Archive for March, 2012

Networking is usually the best way to find a job. But growing a network takes time so you want to build it before you need it. Here’s how to start growing your job search network today.

Employed or not, spend at least 30 minutes per day actively reinforcing your brand and growing your network through the activities listed below.

To excel at networking, the key question to ask is not “what can you do for me?” but rather what can I do for you? The more you give to your network, the more you can get from it.

1. Get an easy-to-remember email address. A good format is firstname.lastname@webmail.com where “webmail” is Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc. Use this address for job search/work purposes only.

2. Choose your personal tagline. Find a 3-4 word phrase that relates to who you are professionally and puts you in a positive light. You want people to think that phrase when they hear your name, and everything you do work-wise should match your tagline. Use it in your email signature and begin by saying it when people ask what you do.

3. Prepare an elevator pitch. In 30 seconds you need to be able to describe who you are and which problems your expertise can solve. Practice until it comes naturally. Tweak as you go, judging by listener response.

4. Build an impressive web profile. A recommendation-filled LinkedIn profile with the right LinkedIn Applications can show off your accomplishments, successes and elevator pitch. LinkedIn will also give you an easy-to-remember url to put in your email signature, on your resume and business cards, encouraging people to connect with you. Use your personal tagline and easy-to-remember email address.

5. Become a LiON, a LinkedIn Open Networker. This is a quick way to grow your number of LinkedIn connections to the top level of “500+” but the looseness of these connections means you shouldn’t expect much from them. Still, all it takes is one good connection for this to be worthwhile.

6. Be active on LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Groups related to your profession, responding to questions and drawing other LinkedIn users to connect to you.

7. Sign up to Twitter. Take a few moments to flesh out your profile, putting your personal tagline in the Bio box and customizing the background image. Use TweetLater to automatically follow back any people who follow you, then search for people to add to your network. Once your network has grown a bit, use Twubble to find more people to follow from among your followers’ favorites. Setup a separate account for personal use.

8. Create a Facebook Page. Use Facebook for more than staying in touch with friends and family. Separately from your personal profile, use a Facebook Page to promote yourself professionally,  giving Facebook users a place to follow you as an expert in your field.

9. Carry business cards with your personal tagline and contact information to give out to potential business contacts. Try to always leave a note on the back before handing over your card, for example, to write where you met.

10. Ask for referrals when handing over business cards. People are more likely to respond to this than if you ask about open positions in their company. Give them extra cards if they have any potential referrals.

11. Use calling cards for non-business occasions. They’re like a business card, but with personal information. I haven’t tried this yet but I like the idea. The novelty aspect alone will leave a good impression.

12.  Join real-world business networks and chambers of commerce. You want people in your industry to notice you. Find local networks by googling “business network” and the name of your city.

13. Join general purpose business social networks. Besides LinkedIn, there are other networks like Xing and ZoomInfo. Use the one that is most popular in your industry.

14. Join industry-specific social networks. In many cases, these are business social networks created on the Ning platform. Use Ning’s search to find relevant networks or start a Ning network yourself.

15. Start blogging about your profession. As a super virtual resume, blogging is a terrific way to not only grow your network and show your expertise but also to attract job offers.

16. Follow industry blogs of different size readership. Subscribe and comment on them so that their bloggers discover and interact with you, especially if you have your own blog too. It’s better to get a lot of attention from 10 small blogs than no attention on 2 big ones.

17. Participate in industry discussion forums and mailing lists. Become the expert that people want to hear from on the topics you specialize in.

18. Become a member of professional associations. Every market has a group of people who are creating the standards and organizing member professionals. Being part of such groups can net you recognition from across the industry.

19. Create an industry newsletter for an industry niche that doesn’t have one. Or, you could become a contributor to an existing newsletter, but only if there’s a clear way for your network to profit such as via a link or email address in the byline.

20. Go to industry conferences, and make time to meet people and exchange business cards. Also great is to use conferences to finally see people face-to-face after having met online.

21. Attend local (speed) networking events. Have lots of business cards with you and a polished elevator pitch.

22. Organize informal industry events like launch parties or anniversaries. If you choose the right type of event and promote it well, the success will carry over to your personal network and people will want you to do it all again so that they can bring along other contacts who missed out.

23. Bring friends along. You can network in parallel and compare notes, opening doors for each other.

24. Join a job search support club. Also called job clubs or job search clubs or groups. Network with like-minded people.

25. Volunteer. Meeting new people is one of the best reasons why job seekers should volunteer. If there aren’t many opportunities locally through e.g. religious institutions, find them online using a site like Idealist.org.

26. Join a gym. A great place to network with people from across different industries and positions, there are also many other reasons to be exercising regularly.

