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Networking While Working January 26, 2017

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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Networking (job search) while employed is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do well.  You work eight or more hours a day then come home to attend to other personal business and then try to find the time and energy to send out letters requesting a networking meeting and maybe leave enough time to relax with your family.

No time
By david.nikonvscanon

Maybe you are off to a networking event of some type right after work which of course will require some additional activities such as “thank you” or “nice to meet you” notes.

Then there is the question of actually meeting with people with whom you have secured appointments.  Your available time is limited to early morning meetings say before 7am which very few people are able to accommodate, lunch time or immediately after work.    Certainly you cannot line up a networking meeting every day of the week because of your other responsibilities so you are further limited to perhaps 2-3 days a week where you can really advance your networking activities.

What’s a person to do?

With the job market heating up and more opportunities to move on to the next big thing I am sure many of us may face this opportunity (dilemma).

So I ask, what is your suggestion?  How would you manage your networking activities to support a job search while gainfully employed?

I’m waiting for your answers, use the comments section below so we all can benefit from the wisdom of others.

Until next week….

Letters…Oh We Have Letters… January 5, 2017

Posted by robewanow in General, Job Search.
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Photo Credit: Nieve44/La Luz

To help improve your networking results you must have a readily-available library of letters (emails).  By library I don’t mean tens or even hundreds of letters, you can get by with three good ones which can serve as a template to be customized for each individual. The three letters you must have are:

  1. Introduction/request for meeting  I covered this in a previous post entitled Securing an Appointment. Keep the email brief and to the point and do not forget to let the recipient know when you plan to follow up, this increases your chances of reaching them quickly and points to attention to detail.
  2. Appointment confirmation 24 hours before your scheduled meeting send a quick note verifying the date, time and place of your meeting and possibly a photo or description of yourself or a description of what you will be wearing.
  3. Thank you Of course no cycle of networking would be complete without the proper thank you note.  Personalize the note by referencing some particular part of your conversation you found interesting or especially helpful.  Not only will this once again show attention to detail but it will also show your contact that you took the time to write a personal note instead of using a template.  In certain situations the use of  a hand written note provides a little extra “umph.”

I usually write each note in word or some other off line application in order to make the editing process a bit easier.  If you prefer to compose directly in your email client I would suggest you DO NOT populate the” TO” field with any email address information, this will help prevent an accidental send due to a stray mouse click. (been there-done that)

I’d suggest keeping a copy of each letter you send for a few months then periodically purge your email and or Word documents, sometimes you write that one extra special sentence which can later be re-purposed for another situation.

Until next time….

December Opportunities December 15, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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I ran across this post on The Ladders regarding the December job search.  I think many times searchers think that suddenly there are no human resource needs after the Thanksgiving holiday, that the entire month of December is focused on anything but sourcing and interviewing qualified candidates to fill open or newly created positions.

Check out this post for some common sense tips regarding the December recruiter.

No posts for a few weeks due to the Christmas and New Years Holidays.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Make sure you take some time to enjoy and appreciate the season with family and friends.

Until next year….

Holiday Networking Galore December 1, 2016

Posted by robewanow in General, Job Search.
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red-christmas-ball-in-snow-1386092658qdjWith the start of the holiday season comes a bevy of opportunities to network with more people than ever, spread the word of what you are looking for in your next opportunity and set up those all important face-to-face meetings. You will find that people are naturally more giving during the holiday season so your hit rate for these meetings should be higher which translates into more meetings for you, leading you one step closer on your journey to your final destination.

There are sure to be gatherings of all sorts for you to take advantage of, many of them free or low-cost. Consider this potential list.

