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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Job Search Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 15 Dec 2015 1:58 PM | Anonymous

    By Amanda Augustine
    TheLadders

    When you’re looking for a job, never rely on only one method to source opportunities. I recommend:

    1. Applying to (and properly following up on) online job listings
    2. Networking with your social and professional contacts
    3. Engaging with recruiters
    By incorporating all three methods into your search strategy, you will maximize the number of leads – published and unpublished – you can pursue.

    Here are a few tips to help you take full advantage of each job sourcing method:

    Online Applications

    CareerXroad’s 2012 Source of Hire Survey showed that among the 200+ companies who were surveyed, 20.1 percent of their external new hires credited job boards with finding the job posting. What does that mean? If you’ve given up on job postings and applications, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities! I recommend applying to around five well-fitted opportunities each week. There are a few things you can do to improve your return on investment with each application.

    • Do your research. I know it can be hard, but fight the urge to apply to any job you qualify for before you’ve learned more. Granted, this doesn’t apply to confidential postings, but for jobs where you know the company’s name, do the research. Review the employment section of the company’s site, use resources such as Vault and Glassdoor, and talk to connections who’ve worked at the company to get a better understanding of its corporate culture.

      It’s great if you have the right skills and experience to do the job, but chances are you won’t make it through the interview process if you don’t fit in with the team. And frankly, you probably wouldn’t enjoy working there in the long run. Whenever possible, review the latest news articles using 
      Google News  and financial reports to get a better understanding of the health of the organization.
    • Apply to the right jobs. Job descriptions often contain a laundry list of nice-to-have items the hiring manager wishes the ideal candidate would possess; however, they rarely expect a candidate to have all of those. Your job is to zero in on the must-have core requirements for the role. If you possess these must-haves, apply away. (And don’t forget to properly follow up.)

      I recommend using a 
      T-format cover letter to spell out your qualifications, and make sure the key terms from the job description are woven into your resume. Your resume gets 6 seconds to make an impression with a recruiter – make it as easy as possible for them to quickly see why you’re a good fit for the role.

    Networking

    Whether you love it or loathe it, networking is an important part of any job seeker’s strategy in today’s job market. It will help you learn about job leads that may not be published anywhere else. Another benefit is the possibility of getting an employee referral from one of your connections for a position. This type of referral can be very powerful – it can help you bypass the gatekeeper and gain valuable insight for the interview process.

    • Map out your network and grow it. In a recent post I discussed the two types of network connections that are considered most valuable during your search – professional connections you’ve made during your career, and the social butterflies among your group of friends who can connect you to other acquaintances in your current or desired line of work.

      Before you tap into this network, develop a strong professional online presence that aligns with your resume, supports your career goals and showcases your expertise. Make sure you’re connected to all of your contacts online so you can easily view their work experience and other connections.
    • Get involved and show off your expertise. If you feel your current network is not very strong, then it’s especially important to get out there – physically and virtually – and develop new relationships with those in your field. This could be in the form of joining online groups and getting involved in discussions; joining and participating in Meetup groups related to your profession; reconnecting with alumni from your school; or attending professional trade shows, conferences or membership meetings focused specifically on your targeted industry or line of work.

      Don’t discount recruiting events, job fairs and other events dedicated to job seekers in your field. Not only will you meet recruiters, but you can also develop valuable connections with other job seekers, doubling your search efforts.

    Recruiters

    Job seekers are often skeptical about working with recruiters, either because they’ve been burned in the past or can’t stand the lack of response. I agree – it’s not an ideal situation for a job seeker. You can’t expect the recruiter to treat you like the customer because in their world, you’re not. However, they can be a valuable source of job leads and company insight when you’re the right fit for their sourcing needs. There are two primary ways you can capitalize on recruiter engagement:

    • Build a strong professional online presence so recruiters find you. If you’re following the tips I mentioned for networking, you should be set from this perspective. When your resume is uploaded to sites such as TheLadders and you have a polished profile on sites like LinkedIn, recruiters will find you as they search for potential candidates. Also, recruiters typically monitor online groups relevant to their recruiting needs in search of candidates. Your activity within professional groups and through online discussions will help you build your personal brand and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
    • Develop a recruiter outreach strategy and put it to practice. This requires you to research which recruiting firms source for positions in your industry or line of work, to identify which recruiters at those firms can be contacted, and to send tailored messages to those people. I recommend using sites such as Oya and TheLadders’ Follow Recruiter feature to find the right recruiters, and then visiting their individual websites or LinkedIn profiles to locate contact information and reach out to them. Check out these sample messages to get an idea of how you can communicate with the recruiters.