27. Get a career and/or job search coach. Among the many benefits, the coach will be able to guide you to other ways to grow your network.

28. Find a mentor or mentoring community. You want people who have achieved your goals and can help you achieve similar success. Take your mentor out for lunch and pick their brain.

29. Do information interviews. This is a great way to get your foot in the door, and you’d be surprised how often in can lead to a job, even in a different department or company.

30. Email friends and family and ask them to put you in contact with anyone that can help your job search.

31. Talk to people you see regularly. Neighbors, parents at your kids’ school, taxi drivers. Cast your net as wide as possible.

32. Offer a cash bounty when you email your personal contacts. They’ll be willing to help you for free, but encourage them to forward your email to their own contacts for whom the cash will be a big motivator.

33. Join an alumni jobs network. Placing alumni in jobs is usually a major goal of  university and college alumni networks but also military reserves associations.

34. Nudge people in your network from time to time. A simple “any way I can help?” is a great way to stay in touch and not be forgotten.

35. Keep track of your contacts’ needs. Then, fill those needs whenever you can. The more you give, the more you’ll get. Here are another 9 ways to keep value in your network relationships (lower half of the article).

36. Always follow-up. Whether to confirm a referral or send over a link to an article you discussed, find a good reason to follow up with new contacts before they forget about you, which is usually within 24-48 hours.

37. Use thank you notes. Always take the time necessary to appreciate the people in your network. Just because people are happy to help doesn’t mean you should take their help for granted. Snail mail will make your note stand out even more.

Source: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/ideas-to-grow-your-job-search-network-right-now/

Read more at: http://jobmob.co.il/blog/ideas-to-grow-your-job-search-network-right-now/#ixzz1bONlDKwI


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Grow Your Network: Strategies To Expand Your Contact List

Networking is often considered a prerequisite for achieving success in one’s professional or personal life. We live in an environment where it is not what you know, but rather who you know that matters; and knowing the right people could catapult even an ordinary person to great heights. In order to know the right people, however, it is important to expand your contact list beyond just family and friends. The following strategies will help you grow your network.

Snowball your network
Have you ever been called by an insurance agent or a savvy sales professional? Notice how at the end of the conversation you are asked for referrals. You could apply the same strategy to grow your network list. At every meeting, try asking for names of others you could speak with. When you speak to these individuals, again ask for more referrals. Within a few months your network would have snowballed to hundreds or even thousands of contacts. How you leverage this network is up to you.

You never know
Many decades ago there was a visible demarcation between different sections of the society. In those days, if you wanted to network with someone in the upper echelon, you would have to actually know someone up there. A noticeable effect of rapid globalization and widespread technological advancement, however, is the thinning of socio-economic boundaries. One’s circle of contacts is now not limited to any particular stratum; almost anyone could know anyone.

I would like to consider myself a proponent of the “you never know” rule. In other words, you never know who knows whom. Don’t assume the bartender doesn’t know someone of interest to you or the hairdresser (whom you speak with anyways) is not a potential networking contact. I have witnessed numerous success stories where unexpected acquaintances, ranging from subway riders and bartenders to massage therapists have served as tremendously helpful resources for career advancement.

What could be easier than making connections through the written word. Who says networking is only about conversations. I consider every individual who reads my articles as a potential networking contact. If you are good at something, write about it. From trade magazines and scholarly journals to blogs, there are plenty of opportunities to write.

You could also write to initiate a conversation. Example, if you read an interesting article, don’t hesitate to write an appreciation letter (or e-mail) to the author. If you read about someone’s victory or loss, drop in a line even if you don’t know the person. That first initiative could lead to a series of opportunities.

Use technology
Until a few years ago I was a non-believer when it came to networking through technology. Fast forward a few years, my online network now comprises of thousands of contacts. Professional online groups (on Yahoo, MSN, Google …), e-lists, forums, online networking services (such as linkedin.com), and the likes have introduced a new dimension to the world of networking. Despite the widespread optimism, I view technology as a supplement — as opposed to a replacement — to my traditional networking efforts. (Caveat: always be careful online.)

Go and network
From trade shows to association or chamber of commerce meetings to conferences, be omnipresent. If you are not yet a member of a professional group or association, consider joining one.

Comb through publications
Regularly read newspapers, industry publications, and professional literature. These will acquaint you with key players within your profession. Don’t stop at knowing their names; make efforts to get in touch with them, whether through letters or in-person meetings.

Those (authors, writers, researchers, experts, etc.) contributing to these publications are generally top professionals with a huge clout in their area of expertise. Knowing them could mean tapping into a pool of thousands of professionals.