  1. Professional Organizations you may belong to.  Make sure you check their website to get all the details.
  2. Organizations such as Digital Rochester. Festivus takes place next week! The August Group/VPNG holiday party is December 20!  Register Here.
  3. Neighbors and neighborhood associations.   If you live in a condo or town house contact your association president and find out if they are planning anything.  If not offer to plan it yourself, this alone could provide you with a wealth of contacts and help others at the same time.
  4. Volunteer.  Local soup kitchens tend to get a little busier this year give them a call and see how you can help.
  5. Check with your local church regarding giving trees, food baskets, etc offer to coordinate.
  6. Ring bells for the Salvation Army.
  7. Corporate parties.  If your spouse is employed make sure you plan to attend any office gathering that is open to you.
  8. Social/Service organizations you belong to like Lions Club, Rotary, etc

Until next time….

Be Thankful November 17, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Family, General, Job Search.
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Hard to believe but next week is Thanksgiving.  I like many will be celebrating with family so I there will be no post next week.  Not that I have been very consistent this year.  (Hey – there’s a resolution for 2017 get better with the blog posts Rob!!)

Take some time over the next few days and think to yourself – What am I thankful for?

Think of all the wonderful people you have met along your journey.  Remember the “journey” never really ends.

Think of those you have helped along the way – there are probably more than you realize.

Look at your family – how blessed are you to have them and how blessed are they to have you?

Appreciate the gifts you have been given and the talents you have to offer.

Remember there are many in the world who are less fortunate, we all have much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

My thanks to you for reading.

How to Leverage Networking Groups October 27, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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With a summer a distant memory and winter fast approaching many professional groups will start to ramp up their event schedule.  You will begin to see more opportunities for training, educational presentations, round table discussions general meetings and before you know it holiday gatherings and celebrations.

What is the one thing all of these events have in common?  They present a fantastic opportunity for networking!  Events like this are a great way to not only learn something new or enhance your current skill set but they are also a target-rich environment to grow your network.

Many times events like these are hosted by some type of professional organization like The American Marketing Association, Society for Human Resource Management or the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.  Events like these can offer a sense of comfort since you will have an automatic “connection” with the others in attendance – you share the same career field and probably some of the same job related “challenges.”  This may not seem like much but it’s a natural and easy way to start a conversation with someone new.

Other events may be hosted by a networking group like PeerNet or The August Group and will most likely offer a large and diverse group of people covering a wide array of industries along with people in every stage of their career from those just starting out to those who are more experienced.

No matter which type of event you happen to attend (and you should try to attend a good blend of each) here are some things to keep in mind courtesy of a great article from The Ladders.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

Until next time….

 

It’s Been a While September 29, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
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Well I know it’s been a while since I published my last blog post but I had no idea it has been over two months! Admittedly, it was a very busy time for me, planning for our largest trade show of the year in Chicago (4,900 sf booth space) but I should still be able to get a post out there at least every-other-week.

However, this provided me with the fodder I need for today’s post.

In order to be successful with your job search, networking or customer prospecting efforts you need a consistent effort.  Going strong for a while then tailing off or worse yet taking and extended break do nothing but interrupt your progress, preventing you from gaining ground and ultimately achieving your goals.

This consistent effort can be challenging as the temptation to “take just a little break” can be strong and we rationalize it will help us come back stronger (this argument is also what we use when we skip our daily visit to the gym) however, in many cases this is not true.

The key is to achieving this consistent effort is to set goals and milestones along the way. For example in your networking activities it may be as simple as attending one live event each month with the goal of meeting two or three new people and reconnecting with two or three of those already in your network.  You could also target one or two “one-on one” meetings each month; perhaps coffee before you head into the office or a lunch meeting.  Granted, you may not achieve both each month but the key is you have a goal, something to aim for and something that helps hold you accountable.  This forces you to put in the work, to have a consistent effort.

Another way stay consistent is to create a schedule. This can be as detailed as you need and as your circumstances dictate. For example if you are unemployed and fully engaged in the job search your daily or weekly schedule should be more specific since you have more time to dedicate to your job search and it should be your number one priority.  If you are working and either looking to change jobs or simply keep your network strong then you can work with a little looser schedule; fit it around your work obligations.  Just remember even though you are working your networking activities should not stop. Yes it’s harder to do this and even more difficult to perform a quality job search but once again consistent effort will win the day.

