Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

Guest Appearance on Good Morning Arizona

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

This past Sunday I was on Good Morning Arizona talking about my new book, Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates (New Year, 2010). The people at Channel 3 (KTVK) were so nice it made me miss my old news days back at WILX. The weather in Phoenix wasn’t bad either!

If you’re ready to get serious about networking, spend a few minutes to find out what your “Networking Quotient” is. This free quiz was developed by my amazing co-author Thom Singer. He has written several books about networking, is a top-rated international speaker, and this quiz can help get you more familiar with what type of networker you are. Take the quiz and let me know what you think about it…and send in any networking questions you have.

The Three R’s of Networking for Grads

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

While you studied at a college or university, you learned many skills, but there’s a good chance you didn’t focus any attention on developing your networking skills. In fact, most college curriculums do not include coursework that teaches you how to find a job, or how to build a career. And that’s a shame because it is these types of skills that lead to long-term success.

Your college major matters very little compared to what kind of person you are to work with. Why? People want to work with people they know and like. The people making the hiring decisions will get to know you during the interview process, and if they like you, your chances of getting hired go up. If they don’t like you, you’ll probably be starting the job search process back at square one. To avoid that, work on strengthening your networking skills, and meeting contacts who can give you referrals, recommendations, and references.

For example, a referral is when a networking contact informs you of a job opening or connects you with someone else who knows of one. A recommendation is when a contact puts in a good word for you directly to the person who is hiring. And a reference is when someone can personally vouch for the quality of your work.

Here are some examples:

Referral. “Hi Tom. Last night I met an impressive young man at the Business Marketing Association networking event in Milwaukee. He mentioned he was currently looking for an entry-level position and I remembered we have one open in your department. Just thought I’d pass his resume along.”

Recommendation. “Good morning Leyla. Last week I met an impressive young man and I’ve had a chance to sit down and talk with him about his internship experience and I’ve got to tell you, I think this is someone we should bring in for an interview. He mentioned he was currently looking for an entry-level position and I think he’d be a great fit here at our firm. Isn’t your department hiring right now? I really think we should give this young man a shot.”

Reference. “Paulo, glad I ran into here. Listen I wanted to mention a potential candidate for that marketing coordinator position your company has open. There’s an exceptional graduate from the University of Missouri that’s been temping for us all summer. She’s fantastic. Self-starter, great attitude and completely competent. If we didn’t have a hiring freeze I’d hire her myself. Interested, great! I’ll email you her resume this afternoon.”

If you have very little work experience, or none at all, look for volunteer opportunities so you can build a list of people who can speak directly to the quality of work you are capable of producing.

Holidays Are a Great Time to Network!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

A strong network is the single most effective career advancement tool you can have. Therefore, it is critical that you maintain your network by keeping in touch with the people you have developed relationships with. The holiday season is a great time to reach out to your contacts as well as people you may have fallen out of touch with. Why not send a holiday card to someone you’d like to reconnect with? Want to let someone know you’re graduating soon and looking for work, but don’t want to seem pushy? Include a handwritten note in your card to update everyone on what you’re up to. People expect these types of updates over the holidays!

Here are a eight tips additional tips for maintaining a strong network.

#1: Stay Visible
Much in the same way a celebrity stays relevant in the media, you need to stay visible and relevant to your contacts. For instance, you may stop working in the same field as many of your contacts, but don’t want to fall off their radar. How can you do that if you won’t be attending the same association or work events anymore? Read on…

#2: Stay E-mail Buddies
A common practice is to send an email every so often to the people you want to stay in touch with. This is most appropriate when you change jobs, or have an exciting announcement to make.

#3: Customize Your Message
Your list of contacts could include hundreds of people and since you can’t write a personal note to each one, at least tailor your message to each group. If you do this, make sure the content of the email is appropriate to the audience that will be reading it.

#4: Segment Your Contacts
It might be helpful to mentally segment your correspondence. For example, draft one version of your email update for contacts you consider friends, another for contacts you aren’t particularly close with, another version for clients, and so on. This is customizing your message.

#5: Be Helpful
Another way to stay visible to your contacts is to pass along any relevant information that may be useful to them. For example, if you come across an article online or in a magazine that you know would interest them, send it to them. Include a note wishing them well. Keep in mind that a gesture like this loses its impact and sincerity when you ask for something in return.

#6: Extend Invitations
If you have access to a cool event or networking opportunity – and you can bring colleagues – invite special people from your network. However, do not invite people to an event where there is an expectation that they buy a product or service – unless they are fully aware of this ahead of time and express an interest.

#7: Refer Clients
This is the second best way you can tell someone in your network that you truly value them. Refer them, their company, or their individual services and products to others.

#8: Keep Your Promises
Here is the best way to maintain strong connections to those in your network. If you say you will do something, do it. If you agree to help someone out, make sure you come through. There is nothing worse than letting others down, especially if you have the ability to come through and make good on your promise.

(It is also important that you say no when you must, and not feel guilty about it. Maintaining your integrity is just as important as maintaining your network.)

