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Give Before You Get

Job Seekers often express discomfort about networking because they feel like they’re beggars for leads, referrals, and ideas. That sense comes from a misconception and mis-application of how great networking should work.

Finding ways to be of value to your contact makes the connection much more equitable and a professional give and take.

Job seekers doing a lot of effective networking in their search are inevitably building a very valuable collection of contacts. People in a wide variety of professions, in a variety of industries, at a number of companies, etc.

Some of those contacts may be a great resource to some of your new contacts!

Offering to help them reach out to people that would be helpful to them is a great value and a great way to reciprocate in the networking process.

Asking your networking contact what challenges they are facing in their position, in their company, or in their career may trigger a recollection of someone else that may have some insight, ideas, experience, or advice for their situation.

Asking what kinds of positions they are hiring for, even if it’s not for your background, may enable you to recommend others that may fit those other roles and help in their hiring process.

Asking about hobbies, sports and other favorite pastimes may bring to mind people with like interests that may be happy to meet others that participate in the same activities.

Asking a variety of questions about your contact will invariably lead to some ideas of how you can be a valued contact to them. Asking them about themselves gets them talking and makes you more interesting to them… people like to talk about themselves, and like people that give them the opportunity!

While networking may not be the most attractive part of a job search for most people, it can be a terrific way to build relationships, a valuable list of contacts, and a way to be of value to everyone you meet!

If your networking conversations are premised on a ‘give before you get’ philosophy, you’ll find them to be far more productive, and more enjoyable as well!


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Humbled and Honored…

8. Harry Urschel @eExecutives

51,130 followers

recruiters on twitter

Privileged to be included on a list with some great people on Twitter…

 

Top 10 Most Followed Recruiters on Twitter

 

Follow the link to find other great resources for your job search.

 

 

 




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Job Hunting Is Your Job!

There are many aspects of a job search that many people dislike… and so don’t do. Unfortunately, that often results in a very prolonged job search, creating a lot of stress and frustration.

Most people have heard the cliche that a job search is a full-time job in itself, however, very few people treat it that way.

Once the mental commitment is made to view, and treat the search as a job, the process becomes more productive.

Consider these points…

 

Any job requires some unpleasant tasks

While it’s a nice fantasy to think about the job you land as a blissful experience of going from one fun and exciting task to the next… the reality is that ANY job includes some things that are less than “’fulfilling”. Yet, you do them because it’s part of the expectation from your employer, and a required part to accomplish the ultimate objectives. The same is true in a job search. While getting an offer letter may be the exciting part… there are several necessary steps to take to get to that stage.

 

Most jobs require a schedule

There are expectations and requirements in most jobs to be at the place of work, or to be engaged in certain activities during certain hours and for a required number of hours per week. Most job seekers, however, have no schedule for their day or week and drift from one task, to down time, to extra-curricular activities, to another task throughout their day. Setting, and adhering to a schedule makes the job search far more productive and shortens it’s duration.

 

Jobs have required “output”

Typically, jobs have set expectations of completed tasks or achieved results. Setting daily and weekly goals for new connections, leads, meetings, and phone calls for yourself just as an employer may have goals for your work each day will produce greater results.

 

Doing your “job” well, improves your attitude!

The best thing anyone can do for their attitude is to do the things they know they ought to do. Working hard at doing the tasks required for an effective job search can be a great way to maintain a positive mental attitude during your search. Regardless of results… getting to the end of the day or end of the week and honestly being able to say you did the things you should have been doing will help reduce stress and put things in proper perspective.

Conversely, getting to the end of the day or end of the week and realizing you didn’t execute on a great number of tasks you should have done leaves you defeated, self-critical, discouraged, and frustrated. Do what you know you ought to do!

 

The more you treat your job search in a disciplined way, as you would a full-time job, the better your attitude, and your results will be!


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Dealing With "Interview Fatigue"

I received a question that is a relevant issue for many job seekers...

How do I ward off interview fatigue?

I just completed my fourth interview for a job and there is the possibility of yet another interview. Since the first interview, this process has taken four weeks. I'm losing focus and this is affecting my ability to remain enthusiastic about this opportunity and keep re-loading my pipeline.      Help!

Sometimes a hiring process can seem to go on forever, and it creates a number of challenges for the candidate. Why do some companies take so long? What are the pitfalls? How do you keep the enthusiasm level up? And how do you manage the rest of the job search in the meantime?

Here are several points to consider...

If you lose interest, so will the employer


This is likely not news. Employers will sometimes put candidates through long interview processes because they are having a difficult time making a decision and they don't want to make a mistake by hiring the wrong candidate. When they aren't able to make a decision on their own, sometimes the process makes the decision for them. As candidates are forced to grind through the lengthy process, some will lose interest, some will drop out and some will show a lack of enthusiasm. The ones that keep shining throughout the grind, are the ones that will rise to the top, and ultimately get an offer. Showing the same level of interest in the fourth interview as in the first is critical!

