jump to navigation

It’s Been a While September 29, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

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….

 

Breaking the Ice August 27, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

If you’re like me (and probably many others) you may find it hard to initiate a conversation with someone (or a group) you don’t know at a networking event.  You may smile and nod but your not sure what to say or how to say it and you don’t want to feel like you are interrupting or otherwise butting in.  Remember though most of the time people are in the same situation, also most people are more than willing to engage in polite conversation which could lead you anywhere.  Even your next job or customer.

I recently ran across an article on this topic from The Ladders and thought it might be helpful. There are a few new suggestions here that may help; depending on the type of event and the crowd.  One thing I’ve found most helpful is to arrive at the event 15 minutes early; this way you can catch a glimpse of who is registering and make note if they alone or part of a group and then determine how you can approach them.  This will also help you spot that elusive person you have been trying to meet for weeks and engage them in a friendly conversation.  I did this last night at an event and it worked very well.  I noticed someone whom I’ve not spoken with in quite some time was in line to register/check in so I made a mental note.  A few minutes later I scanned the crowd only to discover he was standing alone at a table so I strolled over said “hello long time no see” and went from there.

Let me know what you think of the article.  What would you add?

Until Next time….

Please Leave a Message January 15, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

I don’t get a lot of voice mails at work anymore, most of my communication (in and out) is via email.  However when the little red light on my phone illuminates indicating a message is waiting I’m always wondering “what now?!”

It never ceases to amaze me how the simple act of leaving a comprehensive and coherent message seems lost on so many people, even those who use the phone for a living  – like sales representatives.  I cannot tell you how many times I receive a message like this:

“Hi this is Stu with Widgets incorporated please call me at 211-555-7777.”

I received a message just like this while I was out of the office for the holiday break and it got me to thinking.  How do you leave a message in support of your job search efforts, business development efforts or if you are returning a call from another party?

I think the recipe for an effective message boils down to a few simple ingredients: Please note some of these may overlap.

1-Who are you  – please use your first and last name.  If you are calling from a particular organization make sure you include that as well.
2- Why are you calling me?  Clearly the reason you are calling the person. (Introduction, Follow Up, etc)
3- What are you calling about? – Clearly and succinctly state why you are contacting this person.
4- What action you would like the person to take after listening to your message.  (Return the call, mail payment, etc)

When done well you should end up with something like this.

Hi this is Rob Ewanow with Photo Booth Fun returning your call from Tuesday, January 13 around 1:00pm regarding a photo booth rental for your July 31 wedding reception at Belhurst Castle. You can reach me at 585-337-6030 or via my cell 585-905-8767.  Thanks for your call, I will speak with you soon.

Alternative for a job search.

Hello this is Rob Ewanow, I wanted to follow up on my email to you on Tuesday requesting a brief 30 minute meeting.  I was referred to you by Hal Johnson who felt you might be able to provide me with some suggestions with regard to my job search. I’d like to see if we can arrange a meeting at your convenience, you may reach me at 585-905-8767. Thank you.

What do you think?

Until next time….

Keep Your Network Contacts Warm January 23, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

The return of The Polar Vortex got me to thinking about ways to keep warm.  Specifically how to keep your network warm as this is a key component of your job search or the search for new customers.

Keeping your contacts warm and your network alive and breathing is critical regardless of your current employment status.  The effort required is minimal when compared to the effort it took to build it.  Being proactive helps you reduce the time it takes to land your next position and can be a significant advantage if you find your self involved in a protracted job search.  If your contacts remember you are looking, if your are “top of mind” as they say you have an increased chance of landing that next gig. Regular contact with your network can only accelerate these activities.

So what can you do to keep your network warm.  Simple, keep in touch, share information with key members; something they may find useful in their job maybe something which relates to their hobbies if you know their interests.

One of the things I do is to send an email each quarter to approximately 200 of my LinkedIn connections.  The email is simply an update of what I have been up to both in my personal and professional life and always includes an offer to get together or at least stay in touch and an offer of how I may be able to help them.  While I may not have a schedule full of meetings I do have a fair amount of people who send a quick email update back to me, if even just a few lines. In any event this simple task keeps my name in front of people (much like this blog).

It never fails when I run into someone at a networking event who is on my list they always make a reference to those emails, based on that I’d have to surmise not many people do this as frequently as they should (hint).

You have invested an enormous amount of time and effort in building your network now make that effort pay off by keeping your network warm throughout the year, don’t wait for the next polar vortex.

Until next time….

 

Taking the Fright Out of Networking Events November 7, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

I am an introvert by nature so anytime I attend an event its a challenge for me to meet new people.   That’s why during my job search I found more success with pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings than I did at group events.

Knowing this is an issue I continually push myself to “put myself out there” at events and have used a number of different tactics with mixed results. While I will forever be an introvert I am learning to mitigate any negative effects it could have on my networking activities whether they are for career or business development.

