Tag Archives: networking

Building Your Network

Develop your network of contacts by:

  • Making a list of all the people you know personally, professionally, or from school.
    • Include family members, classmates, neighbors, your kids’ teachers, co-workers, professional or social organizations, people you speak to at the dog park, who go to the same salon, etc.
    • Research contact information on-line to find out how to communicate with the people on your list. Some ways to do this are to:
      • Join LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) and set up a profile. Don’t just phone it in, really spend some time building an awesome profile.
      • Start a Facebook account (www.facebook.com) for professional contacts and networking. Include job titles, former employers, the names of schools you attended, and organizational affiliations.
        • If you have a personal Facebook account, consider using the available privacy settings to close your account to anyone outside your personal circle.
        • Do not post anything that might make you look bad. Stay positive, avoid controversial topics such as politics, religion, and money.
      • Network with potential contacts, business owners, and others Twitter. Twitter is a social networking site that allows people to share information through 140-character messages called tweets.
    • In addition to providing the means to research your contacts, these activities will increase your web presence and provide benefits such as 24 hour, 7 day a week accessibility and an easy and inexpensive way to market your brand.
  • Setting a weekly goal for networking contacts. Let your contacts know that you are looking for a job and need their help. Be clear as to the type of work you want and the skills and qualifications you bring to an organization. Have your networking or elevator speech ready whether you are emailing, calling, or run into a contact at the coffee shop.
  • Asking your contacts for leads to expand your network. For example:
    • Do you know of anyone with skills and interests similar to mine?
    • Do you have contact with anyone in a similar business or litigation area as me?
    • Do you know of anyone interested in working with or hiring a person with my skills and experience?
  • Contacting anyone identified by your contacts and ask them the same questions and more, like:
    • What separates you from the competition?
    • What significant changes have you seen take place in your professional area of expertise through the years?
    • What was the strangest or funniest incident you experienced in your practice or business?
  • Trying to get at least one name from each of your contacts and then emailing or calling the new contacts. Remember to invite each contact to connect with you on LinkedIn.

There is no end to the number of different networking building strategies available to you and any one of these strategies could serve you well. If one strategy is not working, don’t be afraid to try something else. You will find that some methods are more effective than others.

I hope that this posting will help you to spend more of your time using super effective networking methods. To get started, be brave and take the first step today.

This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects presented but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Step 5: Manage Your Job Search

Any face-to-face contact with a person with the authority to hire or supervise an employee, even if there is no job opening at the time of the meeting, is an interview. Many of the articles I’ve seen on the internet claim that something like 40% of job seekers report finding jobs in this way.

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Regardless of the accuracy of this statistic, you should consider changing your definition of an interview. The reason is simple: If you can interview with potential employers before a job opens up or is advertised you are more like to be considered for the positions when they do become available.

 

Finding a Job is a Job. Whether you are currently employed, unemployed, or underemployed, job search is tough and requires an extensive time commitment. To be effective, you will need a solid, thoughtful plan.

  1. Make time in your schedule to spend at least 20 hours a week looking for your next position. This means committing 20 hours of your week to targeted job search activities.
  2. Prepare a daily schedule so that you stay on task and productive each day. Don’t just  make a to-do list. List specific activities on the hour or 1/2 hour. Post your schedule in a highly visible place or on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
    • Use Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar at www.google.com/calendar to keep track of your activities.
    • Use your smartphone to set up automatic reminders and organize daily activities.
  3. Manage your contacts and activities electronically. Track the time spent on activities and the contacts that you make. Use free websites such as JibberJobber.com to help you manage and organize your contacts and tasks. Keep track of who you met, where, what was discussed, and when you plan to reconnect.

Are you business ready? Have you prepared your job search presence?

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Resume: Begin by making a list of your job experience, job titles, dates of employment and salary history. You won’t use all of this information for your resume but may need it when completing a job application, preparing for an interview or drafting a cover letter.