A job search is a full-time job

Most people have heard this cliche before. It does have a great deal of truth to it, and the more that a job seeker treats it like their job, the better likelihood of earlier success. Any job, no matter how much you may love it, has tasks that have to be done that feel tedious, long and draining. Yet, if you are to become successful, those tasks have to be done well and with energy. The same is true in a hiring process. No matter how attractive the position seems, there will be parts of the selection process that may be less than ideal. Think of working the hiring process the same as a job in order to accomplish all the requirements regardless of how you feel about them.

It's a sales position

Not only is the job search a full-time job, it's a sales position! You are selling the value you bring to an organization to fulfill their needs and wants for the role you are pursuing. In sales, as in a job search, the client / employer may require a number of steps or "demonstrations" to determine if this "product" is right for them. Sometimes they make a decision quickly, and sometimes they do not. If you quit, or lose interest too soon, you will not make the sale. You can't predict which ones will "close" and which ones won't, so you have to be disciplined in keeping a full pipeline of new opportunities in case this one doesn't work out, and yet you have to keep the clients interest throughout the process. View yourself as a sales person that is professional, pleasantly persistent and enthusiastic throughout the process.

It's a two-way street

All that said... it's just as important for the candidate to be evaluating the potential employer as it is for the employer to be evaluating the candidate. If the employer seems to be going through extraordinary lengths to make a decision, and doesn't seem to be able to make a decision, it may be an indication of how they manage employees as well. There may be very good reasons for a lengthy process, however, it's incumbent on the candidate to be asking questions along the way.

A long selection process can certainly take a toll on the attitude and enthusiasm for a new role. Viewing the process as your "job", treat it like a professional sales person, and using the process as an opportunity to evaluate the employer as well can make the process easier.



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Picking a career?

If you're looking for career choices, this is an interesting infographic...

 

Jobs of the Future
Graphic Courtesy of: Affordable-Online-Colleges.net

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Never eat alone


If you’ve read much at all about job search, you’ve surely gotten the idea that effective networking is critical to landing a new position quickly.

Networking, however, is important for far more than a job search. Success in your career, success socially, success in charitable endeavors, and success in personal relationships can all be enhanced with effective networking.

One of my favorite books to help understand that more fully is:

never eat alone by Keith Ferrazzi

His original book has been a New York Times bestseller, full of very practical advice and inspiration. It is now updated with more current topics, encouragement, and prescriptions for building and improving your professional and personal relationships.

The biggest update to the new edition is about how to successfully utilize social media in your efforts.
What has always appealed to me about the original book, and now this update, is his emphasis on being a friend before expecting something. Being sincere and genuine is more important than any process. Building relationships instead of simply adding connections is far more enriching professionally and personally.

The same is true in social media interaction. Adding contacts alone, without relationship does little to nothing when it comes to being able to gain benefit from your networking. Staying in touch regularly is key to building those relationships. Whether it’s on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone, email, text or any other form of communication, it’s critical to turning a contact into a valued professional relationship and… friend.

The book is full of “Connectors’ Hall of Fame Profiles” that illustrate points with examples of specific famous people in history that have demonstrated their mastery of those points. The stories give real-world examples of how they are done well.

Understanding that adding real value to others in all your interactions makes all the difference in the world. Being the one that brings value instead of the one always looking for something from others makes your call welcome rather than one to avoid.

Never miss an opportunity to be a friend, form a new relationship or form a stronger relationship. Thus the title… Never eat alone.

If you want to get a far greater picture of what great networking is all about, and how you can become a better networker yourself, be sure to check out this expanded and updated edition of never eat alone!

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Ya’ Gotta Have a Card!

Job Seekers are constantly told they have to network for an effective job search. That is true, and yet so many people don’t do it… or when they do, they do it poorly.

There is plenty written on this site and so many others about how to become a better job search networker. One aspect that’s not often covered, however, is the importance of having business cards! There are many reasons they are a critical part of the process, however, a great many job seekers don’t have them, or don’t use them.

Ponder these factors…

 

Lead opportunities are limited without them.

While it’s terrific to meet someone and chat about who else they know or opportunities they may be aware of… they are often very likely to think of other information for you after you part ways. If they didn’t already know you beforehand, how will they reconnect? Leads are often missed because the person with the opportunity didn’t know how to reach you! Giving them a business card is no guarantee, however, your odds are greatly improved that they may re-contact you with new ideas, advice, referrals or leads if they have a card with your contact information!

 

Still the most dependable form of information transfer.

