It feels like you’re doing something wrong when work is hard to come by. Finding a job is supposed to be as easy as writing your resume, searching online for opportunities, sending in your resume, getting an interview, and then going to work. But if that doesn’t pan out, you’re supposed to be able to mine your network for opportunities. However there are often misperceptions and misunderstandings when it comes to professional networking and referrals. Below are three common myths I’ve come across:
Posts Tagged ‘Networking’
It’s that busy time of the year when we meet friends, acquaintances or new faces at parties, gatherings and events and will be asked “what do you do?”
To help get you ready for this year’s round of holiday celebrations, here’s some advice to help those of you who are employed best answer this question before you find yourself looking like a deer in the headlights.
If you want to stand out like a blazing star atop a beautiful Christmas tree this season, send a holiday card.
Send the cards to everyone in your professional network, including people who you’ve met through job interviews and at professional organization meetings.
“It’s not a Christmas card. It’s not a Hanukkah card. It’s a holiday card,” said Ford R. Myers, an executive coach and author of “Get the Job You Want, Even When No One Is Hiring.” Choose a simple, non-denominational card with no pictures of Santa nor any holly or a menorah. A card from a charity or cause you are active with is “absolutely perfect,” he said. So is one that seems a little generic or plain vanilla.
Your goal is twofold…
Networking has always been a key part of the job search process. It’s often not what you know but who you know that lands you a job. Your network can be a valuable source in hearing about jobs that aren’t yet posted, making connections to hiring managers or employers of interest or providing a reference.
Today, networking becomes even more instant with the Internet and the various resources available at your fingertips. I’ve always been a huge advocate of young professionals – both internship and entry-level job candidates – taking advantage of what Twitter has to offer.
Twitter is a great resource for meeting industry professionals and leaders, discovering helpful blogs and resources and keeping up on the latest news. In order for young professionals to make the most out of Twitter, they should follow these steps:
For years, people have been asking me for help with their networking Elevator Speeches. And for years, I’ve been saying “When are you going to use that Elevator Speech?” In regular old human conversation, there just aren’t that many opportunities for us to launch into a thirty-second diatribe about what we do professionally – not if we want to be polite, anyway.
Regular conversation doesn’t happen in thirty-second chunks. A typical networking conversation tends to flow more like this:
Reunions bring up such questions about ourselves, our ability to connect and to sell our talents to people who already know us.
I know this from going to a reunion of Newsday staff just last week – where I followed some advice of Gordon S. Curtis, author of Well Connected.
“The key is: Surprise them with your interest in them – more than just obligatory questions,” he said. “One of the most important things is for them to walk away with an ‘Oh – I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed that person’ feeling.”
Or else you could surprise them on how much you already know about them – or how much you remember about them from your time together. Either way, your main priority is re-establishing a connection, a relationship, not asking them for career advice or a lead for your start-up business, said Curtis, who is an executive transition career coach practicing near Boston.
I walked into a friend’s company yesterday to visit, and man there was an energy I had not seen in a while which was emanating from each cubicle and office. People were on the phone recruiting to fill positions throughout Texas and all over the country – a very good sign. As a result of the increased business, the company is hiring and interviewing constantly so there was a stream of candidates coming through the office. One job candidate walked by and took it upon herself to stop and introduce herself to me. She did not know who I was, just a visitor but she wanted to introduce herself and she did so with a smile and great energy. When she finished I asked my friend, who owns the business, who was that? He quickly answered “She will work here” because he knew I was interested in anyone who presented themselves that way – a winner in the making.
We meet people all the time and I like to remind myself that these serendipitous meetings may turn into a job, a career or an important friendship. But, we walk by these situations all the time, missing out on opportunities to meet someone new or missing out on opportunities to present ourselves as we would like to be perceived. Here are a few points that may help you make the most of that next encounter:
Actually, since you’re reading this blog in particular, you should have started networking long ago. (Always network before you need something!) You hear a lot about networking, but you never hear why you should include it into your day-to-day tasks. Whether you are weighing the benefits of networking or do not know where to begin, know that it is important to begin networking right now.
It’s a beautiful evening full of pasta salads, watermelon and neighbors sharing a summer repast. You try to decide whether to join the softball game or conversations under the trees.
Then you spot the head of the marketing firm where you just sent your resume. You switch from low-key friendly to intense elevator pitch mode and head her way.
Summer professional networking can show up around a picnic table or on a golf course, and those social occasions require different approaches than fall professional events. Read the social cues and remember: It’s a fun evening not a business event…
Most of the startup advice one reads in journals and magazines is basically “and the world is round” advice from the College of Obvious Things. Like the young whippersnapper in his first three-button suit and lace up shoes who interrupts the strategy meeting with “I am for profit,” this advice makes true entrepreneurs cringe.
If you are about to take off with your own business, by all means read everything you can on the subject. It is legal to learn from others who have traveled the startup journey.
Here are five examples of advice from my little book “StartUp, 100 Tips To Get Your Business Going,” that might be new, useful and even counter-intuitive.