      This is a numbers game, so make it a goal to reach out to three to five new recruiters each week, and follow up every couple weeks – you never know when they’ll have the right opportunity for you and will respond.

    Over the years, my team of career coaches and I have learned that different job search methods work for different people. Some job seekers will get a great deal of response from their online applications, while others gain much more traction through working with recruiters. And then there will be others who find their personal or professional contacts to be the best source of leads.

    The key is to incorporate each method into your search and see where you gain the most traction. Give each method a good try for at least three months before you give up on it. For many of you, this will require you to go outside of your comfort zone.

    As you get a better idea of what works for you and suits your personality, you can move more of your job sourcing activities to that method. I don’t recommend giving up any one method entirely – you might miss out on opportunities that way. But you should spend the bulk of your time on the activities that yield the best results for you.

    Also, remember that these strategies can work in tandem. It’s important not only to apply to a job listing, but also to utilize your network for insight and employee referrals.

  • 15 Dec 2015 1:56 PM | Anonymous

    By Amanda Augustine
    TheLadders

    Most job seekers do not follow up after they hit the “submit” button on a job application. By following up at the right time and with an appropriate message, you differentiate yourself from the competition. Here are 5 rules to help ensure that your follow-up tactics are greeted with appreciation, rather than resentment:

    1.  Give it a week. Follow up approximately one week after the job application deadline (if listed). This gives the recruiter enough time to review the resumes. If the job posting didn’t list an application deadline, the rule of thumb is to follow up one week after your initial application.

    2.  Read the fine print. If  the description states “no phone calls,” do not call to follow up. If you do, the recruiter will think that you cannot follow simple directions or did not read the job listing carefully. If the job listing didn’t state such a condition, call once and ask how to follow up again before doing so.

    3.  Ask informative questions. Whether you’re sending an email or calling the recruiter, your communication needs to sound confident – not desperate. Ask questions that will help you understand your chances of gaining traction with this job. Inquire if any decision has been made, and ask if it’s acceptable to follow up in another week if you haven’t heard back from them, as well as determine the time frame for the hiring process.

    4.  Know when to move on. Keep following up once a week, each week, until their responses become vague – such as “don’t contact us, we’ll contact you” – or non-existent. At that point, it’s safe to let this one go and set your sights on other prospects.

    5.  Keep up the momentum.  Regardless if you gain traction with this role, continue applying to jobs online, pursuing opportunities through networking, and engaging with recruiters each week to maintain an active job pipeline. This will help stop you from dwelling on one job, as well as improve your chances of landing the right job.

    Follow these rules to improve your response rate and gain traction in your job search.

  • 15 Dec 2015 1:54 PM | Anonymous

    By Cindy Kraft, RCPBS, RCOIS, CCM, CCMC, CPRW, JCTC
    CFO-Coach.com

    I love Dr. Gregory House, the crotchety but lovable protagonist in the series House. I was reminded of his favorite expression “everybody lies” in some recent conversations.

    The first time was during a monthly Ask the Coach call. There was a job seeker on the call who was asking my thoughts about taking a position that would move him several steps backward in his career with a company that was about to be acquired. Among other things, I mentioned the fact that anytime there is organizational change, there is often also personnel change. He said the person who interviewed him assured him his position, should he choose to accept it, would be secure. Before I could seal my lips, the words “everybody lies” escaped.

    Not that it would be an intentional lie, or even a conscious lie … but who, in today’s volatile job market, can make that kind of a claim? Unless, of course, their magic ball allowed them to see into the future. The best case scenario would be that the assurance of a secure position was what all the parties wanted – not that it was something that could be signed, sealed, and permanently delivered.

    I couldn’t have scripted the next caller’s question any better. He said, “I had two interviews and they told me they would be in touch within a week to 10 days, and I haven’t heard anything from either of them.” Again, I wish I wasn’t so spontaneous, but the words just rolled off my tongue. “Everybody lies.” He had very clearly made my point.