This is of course easier said than done but if you keep yourself laser-focused on the end goal you will find yourself making significant steps towards that goal each time.

Now, I just need to follow my own advice.

Until next time….

 

Uniqueness July 21, 2016

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Whether looking for a job or looking for customers it pays to have a competitive advantage, or uniqueness, sometimes even called a unique selling proposition.

Consider this. You can buy a specific brand of car – Chevy for example, at three dealers within the Rochester area and according to Google about 16 others within an hour or so drive.  What makes you decide to buy from one particular dealer over the others?  It could be price, customer service, reviews, recommendations or any number of different factors.  If one of these factors is particularly important to you it may be enough to make you drive one-hour just to buy from that specific dealer when one is perhaps 15 minutes away but they don’t have that characteristic that is most important to you.  This is the net effect of their competitive advantage-uniqueness-unique selling proposition.

Getting a handle on your own competitive advantage can help you land interviews and then during the interview make it easy for your potential employer to select you over the others. Provide them with something so irresistible, so truly unique that they will have no choice but to offer you the job. It’s not easy but it’s a worthwhile exercise to go through and it could be just what you need to move yourself forward.

Until next time….

Tell Me About a Time…. June 30, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Uncategorized.
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While a fairly typical interview question I still cringe every time I hear it, however telling stories (and telling them well ) is part of the job search. The challenge comes with what to say and how much to say?  If you don’t give enough information you leave the interviewer hanging and wanting more.  They may ask for more or may simply figure you have nothing more to offer and move on which results in a missed opportunity.

So what is the magic formula? Check out this very short article which provides a simple framework you can use the next time anyone asks you to “tell me about at time…”

Enjoy the long July 4th weekend.

Until next time….

Advice to Recent Grads (and a Refresher for the Rest) Part 2 June 16, 2016

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I’d like to continue with my thoughts from my previous post with some additional topics recent graduates may want to consider as they look to secure their first gig.

Identify your brand.

  • Who are you and what do you offer? Face it, you are a product and a product needs to be explained to potential buyers (employers). What are your unique selling propositions? What do you have to offer that other people do not?  Think carefully about this as it can be a real advantage to offer something the other candidates cannot.
  • Did you have internships while you were in school?
  • Did you work other jobs to help pay for your education? This can be seen as  big plus but fear not if you were not working to help pay the fact you had a job and were able to juggle it with  your other commitments demonstrates positive characteristics to a potential employer.
  • Did you play a sport? This like holding down a job shows how you can successfully balance multiple priorities.  Where you team captain (leadership)?

Identify target companies. 

  • What type of companies do you want to work for, beyond a particular industry?
  • Some things to consider:
  • Number of employees
  • Revenue
  • Years in business – start up or well established
  • Location
  • Reputation
  • Culture

Research your target companies

Use some of these tools to find out more about your target companies. Leverage your developing network too; find out who knows someone who either works there or worked there in the past.

Leverage your career services office and the alumni network. Take full advantage of your career services office.  Just because you are no longer on campus does not mean you can’t benefit from these services.  Check in with your alumni relations office and find out how they can help hook you up with previous grads who may be working for your target companies.  Use LinkedIn to find alumni groups on LinkedIn and join them.

Speaking of LinkedIn.

Make sure your profile is complete, including a nice head shot for your profile.  No frat party or spring break photos here, take the time to get a nice professional photo or if you have a nice clean image crop it.  Not on LinkedIn or only have a partial profile?  What are you waiting for??? Get this fixed right now.

Landing that first gig can be a challenge and may try your patience and possibly cause some self doubt. Stay positive, you are not the first person to experience this.  Celebrate the small victories along the way and maintain the positive “self-talk.”  Before you know it you’ll be gainfully employed!

Until next time….