There are a lot of resources available to help:

  • Resume writing books are available at your library. Also check your local library for job/career resources and support.
  • Free resume coaching is available at the state Department of Labor, Good Will Industries, and many other local organizations and agencies.
  • Online resources such a O*NET Online (www.onetonline.org) provide useful information for job/career exploration and analysis.

Email account: Create an email account to use exclusively for your job search. The user name must be professional. An appropriate user name looks something like john.doe@gmail.com or john doe.us@live.com.

Contact telephone number: You must have a reliable contact telephone number with voice mail. The outgoing message should be professional and straightforward. This means no background noise like music or children/dogs or quotes from spiritual sources. The outgoing message should identify you as the receiver and state that you are unavailable but will get back to the caller as soon as possible.

Professional attire: Have business attire available for networking events, job fairs, interviews, etc. Articles describing appropriate dress can be found by typing “help dressing for work” in your web browser. For example, www.wikihow.com/Dress-for-Work has an article describing appropriate formal and casual business attire for men and women.

Business cards: Create and carry business cards with you at all times because you never know who you will meet or where.

  • Business cards should be simple and inexpensive. Take a look at the offerings at Staples, vistaprint.com, and avery.com.
  • Do not buy too many at first because you are likely to make changes during the job search process.

Networking speech: Prepare a short “elevator speech.” This is a 30 second to one minute statement describing your skills and qualifications, the position you want, and the people you want to meet. An example of a networking speech follows. However, you must craft a statement that fits your unique experience and skills.

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I am a ____ professional with experience in ____ and ____. Most recently, I worked at ____. My unique strengths/abilities are in the areas of ____ and ____. I am looking to talk with people that work for companies such as (list 3 to 7 target companies). Are you available to meet with me over coffee to all about ____?

Enroll in job placement websites like www.Indeed.com and www.LindedIn.com.

Register with your target companies to received job postings. Follow your target companies on LinkedIn and Twitter/Instagram.

Follow websites like dailyworth.com, IvyExec.com, and theladders.com to keep current with job search trends and available resources.

Now, get to it . . .

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

Job Search Step 3: Networking

shake handsJob search used to involve working with an employment agency, checking for “help wanted” ads in the newspaper, calling a company’s human resources staff to find out about current job openings, or walking into a local business with a “Help Wanted” sign in the window to find job leads.

Today, job leads are found through networking. Job leads are found on online networking platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, job search sites like Indeed.com and Monster.com, and company websites.

In some instances job openings are not posted at all. So, how do job seekers find unadvertised/unposted jobs?

DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE POSITION IS OPEN OR THE JOB IS LISTED BEFORE CONTACTING THE EMPLOYER. Don’t ask whether an employer has a open position. Rather, share with a potential employer that you understand there may not be an open position at present but that you would like to talk to you about the possibility of future openings.

Why have this conversation when a position is not immediately available? More and more, job openings are filled by people the employer already knows or who find out about job openings through networking or being in the right place at the right time. In other words, your next employer finds out about you from a friend, neighbor, relative, contact at a professional organization, LinkedIn, etc. and considers bringing you in to discuss an current opening or soon-to-be open position.

Develop a network of contacts.

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  • Make a list of all the people you know personally, professionally, or from school.
  • Include family members, classmates, neighbors, your kids’ teachers, co-workers, professional or social organizations, people you speak to at the dog park, who go to the same salon, etc.
  • Look on-line for contact information to find out how to communicate with the people on your list. Some ways to do this are to:
    • Join LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) and set up a profile.
    • Start a Facebook account (www.facebook.com) for professional contacts and networking. Include job titles, former employers, the names of schools you attended, and organizational affiliations.
      • If you have a personal Facebook account, consider using the privacy settings to close your account to anyone outside your personal circle.
      • Do not post anything that might mae you look bad. Stay positive, avoid controversial topics such as politics.
    • Network with employers on Twitter. Twitter is a social networking site that allows people to share information through 140-character messages called tweets.
  • Each week set a goal for networking contacts. Let your contacts know that you are looking for a job and need their help. Be clear as to the type of work you want and the skills and qualifications you bring to an organization. Have your networking or elevator speech ready whether you are emailing, calling, or run into a contact at the coffee shop. REFER TO 12/15/15 POST ENTITLED “WHO ARE YOU? HOW TO CRAFT AN ELEVATOR SPEECH”
  • Ask your contacts for leads to expand your network. Ask your contacts:
    • Do you know of any openings for a person with my skills and experience?
    • Do you know of anyone else who might know of such an opening?
    • Do you know of anyone who might know of anyone else who might be able to help me idenitfy a job opening?
  • Then contact anyone identified by your contacts and ask them the same questions. Try to get at least one name from these people and then e-mail or call them and invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