    Now, I have no reason to believe that the company didn’t sincerely believe that it would be able to make a decision and be back in touch within a week to 10 days. But things happen. Especially in a job search. Have you noticed how those time frames that are offered up seem to be so nebulous and frustratingly out of reach most of the time?

    A few days later I had lunch with a few recruiters from the networking gig I had previously crashed – but this time I was invited, personally. These are internal recruiters who work for a single organization … different than independent retained and contingency recruiters who serve many corporate clients.

    As we discussed the whole hiring process (which I lovingly refer to as a Train Wreck), the “everybody lies” phrase began circling again as we discussed the overall breakdown in communication that accompanies the process. Hiring managers that convey incompletely or inadequately, and some times ineptly, their needs; recruiters who are then forced to be creative in filling in the blanks; candidates who fail to market themselves effectively (could this be classified as lying by omission in some cases?); candidates who embellish (no comment), or worse; and of course, the old … “we’ll be in touch” zinger that is uttered after the interview.

    You get the picture. Most of these situations don’t begin with the intent to lie, but some do end up as inaccuracies, misstatements, gross exaggerations, and yes, even fiction. My point is not that people knowingly lie. My point is really that people will say whatever they believe a person wants or needs to hear in order for the conversation or process to keeping moving forward.

    In other instances, we offer opinions and solutions and make statements based on our own understanding that is borne of our unique experiences. What we sometimes say is not “the” truth, but “our” truth.

    Circling back to the job search process, the best way to keep those “lies” in check is by maintaining control … to the extent possible. For example, when the “we’ll be in touch in a week” phrase is offered up following an interview, don’t just say thanks and leave. Rather, politely request permission to follow up with them if you haven’t heard back within that time frame. That way, at least in that situation, you won’t be sitting around wondering what your next step should be and when it should occur.

    And that’s the truth … at least from my perspective!

  • 15 Dec 2015 1:50 PM | Anonymous
    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Many job applications require that you answer an extensive set of essay questions, even before you get an interview. These questions might transport you back to the days of college essay applications – days you may have thought were safely behind you.

    Are you faced with a list of questions to answer on a job application? Read the following carefully: The absolute most important thing you can do – in fact you MUST do – on that application is to answer the questions. When I say “answer the questions” I don’t mean write something in the box provided. I mean answer the questions.

    Seems simple enough, right? But many of the job applications I review make a cardinal error. Sure, there’s an answer in the box provided, but it’s an answer to some other question than the one the company has asked.

    For instance, one company asked the candidate to speak of a measure an employer had set and to report how he had compared to that measure. The candidate wrote about the measure and then reported how he had measured up to other people in the company instead of to the standard itself. Red flag goes up – it sounds like this candidate is hiding something. And he was. I coached him to tell the truth, and we found a way to state it so that it still sounded impressive!

    I once gave a talk to a group of students applying to law school. I asked them, “If a school requested a 500-word essay, would you submit a 511-word essay?” One of the potential law school applicants said that he would have no problem doing so. Guess what? The admissions committee would be justified in choosing not to read a single one of those 511 words. If you were an admissions officer, would you want someone in your law school who could not follow instructions?

    Another common tendency is to provide more information than the company has requested. This tendency can get you into trouble. For instance, a newspaper asked how the candidate had become interested in the field of journalism. The candidate wrote almost an entire paragraph about why she did not want to be a lawyer even though she had attended law school. Somehow she read into the question something that simply was not there. I made sure she wrote a great story about her path to journalism, instead of an apology about why she did not do something else.

    It’s more difficult than you might think to answer questions and to answer them accurately and well. If you are working on a set of essay questions for a job or college application, get a second pair of eyes to make sure your answers have addressed the questions asked – no more and no less.

    Don’t shoot yourself in the foot! If you truly answer the questions, you will have a shot of getting an interview – where you will get to answer yet more questions, and maybe have a chance to elaborate on the things you were so smart to leave out of your essays.
  • 15 Dec 2015 1:43 PM | Anonymous

    By Cindy Kraft, RCPBS, RCOIS, CCM, CCMC, CPRW, JCTC
    CFO-Coach.com

    With the average job seeker changing jobs every three years, it is likely that at some point in the future you will be looking for a new position. Being a competitive candidate who stands out from the competition requires both long and short-term strategies. Here are five sure-fire ways to kill your chances of being viewed as a desirable candidate.

