Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

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.

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.)

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?!

How Students Can Make Money and Network

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

A few weeks ago I came across a really unique company on LinkedIn. It’s called GrouperEye.com and it awards cash prizes to students that solve real business cases for real companies. I was so intrigued by this concept that I contacted the founder of the company and asked if I could interview him. His story is amazing and the company is really providing incredible opportunities for students.

Read the full article about GrouperEye.com.

10 Ways to Find a Job in a Recession

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

1. Focus 90% of your job search on networking
Do you know how to network effectively? To be successful at networking you must reach out to your network in a way that makes people want to recommend or hire you. One way to do this is to be positive. Even if you are losing heart in your job search. Instead of complaining how frustrating your job search has been, talk about what types of positions are appealing to you and what kinds of challenges you are eager to take on.

2. Don’t  limit your search to only “available” positions
Spend time researching companies and make connections with people who work there. Get the name of the person who has the authority to hire you and write him or her a detailed letter explaining why you want to work for that company. Describe what your unique contributions would be. Be proactive and send along your list of references and resume.

3. Send an email to all of your close business contacts and friends about your job search
Be sure to include a short description of the types of positions you are interested in pursuing. Keep this short, positive, and professional. When executed properly, this is a very effective method to learn about companies in your city that are hiring.

4. Attend events hosted by professional organizations and alumni associations
If you do not currently belong to any… join some. It is important to your long term career success to stay relevant in your field and/or industry.

5. Learn how to differentiate between jobs posted by placement firms and jobs listed by actual companies
This is especially important for entry level workers who waste a lot of time on wild goose chases by simply sending a resume to every job posting they find. Be on the lookout for:

  • The same contact phone number attached to several job listings
  • Multiple listings for the same position listed by the same firm

6. Be easy to find
Update your online alumni profile. If you use social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter make sure your information is up to date and consistent. Avoid MySpace. It doesn’t have a reputation for being the most professional of online social networking sites.

7. Be Friendly and Meet New People
You never know who is looking to fill a position that you would be perfect for. Better yet, your pleasant demeanor may motivate someone to create a position especially for you. It’s surprising how many people get offers for interviews at the coffee shop or at the gym.

8. Appreciate Informational Interviews
Too many job seekers blow informational interviews off as a waste of time, but they can be an invaluable resource. The person you talk to just might think of the perfect position for you in a week or two, or recommend you to a friend.

9. Keep Your Online Image Clean
If you wouldn’t want your mother to see it, keep it off the Internet. Employers are researching job applicants online in increasing numbers according to a survey administered by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2007. Ten percent of employers who responded to the survey said they would review social networking site profiles before making a hiring decision. Out of that ten percent, over half said the information they find online will impact whether or not that candidate is offered a position. The remaining employers surveyed said they are unsure how their online findings should influence their hiring decisions. (Update: in 2009 almost 50% of employers say they will do an online search for their job candidates)

If you have a blog, podcast, web site—or you regularly participate on someone else’s—what you put out there may be reviewed by a potential employer. Maintain a professional image both on and off the Internet and you won’t have anything to worry about.

10. Always Have an Updated Resume
Keeping a well written, updated resume handy is critical during your job search.  This allows you take advantage of opportunities as soon as you learn about them. For someone who wants to help you find a job there is nothing more frustrating than waiting until you finish your resume. The job will probably be filled by the time your resume is ready. Even when you aren’t looking for a job it is important to keep your resume updated. Revisit your resume at the end of each month to add new achievements and information.

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?

How to Land an Internship Right Now

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Did you know that companies need more help during a recession than when the economy is actually thriving? It’s true and the reason is simple. When companies have layoffs, fewer employees are expected to do the work that several employees once did. While this period of being overworked is no fun for the employees, it’s your ticket to securing an internship that otherwise may not have existed if the economy was in better shape.   