Smart phones, tablets, smart watches and other forms of new media transfer and storage can be tremendous tools to trade contact information. The reality, however, is that we are still in an age where only a small percentage of people have the appropriate tools, apps, or knowledge of how to use them effectively even if they have them. If you only rely on opportunities to trade information by smart phone, you will miss out on sharing contacts with the vast majority of people you meet.

 

Greater likelihood of getting theirs if you offer yours.

Ideally, you obtain the contact information from everyone you meet so that you can be the one to take the initiative to follow up… always thanking contacts for their time and consideration, and making sure you include your full contact information in an email you send them. Human nature, though, can be funny at times. Simply asking someone for their business card, will often be met with reluctance or skepticism. Offering yours and asking for theirs in exchange, however, will much more likely be met without resistance at all. If you don’t have one yourself, it puts you at a distinct disadvantage.

 

Very little excuse not to.

Professional looking business cards can be had very cheaply… or often even free. There are multiple online and local printers that offer free business cards in limited quantities… especially for job seekers. Do an online search for “free business cards” and you will find a plethora of options. You can even take advantage of multiple offers to have a variety of styles or customized information for various audiences or occasions. When they are easy to get, and very little, or no cost, it’s hard to say it’s not worthwhile.

 

While business cards are certainly not the ultimate arrow in your quiver, they are a vital tool for effective networking and follow up. As you’re preparing for your next networking meeting, informational interview, or chance meeting at the grocery store…

Ya’ Gotta Have a Card!


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Choosing how to start… Money or Experience?

As new grads begin seeking their first career positions they sometimes have options between multiple opportunities. Often there is a choice to make between an opportunity that may pay more, and one that may be an investment in their future.

While the appeal of an impressive salary is clear… both for bragging rights and the ability to pay bills and fund a lifestyle, it may not be the best long term strategy.


Many career choices have an ‘ideal’ track that produce lasting benefits throughout a career:

In Accounting, a few years at a “Big 4” CPA firm (KPMG, PWC, EY, Deloitte) will benefit a someone throughout their career.

In Marketing, a few years at a Fortune 100 Consumer Products company (e.g. P&G or others) can be a valuable asset.

In Engineering, a few years at a Fortune 100 manufacturing company (e.g. GE or others) sets someone up very well.

And in many careers, the same is true.

Someone in Accounting and Finance will see the benefit of a few years at a Big 4 firm throughout their career. They will get interviews when others won’t, and edge others out of offers simply because of that highly desirable background on their resume.

Jobs at those firms won’t necessarily offer the highest salaries in the short-run, but the investment in time and effort in those firms will pay dividends for the rest of their careers.

What choices do you have to make?

A choice that’s better as a long-term investment rather than a short-term advantage is likely to be a decision you will never regret!


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Want to improve your job search? Step away from your computer!

Your PC and the internet are clearly valuable and critical tools in an effective job search in todays market.

The vast majority of job seekers, however, spend far too much time in front of their computer and not nearly enough time in front of people that can have a much greater impact on their job search than anything they find online.

The benefits of LIMITING time in front of the PC can be tremendous!

 

Improved Attitude

One inevitable outcome of spending too much time in front of a computer screen is a more negative attitude. Reading, job-board surfing, researching and so many other tasks online are important. However, when hour after hour goes by and that’s all you do, it’s virtually impossible to feel energized, passionate, enthusiastic, and positive about your search. Then when you do go to an interview or meet someone for networking, your attitude comes across flat at best, and highly negative at worst. Breaking up your online time into smaller chunks, and deliberately spending more time with people will almost always result in projecting a better attitude.

 

Improved Communication Skills

Verbal communication skills are a muscle that atrophies without exercise. When people spend too many hours, and too many days not verbally communicating, and then get an interview, a networking meeting, or some other opportunity to communicate in person, they are never at their best. Consistent use, and practice of your verbal skills makes you so much better when you need to make the best impression. Online chats and emails are no substitute for actually speaking with someone. Practice makes you sharper and more articulate.

 

Improved Results

As I’ve written before… results in your networking are vastly improved when you meet and speak to someone face-to-face. Emails are more easily ignored, body language and passion are lost in text, and the professional presence you project can not be duplicated in words. Meeting and speaking to people in person will almost always yield better results than only trying to communicate online.

 

Don’t get holed-up in front of your computer. Use it effectively. However, become efficient and limit your time in front of your screen. The more you can talk to live people, the greater, and more rapid success you’ll have in your job search!


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Watch For News on LinkedIn!


As with so many aspects of LinkedIn, your Home Page can be a tremendous resource in a job search. The more 1st level connections you accumulate, the more useful it becomes.