There are many different job search methods and any one of these methods could work for you. Of course, some methods are more effective than others. I hope that this posting will help you to spend more of your time using uber-effective methods so that you find your next employment opportunity in record time.

Now, get to it . . .

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.key

This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

 

fotolia_83162573The Spice of (Business) Life is Communication, Part 2

Suggestions for effective listening:

  • I’ve said it before and I will say it again: LISTEN. Listen quietly to what the speaker says without interrupting. Listen obviously to what the speaker is saying and respond with quiet “verbal attends” such as “uh huh,” “um,” “yes,” and “I understand” to indicate that you understand what is being said.
  • Maintain an adequate distance from the speaker. Adequate personal space is about an arm’s distance length from the other person. Standing too close to the speaker may make him/her feel uncomfortable. Standing too far from the speaker may give the impression that you are not engaged in the conversation or looking to “get away.”
  • Avoid touching the speaker. While a handshake is usually acceptable, other physical contact with a speaker you are not familiar may make him/her feel uncomfortable.
  • Stand up straight (shoulders back) and maintain good body posture during the conversation will convey confidence and intelligence. Leaning forward toward the speaker (just slightly) will convey interest in the message.

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  • Control facial expressions. Your face communicates a wide variety of non-verbal cues related to your attitude and emotions. For example, raising your eyebrows may give the impression that you are surprised. Pursing your lips may convey anger, disagreement, or confusion.
  • Control your gestures. Like facial expressions, your gestures communicate a wide variety of non-verbal cues.
    • Closed gestures such as clenched fists may indicate aggression or anger. Crossing your arms conveys a defensive or suspicious demeanor.
    • Open gestures like keeping your hands to your side or crossed behind you portrays an openness or relaxed demeanor.
  • Maintain eye contact but do not stare to show that you are listening and interested in the message. Eye contact signifies trust, respect, and interest.
  • Avoid strong perfumes, colognes, and other odors that might distract or overwhelm the other person from their interaction with you.
  • fotolia_61859136Maintain your overall appearance. What you wear to work depends on the type of job that you hold. Whatever you wear, make sure that it conveys your competence and respect for your position within the company.

Combining effective communication techniques with networking will help you to connect with people. Poor communication can result in misunderstandings with others.

It should be obvious by now that the abilities and skills related to good listening are:

  • Attention to communication to ensure that information is passed on to others who should be kept informed.
  • Ability to express oneself clearly in oral conversations and interactions with others.
  • Ability to express oneself in written communications.
  • Noticing, interpreting, and anticipating others’ concerns and feelings, and to communicate this interpersonal awareness empathetically to others (part of one’s emotional intelligence or emotion quotient).
  • Influencing others by gaining their support for your ideas, proposals, projects, and solutions.
  • Building collaborative relationships to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.
  • Demonstrating concern for customer orientation including satisfying one’s external and/or internal customers.

NETWORKING: At its core, networking it not about job search. Networking is about communication and connecting with people who can help each other with various events or issues. Effective communication techniques are needed so that you can successfully express your value and provide support in whatever way you can for the other person’s benefit.

There is a three-step approach to growing your network:

  1. Acquiring contacts. Contacts can be passive (meeting people at the gym or kid’s ballgame) or active (speaking to people at a networking event or professional group meeting).
  2. Building relationships using seasonal (speaking with a friend of a friend that you see at a Super Bowl party, July 4th cookout, etc.) or lifetime (in-laws) contacts.
  3. Creating opportunities online (LinkedIn, FaceBook or Twitter) or in-person (school group, coffee shop, or kid’s school fair or concert).