    1. Confusing experience with performance.

    It is not what you do or have done that a company cares about. What it does care about is how you delivered and what the measurable impact was to the organization. In the world of sales, it is the difference between being sold something (which is unappealing to most) and making the decision to buy (on our terms).

    Selling a prospective company would be akin to relying on experience, credentials, education, and perhaps, even the companies for whom you’ve worked. That sales pitch probably won’t work.

    A company wants to buy the right candidate, not be sold anycandidate. That means positioning yourself as a problem solver … the answer to what they need. A company does not hire a candidate because there is an empty corner office with a CFO name plate on the door. They hire because they have a pain, a problem, a challenge and they want it solved. Because buying decisions are emotional, solving a company’s pain hits the emotion button and allows a prospect to buy a solution.

    2. Becoming unemployed before you have a new position.

    One core message echoed by recruiters throughout the recent Kennedy conference was …We want passive candidates and we are actively recruiting them through social networks.

    The time to begin positioning yourself is while you are employed, i.e., a passive candidate. No matter your qualifications and expertise and even your contributions, the moment your company is acquired or merged and you find yourself on the street, your marketable value can take a serious hit. For those job search candidates who clog the job boards with resumes that read like job descriptions, you might be taking an even harder hit. One retained recruiter even went so far as to say that “creating too much visibility in the job boards is like committing career suicide.”

    3. Being INvisible.

    If you aren’t showing up in Google, Linked In, Zoom Info, Ziggs, and Naymz, you probably aren’t on the radar of the folks who need to know about you. One recruiter said he found a prospect on Linked In, Googled him, and then jumped to Zoom Info to find the candidate’s telephone number. How many opportunities are you missing by not being where recruiters are looking?

    At lunch with a local recruiter recently, he told me that while he empathizes with the unemployed, his client (the company) is not paying him to present unemployed candidates. If you can’t be found or you are sending mixed messages, chances are very good recruiters will not be calling. If your online presence doesn’t align with your resume; there is nothing to add credibility to the statements in your resume; or if you simply can’t be found because you are invisible, you could be digitally dead.

    4. Including references on your resume.

    If you are including references on your resume, stop now and hit the delete button. And don’t stop until they are gone from your resume. First, the resume is not the time to provide references.

    More importantly, references provide great sourcing data for recruiters. While they might not be interested in you, Mr. Candidate, your references … who are typically more senior than you … are a great source of potential candidates for resourceful recruiters.

    5. Using a work email or phone number.

    This sends the absolute wrong message to a prospective employer or company. Since previous behavior is indicative of future behavior, you are telling a prospect that you conduct personal business on company time … and the logical presumption is that you will also behave the same way when you are ready to move on from your next position.

    Use a cell phone number with a professional voice mail message and a personal, professional-sounding, email address that is strictly for your job search.

  • 15 Dec 2015 1:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Lisa Rangel, CPRW, PHR, CEIC, CJSS, MCS, SNCS & OPNS
    Chameleon Resumes

    With all the job search activities a job seeker has to do in this employment marketplace to conduct a successful job search, it can easily become overwhelming.

    Submitting resumes to job postings, going to networking events, reaching out to your contacts and introducing yourself to new people at target companies—and we have not even included social media interactions, interview preparation and many other actions. It’s enough to make your head spin, if you let it.

    Through my years of recruiting and job search consulting, I have boiled all of the activity down to one real job search activity metric that needs to be tracked. Tracking this metric each week provide a litmus test for you to determine if all of your social media interactions, in-person venues, online research time and phone activity is purposefully focused or just plain busy work. You ask, “What is this one metric, Lisa?”

    The metric to track is:

    How many conversations are you having each week with people that can help you with your job search?
    (to be clear, I define a ‘conversation’ as a back-and-forth dialogue about your job search among two or more people that can happen over the phone, in person or in email.)

    Yes, that’s it. That is what all of this activity comes down to, in my opinion.

    The number of conversations per week in an active job search can vary based on the person’s situation—but I would say any active search with less than 5-10 conversations will experience slow progress. Ask yourself, is all of this social media posting, resume submission, networking event attending, coffee meeting, lead generation, online research and blog writing activity getting you qualitative conversations with the right people who will lead you to getting hired?