Stop Wasting Time at Networking Events

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

You’ve realized that networking is the only way you’re going to get hired this year, and you know to devote time networking offline as well as online – more in fact. But you don’t have a lot of time and you need a job now. To help you avoid wasting time at your next networking event, here are some tips for effective time management. Also, review 15 Ways to Make a Good Impression at Formal Networking Events.

#1
If you meet someone who cannot help you in your job search, but who you enjoy chatting with, exchange business cards and make plans to meet for coffee in the future. Don’t squander all of your networking time talking to someone who cannot ultimately help you reach your immediate goal of discovering job leads.

#2
Many companies are not currently hiring, but are sending recruiters and HR staff to networking events to stay relevant in the marketplace. They want to avoid the “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” phenomenon so that when the economy recovers job seekers will apply. Therefore, it is absolutely appropriate to politely inquire, “is your company currently hiring?” You don’t want to waste your time with a company that is only talking to you because they want to make a good impression in case they need you in 2020.

#3
Networking attendees may also encounter several “independent recruiters” who work for recruiting firms or for themselves. These are folks who probably don’t have a position that would be a perfect fit for you, but who want to make you think they do. Feel free to give them a copy of your resume and a card, but then move on.

15 Ways to Make a Good Impression at Formal Networking Events

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Corporations, professional organizations, and associations of all kinds host formal networking events. You will attend several of these events during your career so you should how to use them to your advantage. It is critical to come across as someone others want to know.

In order to make a good first impression, keep the following 15 tips in mind:

Tip #1: Have a solid handshake

Tip#2: Be approachable

Tip #3: Dress well

Tip #4: Use appropriate body language

Tip #5: Don’t come looking for a therapy session

Tip #6: Use good manners

Tip #7: Don’t chew gum

Tip #8: Have a few goals in mind

Tip #9: Be authentic

Tip #10: Don’t do all the talking

Tip #11: Show an interest in others

Tip #12: Be interesting

Tip #13: Turn off your cell phone before the event

Tip #14: Offer and accept business cards properly

Tip #15: Smile

Eight Ways to Maintain Your Network

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

A strong network is the single most effective career advancement tool you can have. Therefore, it is critical that you maintain your network by keeping in touch with the people you have developed relationships with. Here are a eight tips for maintaining a strong network.

#1: Stay Visible
Much in the same way a celebrity stays relevant in the media, you need to stay visible and relevant to your contacts. For instance, you may stop working in the same field as many of your contacts, but don’t want to fall off their radar. How can you do that if you won’t be attending the same association or work events anymore?

#2: Stay E-mail Buddies
A common practice is to send an email every so often to the people you want to stay in touch with. This is most appropriate when you change jobs, or have an exciting announcement to make.

#3: Customize Your Message
Your list of contacts could include hundreds of people and since you can’t write a personal note to each one, at least tailor your message to each group. If you do this, make sure the content of the email is appropriate to the audience that will be reading it.

#4: Segment Your Contacts
It might be helpful to mentally segment your correspondence. For example, draft one version of your email update for contacts you consider friends, another for contacts you aren’t particularly close with, another version for clients, and so on. This is customizing your message.

#5: Be Helpful
Another way to stay visible to your contacts is to pass along any relevant information that may be useful to them. For example, if you come across an article online or in a magazine that you know would interest them, send it to them. Include a note wishing them well. Keep in mind that a gesture like this loses its impact and sincerity when you ask for something in return.

#6: Extend Invitations
If you have access to a cool event or networking opportunity – and you can bring colleagues – invite special people from your network. However, do not invite people to an event where there is an expectation that they buy a product or service – unless they are fully aware of this ahead of time and express an interest.

#7: Refer Clients
This is the second best way you can tell someone in your network that you truly value them. Refer them, their company, or their individual services and products to others.

#8: Keep Your Promises
Here is the best way to maintain strong connections to those in your network. If you say you will do something, do it. If you agree to help someone out, make sure you come through. There is nothing worse than letting others down, especially if you have the ability to come through and make good on your promise.

(It is also important that you say no when you must, and not feel guilty about it. Maintaining your integrity is just as important as maintaining your network.)

Interview with LaunchSquad’s Brett Weiner

Monday, April 13th, 2009

This week on GradtoGreat.com, in our Great Grad’s Gallery, we are honoring Megan Soto – a young professional who was recruited on Twitter by a San Francisco based PR agency called Launchsquad. After learning more about Megan, we wanted to know more about LaunchSquad and the partner who discovered Megan on Twitter – Brett Weiner.

Brett manages LaunchSquad’s HR and employee issues and plays an integral role in new business activities. To help job seekers understand what companies are looking for when they take their recruiting efforts to social media sites, Brett agreed to be interviewed for our blog.

Anne:  Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. So, what search methods do you use on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to find employees?

Brett: Pretty straight-forward here:

1. On LinkedIn, we look for PR people.
2. On Twitter, it’s more organic. Not necessarily proactive.
3. We don’t use Facebook that often.

Anne:  What are some things you’ve seen that would convince you not to hire someone?

