perfect time to reach out to prospective employers, you’ll never find an opportunity! In fact, some of those “slow” times are ideal for contacting decision makers. People ARE still at work, but there’s not as much to do. If that’s when your resume comes in – and it’s one of the only ones sent that day – it’s more likely to be read than at another time. So, how can maximize your job search efforts during slow months?
1) Send a highly targeted cover letter. During a slow period, a screener may have the time to read your cover letter more thoroughly. Take this opportunity to really sell them on why you’re a fit for their organization.
2) Directly call the hiring manager. If you can find out the name of the person who would likely be doing the hiring, call them directly. It can often be as simple as dialing an organization’s main number and asking for them by name. However, be ready with your “pitch” so you’re prepared to speak if you are put through.
3) Schedule informational interviews. Most people are happy to meet with someone for an informational interview, but the reality of it is that everyone is very busy. Even with the best of intentions, it can be a challenge to carve out time from their schedules. Use this slow period as an opportunity for conducting career and company research.
Picture credit: Flag, by Robert Linder, linder6580
Volunteer to Quickly Make New Connections
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Just today, I participated in an association-sponsored volunteer event at a food pantry. During the three hours I spent packing peas and corn, I got to chatting with four other people. By the end of the time, I felt like I knew them all fairly well. If I had been looking for a job, I absolutely would have felt comfortable mentioning it. Where else other than volunteering can you bond with people from four different organizations in such a short period of time?
Of course, it doesn’t always happen like that, but you’d be surprised how often it does. As with school and the workplace, whenever a group works on a project, those involved get to talking. If you’re not in school and are currently unemployed, you probably won’t have many of these opportunities. Volunteering gives you a chance to connect with others while in transition.
The same rules for networking apply here – ask questions, get to know the person, offer help, exchange business cards, and connect on LinkedIn afterwards. If you continue to see each other great – you’ll be able to build a stronger relationship. But, even short-term projects give people an opportunity to get to know each other on a deeper level than through a traditional networking event.
How do you choose where to volunteer? First, think about your interests – there’s bound to be an organization for whatever it is you’re passionate about! Second, locate the places that serve these interests by doing a Google search with your location (i.e. Volunteer with animals, Chicago), or checking out VolunteerMatch.org. If your first experience isn’t what you hoped for, don’t give up – there’s truly something for everyone, and you just have to find what works for you!
Making A Graceful Exit
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Every job seeker needs an Exit Statement. This is a brief, positive-sounding sentence or two that tells another person why you’re on the hunt. Having a prepared Exit Statement makes it less uncomfortable to talk about your search and gives you the opportunity to share information about the type of work you’re seeking. Here are some examples:
- Acquisition: As you may know, Acme Inc. was recently acquired and more than 300 positions were eliminated, including mine. I am now exploring opportunities to…
- Reorganization: My position, along with ten other people in my department, was eliminated in a company-wide reorganization. I enjoyed my job and am looking for similar work but open to other industries, including…
- Fired: I am no longer with Acme Inc. and I’m taking this time to consider how to get back into the manufacturing industry, where my true passion lies…
Be prepared to discuss your situation and career goals with your network and also with the people you meet at networking events. The more people helping you look, the more graceful your landing will be!