    I pose this question to job seekers often. This is often the pivotal point missing from the job search when people are experiencing lackluster results and bordering on job search burnout. Diagnostic conversations I have with frustrated job seekers who are not seeing results can often go like this:

    JobSeeker: I am spending 10-30 hours a week on my job search and I am not receiving many (or any) calls for job interviews. I am getting really frustrated.

    Me: What activities are you doing for your job search?

    Job Seeker: I do all this research on line for jobs and I have submitted to over 150+ job postings over the last three months. I have received 2 phone calls for interviews and I am frustrated.

    Me: How many conversations have you had with people at the companies or people who can introduce you to hiring managers are these companies during the course of those 150+ submissions?

    Job Seeker: Well, I do not really talk to anyone at the companies directly at this point. I hope they call me when I submit my resume… I mainly submit through job postings and attend job seeker support groups.

    Me: Are you speaking to contacts that are employed, as well? Are you asking your network at these events you attend who they know at those companies to help you gain an introduction?

    Job Seeker: Not really. In hindsight, I am asking if they know of open jobs that I can apply to…

    You see it all comes back to the conversations you are having to gauge if the activities you are doing are moving your job search forward. Here are other ideas to help you audit your effectiveness:

    • Are you posting on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter but not getting much from it? What do your profiles look like when people find you? When was the last time you reached out to a person from these mediums to speak on the phone or meet for coffee in a public place? Use social medium as a gateway to conversations.
    • Not see much activity after a networking event? Are you following up properly after a networking event with people who can provide you introductions or be a conduit to other influencers? The job you find probably won’t come directly from the networking event—you need to follow up with people after the event to find those gold nuggets.
    • Are you researching for hours? Feeling like you are not getting anywhere? Ask yourself how many outbound calls or emails to PEOPLE did you make/send as a result of that research. Sending emails to job postings does not count as communication activity. People hire people…so reach out to people and track it accordingly.
    • Submitting to job postings? I wouldn’t say stop, but for each submission you make, spend time finding a possible hiring manager to introduce yourself to and/or find contacts that can help you with an introduction to the firm.

    The goal of all your job search activity is to generate conversations that advance your job search. Ask yourself before your next job search action, “How is this going to help me chat with a person about my search?” to help you stay focused on the right activities to pursue.

  • 14 Dec 2015 11:41 AM | Anonymous

    By Jack Mulcahy, ACRW
    Jack Mulcahy Resume Services

    Why is it that the resume business seems to dry up during the months of July and August, and again during November and December? “That’s easy,” you’ll say. “Everybody goes on vacation during those times. Nobody’s hiring.”

    While it’s true that quite a few vacations happen during the aforementioned periods, one thing that never takes a vacation is job openings. The widget assembler who gets a better offer in July isn’t going to wait til September to leave the job and create the opening, right? Nor is the CFO going to hold off a few months until “vacation season” is over to announce her retirement.

    So why aren’t you taking advantage of the summer months? Job-hunting is a full-time job that doesn’t take time off for vacations or sick days. You should be doing something every day that pushes you close to your employment goal.

    As noted at the beginning of this article, the resume business dries up during July and August, and again during November and December. If your competition’s out taking those months off, doesn’t that improve the possibilities for you, even if only slightly?

    Successful people develop a talent for seeing opportunity where others do not. It’s reminiscent of the story of two rival shoe salesmen who were on the same ocean liner. The ship suffered some mechanical upset and they found themselves on the proverbial desert island, populated by friendly people who wore no shoes in the tropical weather.

    At the end of their stay on the island, each salesman communicated to his home office. The first one’s communique said simply, “Desert island with no opportunity. Nobody wears shoes.” The second salesman’s communique said, “Unlimited opportunity here! Everybody needs shoes!”

    Opportunities exist everywhere; you simply must learn to discern them. Some cases will be fairly obvious; an island full of barefoot people just waiting for you to come along. Others won’t be as easily recognized; a vice president who steps down, enabling a manager to take his place, which leaves an opening for that manager’s job which you just know you could do. The job you know you want to do.

    The point is, job openings don’t go on vacation. You must follow the news from every company that might be a target every day, and be aware of every move, every opening created by a move. How else are you going to know when that vice president decides to leave?

  • 14 Dec 2015 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    By Beverly Harvey
    HarveyCareers

    Whether you receive a rejection call, letter, email, or no response at all, it is important to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your self-worth. It most likely will take many rejections before you receive an offer.