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

The Importance of Self Care in Job Search

“The person who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do the job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired.” Richard Nelson Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute?”

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Job search can be stressful and overwhelming. Intense feelings of loss, anxiety and self-doubt are caused by several factors:

  1. External circumstances that make us feel vulnerable and powerless, as though we have no control over our present or future work life;
  2. External expectations that cause us to feel like we have disappointed or let down our family and friends;
  3. Pressure to find a job using a complicated, confusing and impersonal job search process;
  4. Fear and worry because there is so much that we need to learn if we have any chance of succeeding in this new reality; and
  5. Competing priorities for successfully managing our lives and the lives of our family in this new reality.

Physical, emotional, spiritual and mental self-care should be a priority if we hope to stay focused, energetic and positive during the job search process. Four steps toward reducing our stress and taking better care of ourselves are:

  1. Setting realistic expectations. We manage our exceptions by accepting and working through setbacks. Life is not easy or simple but you will succeed.
  2. Taking time to get to know ourselves at this stage in our lives. Take an inventory of current skills, ask others what they see as our strengths and weaknesses, and decide what it is that we need and want in the present, short-term and long-term.
  3. Understanding the difference between what we need to live comfortably and what we would like to have in the short-term and long-term. Being honest with ourselves and truly understanding who we are and what we need to feel happy and fulfilled is empowering.  Information will create opportunities and help us to make the best choices for our work and personal lives.
  4. Committing to self care:
    • Physical Care:
      1. Eating well and staying hydrated
      2. Resting/sleeping 6 to 8 hours
      3. Playing
      4. Exercising
    •  Emotional Care:
      1. Spending time with family, friends and pets
      2. Creating a powerful support system or network
      3. Treating ourselves kindly; avoid negative self-talk
      4. Appropriately express emotions, including anger and sadness
      5. Communicate honestly with others, including our children
    • Spiritual Care:
      1. Make time for reflection and mediation
      2. Spend time in nature
      3. Be creative: listen to music, draw, dance, sing
      4. Volunteer or participate in community or social activities
      5. Laugh
      6. Accept kindness, praise or love from ourselves and others
      7. Celebrate accomplishments, both big and small
    • Mental Care:
      1. Read something inspirational
      2. Challenge ourselves to learn something new
      3. Take an online class
      4. Pursue a new hobby or interest

Taking time out of our day, everyday, for self care will expand our support system (network), help us to gather information about ourselves and about the working world that will be useful in our job search activities, and keep us healthy, focused and positive.

Now, get to it. . .

You survived a company-wide layoff. Now what?

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Last week, an insurance company employed dozens of loyal and hardworking employees. Today there are 10 less employees at that company. Simon B., part of a team of risk managers, survived the layoffs but says that the entire experience has left a sour taste in his mouth. Below is my interview of Simon B.

Debra Cohen: Your company recently went through a layoff. What happened?

Simon B.: Layoffs are never easy. The company laid off people in three rounds from September to November. First the VPs, then the Directors, and finally everyone else.

DC: Thankfully, you survived the layoffs. How did your department fare?

SB: My department survived the layoffs. I guess you could say that there was little impact to our department because personally we made out okay. I am grateful that my department survived the layoffs but it was a very difficult situation.

DC: What do you mean?

SB: The layoffs were drawn out over several months. During that period productivity and morale really employees screamingisuffered. People were walking on egg shells waiting for the hammer to fall. Actually, waiting for three hammers to fall. The week prior to the layoff round that could have affected me, I was told to stay close to my desk so that I could be easily reached in case I had to leave. I felt stressed and anxious as I am sure everyone else did as well.

DC: What have you learned from this experience?

SB: When you work for anyone but yourself you subrogate control over your career to that other person. You are subject to the whims of management. Some people get comfortable with what they are doing and thing that it will last forever. I am comfortable in my position, I like what I am doing and I like my company. But as a risk manager I know my relationship with my company could change in a heartbeat. Therefore, I need to hedge myself; I need to take steps to keep current with my industry and profession. I need to be in a position to take advantage of other opportunities should my situation with the company change.