Be genuinely interested in others
Social magnets are generally people who are genuinely interested in the welfare of others. From sharing [non-confidential] articles to volunteering on a project, a lot could be done to contribute to your contacts’ welfare. Jay, a pharmaceutical sales representative, for example, has grown his network to over 5,000 contacts using a very simple strategy: writing letters. He is constantly on the lookout for news about key people. He congratulates them for victories, consoles them during the loss of a loved one, or simply wishes them on special occasions. The results have been very encouraging.

Network with well-networked people
Just knowing one well-networked individual could mean tapping into a potential network of hundreds. What a jumpstart.

Growing your network is like watering a plant. Do it regularly and you will watch your network grow. It does take some effort but the payoff is well worth the invested time.

Source: http://www.saicareers.com/networking/grow_network.html

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1. Treat networking like a game – enjoy it.

Networking is a time-honored tradition that most people apply every day without knowing it. View it as making contacts, creating relationships, finding out about essentials, even as making friends. Networking is based on the premise that we’re all humans and need each other. This is as true in business as it is in other areas of your life. You may need to ask me for ideas or referrals about getting a job, but I’ll gladly reciprocate because I know that at some point, I may need to call on you for something. At that point, whether the help is for me or someone else, I’ll expect you to reciprocate. It’s that simple. You lob the ball over the net, and it comes back to you.

Networking for a job can be fun. Consider it today’s answer to the lost art of conversation and its cousin, letter writing. It’s all about communicating—making phone calls, conducting information interviews in person or writing letters—to learn if your contacts can refer you to anyone who might want to hire someone with your skills.

The first step is to know what you want to do. Before you pick up the phone to begin networking, take a moment to collect your thoughts. Ask yourself, what do I want? If it’s help, be specific. Do you need ideas, names or introductions? Make a list of the items that will help you stay focused during your conversation. Most people really want to help you, a new graduate, with your job search, but first, they must understand what you want. Then they can determine how best to help you.

2. Realize that you, too, have something to offer.

When you’re just starting out in a career, it’s easy to be intimidated by the concept of networking. After all, you’re a new graduate and your knowledge of business may be limited, and your contacts are likely to be already established professionally. What do you have to offer that they might value and why would they make time for you?

It’s simple. Most seasoned business people understand the concept of networking. They know that what goes around comes around. Everyone has had to start somewhere. We all remember the folks who took time to counsel, guide and direct us on our first forays into the business world. It’s a debt that’s never really repaid, unless it’s through helping someone else just starting a career.

3. Honor the networking code.

Another way to say this is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want to have your phone calls returned, return phone calls. If you want help with your career, you must be willing to help others.

To be a successful networker, you also must take contacts’ suggestions. If someone provides a lead—an idea or referral name—follow up on it, especially if the person has agreed to “pave the way” for you by making an introductory call. You aren’t obligated to accept a position from a referral, but you are expected to follow up. You’re also expected to report back to your original contact to say thanks. During that call, you can recount your progress and ask for additional leads.

4. Make networking a priority.

If you’re in the throes of a job search, your first priority should be networking. Create a list of people you know and ask them for ideas, referrals and contacts. Generate a buzz about your abilities and your job search, and before you know it, people will be calling you for networking ideas.

After you’ve accepted a job, it’s easy to heave a sigh of relief and assume your networking days are over—at least until your next job search. Think again. Every contact you make while working is a potential jewel in your networking crown.

5. Keep track of your contacts—and keep up with them.

That means if you landed the job of your dreams, let networking contacts know that your search has ended and where you’re working, and thank them for their assistance. Add their names to your business holiday card list. Call contacts occasionally to see how they’re doing with no agenda other than keeping in touch. Let them know what you’re up to and do a little self-promotion. This isn’t the time to complain or gossip. Maybe there’s something they need that you can help them with. Visualize yourself building a large bank of networking good will and making regular deposits.

6. Don’t wait until you’re desperate to network.

Networking is a lot like flossing your teeth. For it to do you any good, you have to do it regularly. Keep your network alive and well so that if and when there’s a change in the wind, you’re ready for it. It takes time to rev up your network’s engine if it’s been cold or idle for too long. You want to keep it humming so you can quickly shift into high gear. Today’s job market is volatile and employees are changing jobs often; one of them could be your boss. You may need your network sooner rather than later.

7. Look for opportunities others might miss.

Networking isn’t just about finding people who can help you locate a job. Sometimes the most valuable networking you can do is within your company. Perhaps your employer sponsors a charity ball. Other employees might consider this a real groaner, but it’s a great opportunity to meet senior managers and their spouses and to support a cause the company considers worthy. Or perhaps a senior executive from your firm is giving a luncheon speech to a local organization. Not only can you learn from this presentation, but you’ll be providing him or her with support and building a bond for the future. You’ll also be adding new contacts to your network.