    Learning how to deal with rejection will keep you from sinking into a place of immobilizing despair that prevents forward motion.

    Sigmund Freud said, “Sometimes when we are going through pains of rejection, it feels like a global conspiracy.” Those pains of rejection may include sadness, frustration, anger, uselessness, and unworthiness. The main reason people see rejection as pain is because they see it as loss of control and most everyone fears loss of control. Fortunately, there are things you can do that can help you handle rejection with dignity and purpose.

    1. Be aware of your reaction to rejection. Being rejected can feel like a violation of your expectations. This is why you feel offended when you are rejected. When the rejection is very painful or unexpected, it can be scary, making you feel as though the world you live in is unsafe and malevolent. When things do not go the way you expect, you may feel devastated and powerless, especially if you are very attached to a particular outcome.”

      Recognize your thoughts and emotions and realize that it is what you do in response to these thoughts and emotions that determines how you feel about yourself and your job search. You need to acknowledge the rejection, harness your thoughts, and realize that this is part of the process and you’re going to receive several rejections before you secure your next position.

    2. Talk to people you trust. Feelings of rejection may cause you to want to isolate yourself from others to protect yourself from further pain. However, this will only feed the negative emotions of rejection. So, be sure to connect with others—like your career coach, a job search group, a religious group, a mentor, or close friends.

    3. Don’t take it personally. It’s business. In most cases rejection in a job search is more about the company than it is about you personally. Many hiring managers are risk-adverse and fear making a mistake that will cost the company money. Therefore, they are extremely cautious. They reject candidates who don’t appear to be an undeniable perfect fit. While you may feel that you exceed the requirements posted in the job description, perhaps not all of the requirements were disclosed. Alternatively, there may have been an internal candidate that they wanted to promote into the position and posting the position was simply a requirement of the organization.

    4. Ask the interviewer for constructive feedback. Ask him/her what qualifications, credentials, or experience you were missing. If you still feel that you were 100 percent qualified, ask the interviewer what qualifications the selected candidate had that triggered his/her hiring. While it’s too late to defend your candidacy if you have the qualifications mentioned, it may give you some insight into what qualifications you need to articulate more clearly in your next interview.

    5. Avoid over thinking the rejection. Don’t beat yourself up. Realize you are not the perfect candidate for every position you may pursue and you may never know the reason why. Take a minute to reflect on the last time you hired someone: Did you spell out every single qualification and credential you wanted for the position? Most likely you only communicated the most important ones. Then during the interview, you drilled down on details and decided who would be the best fit. Chemistry plays a large role. The hiring manager needs to feel like you are someone that he/she could work with.

    6. Take action and move on—you can only control the controllables. Increase and expand your network and job search activities. Understand that your job search is going to take aggressive action and you don’t have time to worry about recruiters and hiring managers who don’t understand your value or are too consumed with doubt and fear to make a decision.

      The actor, Sylvester Stallone, stated, “I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.”


      Earl G. Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise Magazine stated, “We keep going back, stronger, not weaker, because we will not allow rejection to beat us down. It will only strengthen our resolve. To be successful there is no other way.”


    7. Develop accomplishment stories to overcome any objections before they are raised. If you know there is an objection that employers will raise, develop a story to talk about before the objection arises that will overpower and dispel the objection.

    8. Keep a positive mental attitude. Log every accomplishment and contribution you have made to every employer in a journal. Record your greatest challenges and how you handled them. Write about a time when you were asked to take on a totally new role and explain how you handled it. Review and add additional details to these log entries frequently. This journal will help you concentrate on your value. It’s also a great resource for creating accomplishment stories for your interviews.
  • 14 Dec 2015 11:35 AM | Anonymous

    By Lisa Rangel
    Chameleon Resumes

    Attending a networking event this week and want a game plan to succeed after the event? Or just returned from a networking gathering and not sure what to do with those business cards you received? Well, you have stumbled upon the right article to help you.  Whether you are looking for a new job or growing your business or both, effective networking follow-up is a skill that can help you achieve your goals.

    • According to the latest study from CareerXRoads, more than 27% of external hires in America are from referralsIn fact, it’s the top external source of hires today.
    • According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals. A Nielsen Study cited clients are four times more likely to buy when being referred from someone they know and trust.