Brett: We realize that the trend is to share as much personal content as possible on the Web and we’re not averse to people having a social life. We are, though, more interested when they put their best foot forward while being themselves, realizing that just because their mom isn’t on Twitter or Facebook, employers often are.

Using discretion with the content they upload and allow others to see is impressive, not just photos but also comments from friends. We’re generally put off by anything that suggests a lack of focus on school, jobs, internships as well as content or activity that doesn’t make this person appear to be a savvy online user.

In addition to content, the personality presented online can also be a turnoff. Negativity on Twitter, Facebook, and blog comments can easily translate into a general attitude for interactions with fellow colleagues, the media and clients, and the outlook towards work in general.

Anne: Is recruiting through social media outlets going to replace other methods of recruiting you’ve used in the past?

Brett: Not necessarily replace, but definitely make it easier. It’s better for getting a sense of who someone is, where their priorities are, what they’re interested in and, perhaps, what kind of work they do.

Anne: What can recent graduates be doing online that is likely to get them contacted for a job interview?

Brett: There isn’t by any means a succinct outline, but these are some things that impress us:

1. Have a blog that includes a solid, easily accessible resume
2. Comment on other blogs
3. Tweet relevantly and often
4. Show that you can create an online community around yourself and your interests

These all show online leadership and engagement in a space in which we’re deeply entrenched – we’re a technology PR firm so those things are important to us. We realize not all recent grads are going to know about SaaS (software as a service) but showing an enthusiasm to get to know this and other technologies helps – and is relatively easy to do with a blog or Twitter.

Anne: If you decide you want to interview them, how do you contact the potential candidate. Email, phone, tweet…etc?

Brett: However we can. If we can’t find email, we’ll send them a Tweet. Otherwise, we use email for an introduction then move on from there.

Anne: Will you be hiring any interns this summer?

Brett: Yes – maybe 2.

Anne: Are you hiring recent grads this year? If so, what qualities do you look for? Is someone’s major important?

Brett: Sure – we’re looking for smart, fun people with PR experience who do great work with any client. Major isn’t so important as talent. We have people here from all backgrounds, but their commonality comes with passion and drive.

Anne: Thanks so much Brett!

How to Impress Potential Employers in Less than 30 Seconds

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Looking to get noticed by a potential employer during an on-campus meet-and-greet, career fair or student-run conference? Or, need to impress a recruiter during an on-campus interview with a foreign-owned company? You don’t have much time during these types of events. One way to stand out from the crowd is to know your current events. Being able to initiate and carry on a conversation – that doesn’t revolve entirely around your own job search – will make you more attractive to recruiters and alumni who’ve more than likely been listening to the same tired introductory speech all day or night.

One way to get some info outside of your college campus microcosm (besides Twitter and Facebook) is Newseum.org. In a matter of seconds you can scan the front pages of almost every newspaper in the world.

They also have a virtual map so you can find newspapers even if you don’t know what they’re called. Want to know what El Mercurio is reporting today? Check it out.

Being well-read is also something you’ll want to strive for throughout your entire career. Knowing the classics is essential when you’re coming out of college. Get reacquainted with Henry James, Mary Louise Alcott, and Charles Dickens at Fullbooks. These books are posted online for you to scroll through.

How to Find Jobs That Aren’t Posted Anywhere

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Want to work for a specific company, but can’t find an internship or job listing for them? Don’t sweat it. I can’t tell you how many CEO’s and hiring managers I’ve talked to lately that all say the same thing: “We’d be willing to create an entry-level job for the right person!”

So, what does this mean to you? Three things.

1. Companies are willing to hire a recent graduate, even in a recession.

2. You need to figure out how to be that right person (HINT: confidence, resourcefulness, risk taker, willingness to learn, wisdom to not take yourself so seriously, ability to ask for what you want in a professional manner)

3. You need to be resourceful enough to identify the person at the company that is most likely to hire you. (HINT: get as close to the top as possible)

In other words, you need to network your butt off starting now!

Grads that have good networking skills are going to have the most luck getting hired right now. Don’t know where to start? Make a list of everyone you know. Everyone. Write down their names and categorize the list in the two ways: 1) how you know the person 2) how well you know the person. By the time you are finished you will probably have listed 100-250 names. Bet you didn’t realize you had such a large network?!

Using Social Networking to Find a Job

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Lately, there’s been a surge in the number of postings to the discussion groups I belong to on LinkedIn that have the same theme….”I-need-a-job!”  I’ve seen posts from recently laid-off experienced professionals, and from recent grads with considerably less experience. Surprisingly, and counter to everything I’ve heard in reported in the media, the posts from recent graduates appear to be getting the most response.

This has convinced me that if done professionally, networking on these social can result in getting hired. Here are a few tips to make LinkedIn work for you:

  1. Join your alumni group
  2. Join groups related to your industry or field of interest 
  3. Introduce yourself and state what type of work you’re looking for (industry and field)
  4. Mention your major
  5. Do not get too specific about what size of a company you want to work for. (There is no reason to limit your options at this stage.) 
  6. Longer posts seem to do better than extremely brief posts
  7. Include a picture of yourself 

What else have you seen work effectively when using online networking to find a job?