8. Ask permission to use a name.

Suppose you visited a contact to conduct an information interview—a short, friendly question-and-answer session designed to help you learn more about a profession or company. Your contact gives you the names of several referrals. Before you leave, ask permission to use your contact’s name as the original source.He or she may want to contact the referrals first, which will make your calls proceed more smoothly. But the main reason for asking permission is courtesy. When you mention names, you’re capitalizing on your contact’s rank and reputation within the business world, so you want to make sure you have his or her knowledge and approval.

9. Never underestimate the power of a thank-you note.

If a busy executive takes time to meet you and assist with your job quest, acknowledge the help you receive with a handwritten note. This lets him or her know that you understand and appreciate the his or her effort and contribution. It also allows you to provide a short progress report and feedback about the referrals. Last but not least, it paves the way for future contact.

10. Remember that you’re never too successful to network.

Don’t think that executives or others in authority positions are uninterested or unreachable. Many senior executives are delighted to be contacted and want to share the knowledge they’ve acquired over the years. Because of their seniority, they may be isolated and appreciate the chance to impart wisdom or learn something new from a prospective graduate. And when you reach a pinnacle of your own career, remember to keep your network fresh and alive. It’s fun, plus you never know when it may come in handy.


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By telling someone your goal you hold yourself more accountable, and you are more likely to do what you said you would do. In addition to making your goal known, you actually make a commitment to another person (partner) that they will hold you accountable for deadlines, making progress on your goal and ultimately achieving your goal.

You have made the goal known and you have a commitment to follow-up with a partner. Accountability Partners make an agreement on the goals that each person will be held accountable for and establish a meeting arrangement. These meetings can be face to face or over the phone and they can occur weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This relationship is focused on accountability not assessment. In other words, you are not providing feedback on the quality or quantity of action taken.

Top three benefits of working with an accountability partner:

1.) Accountability and Responsibility
2.) Idea Sharing, Creativity and Brainstorming
3.) Motivational Support

Ideal Partner: someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you; they should be someone you admire that is the same gender and is currently employed.

Source: http://www.learningandperformance.net/Accountability+Partners+Apr08.pdf


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You Are a STAR – Stories about Your Accomplishments

Situations you faced

Tasks to accomplish

Actions you took

Results you got

Tell STAR Stories

Describe situation faced and results you got

Example: Increased sales by 25% in face of increased competition

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Target Opportunities

  • Occupation or Job Title
  • Industry
  • Location or Geography
  • Income
  • Platform
  • Culture

Companies that need all of the above and are looking for quality talent like YOU!!!

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“You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

Whether you are networking, interviewing for a job or meeting new colleagues for the first time, here are some guidelines to keep in mind which will make a good first impression.

  • Be mindful of the other person’s time. Ask if this is a good time for them before proceeding into the discussion (or identify another time that would be better). When attending a scheduled meeting or interview, ask how much time the other person has, and stick to that.
  • If you were referred by a mutual friend or acquaintance to the person with whom you’re meeting, be sure to reference that person in positive terms. This helps to build a “personal bridge” and establish rapport.
  • Take notes throughout the discussion. A person who doesn’t take notes is simply not interested or engaged enough to be taken seriously.
  • Arrive to the meeting or interview on time and fully prepared. This shows that you respect the other person, and that you are a real professional. Learn everything you can in advance about the company, the opportunity, and the interviewer.
  • Be focused on the other person’s interests and needs, more than your own. Present yourself as a solutions provider, rather than a job seeker. Offer to be of service and show genuine interest in helping the interviewer with his or her business challenges.

Once you confirm the interviewer’s primary needs and problems, share some “Accomplishment Stories” that relate your past successes directly to the prospective employer’s situation. Making this “connection” will help you stand-out as the top candidate.

Here are some things NOT to do, when trying to make a positive first impression. Do not:

  • Take advantage of the other person’s generosity or time.
  • Arrive unprepared to talk intelligently about the employer and the company.
  • Dress inappropriately for the meeting or interview.
  • Focus only on your own needs (instead you should focus on the company’s problems and challenges).
  • Fail to make a connection between your past experiences and the prospective employer’s needs and challenges.
  • Forget to follow-up with a thank you note.
  • Forget to ask questions about the company and the open position.

These items are also some of the main qualities interviewers are looking for in a candidate. So if you follow these simple suggestions, you’ll receive better feedback and ultimately get more job offers.

Source: http://www.careerpotential.com/articles/one-chance-to-make-a-first-impression.html

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