    So we know why we network, but what do you do to follow up after a networking event? After all, It’s what you do after the event that matters, as that is where the real work begins!  Here are some suggestions of what to do:

    1. Google their name – You’d be amazed at what you can find by Googling a person. You can find additional information to help you with reasons to connect—or not to do so. This info can help with all steps on this list.
    2. Make notes on what happened at the event, record your thoughts and create a list of actions to implement.
    3. Write an email indicating that you enjoyed meeting them and why it makes sense to keep chatting.
    4. Start a dialogue to stay in touch, if no need to meet—ask them what they thought of the event via email.
    5. Connect with a LinkedIn invitation including a note that you enjoyed meeting at the event where you met.
    6. Via email, suggest a 15-minute phone call, be clear on the purpose and how it can benefit you both to do so.
    7. Here’s a novel idea:  just call the person…indicate that you enjoyed meeting them and would like to keep the conversation going. Ask if they prefer to schedule a phone chat or coffee meeting as a follow-up.
    8. Propose a face-to-face meeting over coffee right out of the gate with contacts that have the most potential, who interest you most, or simply where it makes sense.  Show interest in what they do and who they are.
    9. Follow the person on Twitter. This can provide real time data to improve the content of your communication.
    10. If you see a personal connection outside of work and/or it makes sense, connect on Facebook.
    11. Do not automatically add them to any email list you may have! Instead, send an email asking if they would like to join your email list since you thought, based on your conversation, the content may be of interest. Don’t spam!
    12. Enter the information into your contact management system. A contact made today, may not bring you  business today, but that person may be the resource you needed (or needed you) for a situation in the future.
    13. Look to influence. See how you can introduce two people who can help each other and ask to make that introduction…it’s good karma, as you are always remembered as the person who made the introduction.
    14. Thank the host of the event—a great way to start a connection that you did not have before.
    15. Ideally make contact within 48 hours, but don’t fail to reach out if it is later than that time frame. I have reached out 6 months after the initial meeting and have it turn out well—but this is not recommended at all!!
    16. Look for people who can influence your business or job search—not just give you business or hire you. Influencers are more impactful than direct clients or hiring managers, since they introduce many opportunities.
    17. Search for collaborators and joint venture partners. The best way to grow is by collaborating with others.
    18. Send an article or book reference in an email or snail mail. This will show that you listened to the conversation.

    Networking can take time and energy if you let it, or it can be integrated into your daily activities with a simple change in mindset to be more effortless. A small, consistent investment of time each week can pay off huge dividends in the future for you and your network.  Take some of the actions above and see the good that happens… Good luck!

  • 14 Dec 2015 11:00 AM | Anonymous
    By Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW
    Absolute Advantage

    “Collecting” exceptional references is a key part of managing your career. Ideally – and depending on level/position – you should secure references in writing from your immediate manager/supervisor, a customer/client or two, and possibly a peer and your manager’s boss for *each* position you’ve held.These are best obtained as soon as possible after your announced departure (presuming you are leaving on great terms with an adequate period of notice).

    In a number of instances, it makes sense to offer to provide talking points to each person you ask for a reference – bullets that speak to the salient points you’d like that particular person to address. It’s not unusual for a person to ask you to write your own reference letter – for their review/signature.

    Letters of commendation and reference are useful not only for the obvious purpose (as leave-behinds in an interview – or when asked up front to provide “three letters of recommendation”). They can provide exceptional fodder for your cover letters used as part of your job search. I call the process “pull-quoting” – where you extract a key line or two from your top three letters of reference and place them at the midway point in a cover letter. You can introduce this section with a simple line: “You may find the following extracts from letters of recommendation useful in evaluating my candidacy.”

    Even letters of reference written some time ago (and even many years ago) can provide value in a job search, particularly if you have collected a number over the years and a consistent theme is echoed throughout. In other cases, where you may have lost contact with some earlier managers in your career and have been unsuccessful in reestablishing a relationship or finding an individual using Google and LinkedIn, a copy of the original letter of recommendation can serve a valuable role as a reference on your behalf.

    Maintain a binder of these letters – don’t give away originals (unless someone provides you with multiple copies on original letterhead that are signed); instead, provide photocopies of the originals. Collected over the lifespan of a career, these testimonials paint a vivid picture of the value you have delivered. It’s a useful strategy to re-read these documents as you enter each new job search – rarely will you have in one place such a powerful boost to your self-esteem!

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