DC: What are the kinds of things that you are doing to hedge yourself?

SB: I am putting feelers out and networking. I am reconnecting with people and trying to make new connections. I have to create opportunities to hedge myself.

DC: Any final thoughts?

SB: Taking things for granted is a mistake. Companies today are constrained in many different ways. Even though I survived these three (3) rounds of layoffs, my company is going through a retraction phase. We have been told that it is unlikely that there will be raises, promotions or bonuses for some time. In addition, the company is making severe spending cuts like cutting travel and other benefits.

Even if everything is going great, a company can be bought and the employees could be out of a job. A friend of mine has been working for a company for a really long time. The company was just bought by a larger company. It is likely that all of the employees, including my friend, will lose their jobs.

I am reminded of the beer commercial in which the main character says to the audience, “stay thirsty my friends.” There should always be a little fire under every employee’s behind. Keep your ear to the ground and network so that you will be aware of the opportunities in your field in the event that your work world is turned upside down.

 

Wake With Determination, Slumber in Satisfaction

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While in job search mode, the key to waking each morning with determination and sleeping well at night is productivity. Are you using your time wisely or are you merely spinning your wheels?

Charlotte Lee, Senior Vice President at Lee Hecht Harrison, recommends that job seekers invest their time and resources only in those activities that are the most productive and reap the greatest reward. Ms. Lee suggests the following schedule to optimize job search results:

Face-to-face meetings for 50% of the time. This includes attending networking conferences and meetings, job fairs, informational interviews and other meetings that get you out of the house and out from behind the computer.

Researching your target companies and industries for 20% of the time.

Communicating via emails, telephone calls, thank you notes, LinkedIn, and otherwise engaging in the world of online social media for 20% of the time.

Applying to job leads and working with recruiters and career agents for 10% of the time.

Eventually, the amount of time spent networking and attending meetings and interviews should increase to about 75%. This means less time will be spent on researching , sending emails and making telephone calls. See Charlotte Lee, Activity vs. Productivity: How to Strategically Plan Your Job Search, Workplace Insights, Lee Hecht Harrison, July 7, 2015.

There are a number of online organizers and productivity tools to help keep job searchers productive and on track. The following are just a few examples of the available apps:

Beeminder calls itself “goal-tracking with teeth.” Beeminder combines self-tracking with commitment contracts. The user sets a measurable goal and commits to meeting that goal. For example, a goal could be to cross three things off a to-do list by lunchtime. The user inputs information into Beeminder.  If the goal is met, the user moves forward. If the goal is not met, the user literally pays the price.

Dropbox is a service that keeps files safe, synced, and easy to share. Users can upload photos, documents and videos and share with anyone in the network.

Evernote is a place to keep notes, ideas, and research and to collect everything from web articles to digital images. Users can communicate, collaborate and share information in real-time with other Evernote subscribers. Evernote is like a virtual workspace.

Habitica is a free habit-building and productivity app that treats real life like a game. There are in-game rewards and punishments to motivate the user and a strong social network to inspire the user. Habitica can help the user to achieve goals of becoming healthier and more productive through gamification.

Sunrise is a free calendar made for Exchange, Google Calendar and iCloud. Sunrise also connects with Facebook, Evernote, Foursquare, Tripit, Todoist, Trello and many more apps to keep users up-to-date with all of the events happening in their lives.

Timeful is a to do list and scheduling app. Here’s how it works: the user lets Timeful know that he wants to exercise three times a week or needs to make a telephone call on a certain day. The system will make sure that the user gets these things done on time based on an understanding of his schedule, habits, needs and priorities.

Todoist is a free and simple to use to-do list and task management app for the web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Chrome, Outlook and much more. Todoist allows access to tasks and projects from multiple devices, collaboration on shared tasks, and custom designs.

Trello is a free, flexible, and visual way to organize. It is a highly customizable digital bulletin board that allows the user to see everything about a project just be glacing at the board.

Now, get to it . . .

This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.