So where do you find all of these newly created and available internships? First, realize that not all of these internships have even been identified yet. So, that means there are two types of internships available to you. 

  1. Internships available through formal internship programs within companies and that may be advertised through your on campus career center;
  2. Internships that companies create after you approach them and ask for one.   

I can tell you from my experience, that all of my former bosses wanted to hire interns at every single company I have ever worked. Often I was tasked with hiring interns, and I ran into the same problem over and over again. If I called up the campus career center and asked to be connected with professors who taught the subject matter we were interested in, the person answering the phone would insist that I open some online account with them and post jobs through the web site. That way, any student, whether they had the type of experience we wanted or not, could then post their resume for us, or send us an email. This process is cumbersome, and frankly just plain annoying. Forget it! 

Now, when students  approached me through email and explained how much they wanted to do an internship with our company, that would get my attention right away. Especially if we had not listed an internship opportunity anywhere. When a student takes the initiative to create their own job description and propose what the internship could look like, I know that student will have the ability to move initiatives forward as an employee as well. 

By the way, professors are great referrals because if they are impressed by a student, chances are an employer will be too. Professors teach hundreds or thousands of students each year. If they think you’re a standout, I guarantee an employer will think you’re outstanding. While you’re still in school, and even after you graduate, make it a point to be on good terms with your professors. 

So where can you find internships? Here’s a few creative ways to land an internship right away:

  1. Visit the web sites of companies that interest you. Write a letter to the person in charge of the division at the company you want to work for. Forget the HR department for now. And this is not a cover letter. It’s a letter explaining your deep interest in this company,  and more specifically in that division. Clearly state that you want to do an internship for them, that you’ll work for free, and that you’re available immediately for part-time. 
  2. Pick up the phone and call the person you want to work for. Ask if you can send over your resume and again, explaining your deep interest in this company,  and more specifically in that division. Clearly state that you want to do an internship for them, that you’ll work for free, and that you’re available immediately for part-time. 
  3. Visit or call your campus career center and ask to learn about any opportunities they know about that may not yet be online.
  4. Ask your professors, family, and friends about any companies they know of that might be willing to hire an intern. 

Most of these positions will be unpaid, but don’t let that deter you from pursuing the internship. Don’t be put off if you don’t get college credit for the internship either. Getting experience in your chosen field, even unpaid/no credit experience, is worth ten times more than showing up to a job interview with a 4.0 GPA from your undergraduate university and having zero job experience. Employers want to know you can put theory into practice. And even if you’re only getting coffee for the senior executives at the company during your internship, you’re benefiting from learning about the decisions they have to make on a daily basis. You’re getting exposure to the industry. You’re learning the lingo of your chosen profession, which is not taught in the classroom. In other words, you’re starting (just starting) to pay your dues. So don’t let an unpaid internship slip through your fingers just because you think you should get paid.

For more career tips and job search opportunities, visit GradtoGreat.com and sign up for our FREE quarterly newsletter.

Recent Graduates More Likely to Find Jobs Before Leaving Campus

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), when employers rate the effectiveness of recruiting methods for college graduates, they rank the following as their top 10: 

  1. On-campus recruiting
  2. Organization’s internship program
  3. Employee referrals
  4. Organization’s co-op program
  5. Career/job fairs
  6. Faculty contacts
  7. Job postings on the company web site
  8. Job postings on the campus web site
  9. Student organizations/clubs
  10. Job postings on commercial web sites

Notice that the top five preferred recruiting methods involve some degree of face-to-face interaction between the job applicant and the company. This means you need to get in front of the person who is making the hiring decision, preferably well in advance of graduation time. And forget about the job boards since simply posting your resume online is highly unlikely to yield positive results in the current job market.

Now, more than ever, it is critical that college seniors and recent graduates do the following three things:

  1. Learn how to network properly and start now
  2. Visit your on campus career center often and get to know the staff there
  3. Start your job search early (3 months is optimal)

Read full article here.