The Home Page lists updates from all of your connections. They may include:

Job changes
Work anniversaries
Posts of news or comments
Comments they make on other’s posts
Upcoming events
New connections
Introductions to others
Changes to profiles
…and so much more!

Keeping in mind that LinkedIn represents your professional connections, those updates can be great pieces of market intelligence or specific leads for your search!

Did one of your connections update their title to reflect a promotion? What a great opportunity to nurture a relationship by congratulating them. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to professionally, unassumingly inquire about opportunities in their organization now that they are in a more senior role. Perhaps their promotion leaves an open position that needs to be filled. What other opportunities might you deduce from one of your connections receiving a promotion?

Did one of your connections change jobs to a new company? Are they announcing a new venture? Are they referencing someone else that works at one of your target companies? Have they reached a new anniversary milestone that makes clear they’re well entrenched at their company? Did they comment on an article that reflects your views or expertise?

These, and so many other “updates” can represent great opportunities to learn about new companies, new people, new industry ideas or trends, or further foster a valuable business relationship to further your networking opportunities for your job search and career.

Too often, people skip their home page in their quest of other information on LinkedIn. Taking the time to scroll through and creatively think of professional and mutually beneficial ways to improve the quality of your network or find new opportunities is time very well spent!

Don’t skip past your LinkedIn Home Page… look for news you can use!

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Great networkers don’t need a great resume!

So often, people agonize over creating a dynamic resume, one that will make the difference in getting the attention they need for the job of their dreams.

While I’m a proponent of having an effective resume, it’s often unnecessary if the job seeker is doing a great job of networking!

That’s a startling thought to many people when I say that. People usually think that one of the top requirements of a job search is to have an attention-getting resume.

It depends, let me explain.



When a great resume does help…
When you apply for a position where your background fits the job requirements very closely, and you can’t find an opportunity to connect directly with people at the organization… a resume that emphasizes the fit, and connects the dots effectively between the requirements and your qualifications can be an important tool to gaining interest. In particular, where you have very sought after, and difficult to find experience and skills, a resume where those skills jump off the page can have a tremendous impact.


When a great resume doesn’t do much good…
For most people, however, jobs they apply to are close to their experience, however, not an exact match. In those cases, a resume is very much a hit and miss proposition, regardless of how well it is written. When a recruiter or hiring manager reviews multiple resumes, they simply look for which ones seem to match the closest to the job requirements. A marginal fit, will not often get a call.


How networking minimizes the importance of a resume…
When a job isn’t an exact match to your experience, you’re not likely to get a call from sending in a resume. However, if you are talking to someone in the organization, or referred by a respected contact, the value you bring can be communicated even when the background isn’t perfect.

Ultimately, a hiring manager wants to hire the best person for the job and the organization, not just the best skills listed on a document. The best person may have some of the skills, however, bring a great deal of value in their communication skills, cultural fit, determination, ability to get things done, and other less tangible qualities that can’t be demonstrated well on paper.

When interest is raised through face to face communication, the resume simply becomes a tool to confirm what they already know about you. They want to see that your experience has been what you’ve told them it is, however, they are not determining their selection process based on the resume at that point. A basic document which simply shows your career history with responsibilities serves the purpose.


If you’ve read much about an effective job search at all, you certainly know that networking is, by far, the primary way that people find jobs. Focusing your time, effort, and attention to becoming a great networker will be far more fruitful than taking days or weeks to create a written masterpiece! Don’t take a good resume too lightly, however, certainly don’t value too highly what a great resume will do!


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The 20-Minute Networking Meeting

I’m not generally one to recommend books to job seekers very often. Mostly because I know that people will rarely read them. There is a great deal of valuable information online for free (including on this site!), and people usually don’t go spend the money.

This is one book, however, that I do highly recommend…

The 20-Minute Networking Meeting: How Little Meetings Can Lead To Your Next Big Job   by Marcia Bollinger

The book had been referred to me a few times over the course of a few months when it first came out, and I, like others, just never got around to it. Finally, after hearing it brought up enough times, I read it… and WOW!

Marcia Bollinger, a recruiter like myself, articulated what great networking should look like as well as I’ve ever heard. She illustrates through real-life stories what most people do wrong, and gives terrific instruction and examples of what could be done right!

Her style of writing is very easy to digest, and the book is a quick read. Most importantly, however, page after page I was agreeing with her about networking blunders and what a highly effective meeting can look like. It takes preparation, and a conscientious effort to stay on track, and on time. She describes each in great detail.

While there certainly is a lot of great information out there about networking, this book is a direct, concise, and spot-on tutorial on how to do it well.

I have no stake in this book, and get no compensation if you buy it… but The 20-Minute Networking Meeting is a book well worth reading if you want your networking efforts to be far more productive!


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