I ran across this article in Marketing Profs a couple of weeks ago and thought I would share it with you.  The title “Introverts Unite…” immediately grabbed my attention and made me read it right then and there as opposed to bookmarking it for a lunchtime read.  It’s a quick read and offers some solid advice for my fellow introverts.

Oh, if you’re not introverted I still encourage you to read it, the advice at the end can benefit anyone.

Until next time….

Be Bold July 18, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

One of the things I suffer from as I am somewhat of an introvert is a lack of “boldness.”  It’s not like me to just go up to someone and say hello, I look for a group of people, hopefully containing someone I know making the introduction process easier.  This tactic works in a live event setting but what about the virtual setting?

Your looking for your next gig or for new customers, maybe you are even building your own advisory board to assist with your job search or business venture.  One day you read an article about a specific company or person that’s doing something you are interested in learning more about or perhaps you share something in common with them.

What do you do?  What is your next step?

The answer?   Be Bold.  Seize the moment and send an email (or make that phone call if you are really confident, I prefer the email route first) and ask for a few minutes of their time to connect and pick their brain.  More often than not you will receive a positive response, people naturally want to help out because they have been where you are or know someone who has.

A willingness to consistently meet new people in a constant quest to expand your network is essential, no matter what your reason for networking.   The multiplier effect is phenomenal, the bigger your network the more opportunity you have to meet that person(s) who can propel you forward. You also have a better chance of finding that person you can propel forward.

Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Always be on the lookout for new contacts. They can present themselves anywhere, Wegmans, the gym, on a plane, etc.  I must admit I am guilty of not always following this.
  • Keep in touch with your network.  You want them to remember you so when an opportunity appears they think of you.  Consider this like a form of advertising.
  • Don’t be shy- Be BOLD.  Easy for me to say but not so easy to do.  I will be the first to admit.
  • Diversify.  Your network should represent a good cross-section of people from different industries, job titles, experience levels and to some extent geography.

Networking is not easy, like golf you have to constantly work at it, looking for ways to improve each time.  Being bold can certainly help you achieve this.

Until next week….

Thank You Notes – A Lost Art? May 9, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

One of the simplest and yet often overlooked tactics in the job search or the search for new (repeat) customers is the Thank You note.

Think about it, this is one of the easiest things you can do.   Simply saying “thank you for your time” or “thank you for your business” shows that you really care and sincerely appreciate the time someone spent with you or the money they spent for your product or service.

Thank you notes need not be paragraphs long or  written in flowery or fancy fashion, in fact I think the shorter and simpler the better.  In my opinion, the following are a few must haves for any thank you letter.

  1. Hand write “Thank You” somewhere on the note or card.
  2. Hand written notes are better than typed or emailed.  Though email is ok, you’ll stand out if you use the good old USPS plus you can’t hand write “Thank You” on an email.
  3. If using as part of your job search make sure you send a note to everyone you interview with, not just the hiring manager.
  4. Related to #3 above don’t send the same exact note to everyone, customize it based on the conversation you had with that particular person.
  5. Be specific – reinforce 1 or 2 of your accomplishments or attributes and how they apply to the position you are interviewing for.
  6. Most important – write and send it the same day!

There you have it.  What’s your opinion? Did I miss anything??  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Until next week….

Qualities of an Effective Networker March 14, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

The ability to effectively network is one of those skills everyone, but most importantly all job seekers (and business owners) must possess.  But how do you define an effective networker?  What qualities does and effective networker possess?  Here is my take after recently reading an article on similar topic.

  1. They add value – how can you help the person you are speaking with?  Do you know someone who could help them solve a problem or perhaps you can recommend a book or blog post on topic they are interested in?
  2. How did you know what their problem was or what they were interested in?  You ask questions and listen.  Listen more than you speak so you can learn more about the person in front of you.
  3. Make it personal – instead of answering the question “what do you do” with a boring elevator speech a recitation of your job description offer something of interest that demonstrates your personality and gives the other person a little more insight into who you “really are.”  For example you could mention your insane obsession with the sport of curling or your love of exotic travel to far-flung places.
  4. Fulfill promises – not matter how small make sure you hold up your end of the bargain.  If you told someone you would email them some information follow-up with a phone call then by all means DO IT!  This helps build up your networking credibility.

So do you agree?  What would you add to this list?

Until next week….

The Converged Model January 3, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

As I continue to (slowly) read The Referral Engine in order to improve the marketing of my Photo Booth business I can’t help but see the parallels to the job search and networking.

I already discussed this once before in a post titled Referral Marketing.  I can’t help correlating the most recent chapters regarding how some companies rely on technology to deliver content and context while others prefer to use touch (in person contact) to deliver connection and community.  Most companies (job seekers) are very good at one or the other but the one who will rise above is good at both.   Basically this person (company) leverages technology and touch to deliver the complete package of content-context-connection-community to their prospects, be they potential customers or the target companies on your marketing plan. The person who achieves this is using the “Converged Model.”

Those companies or people who use this model leverage technology (read here – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) to create deeper relationships with people and connect with them on a more personal level.  Combining technology (online) with the human touch (offline), brings all four of the “C’s” together strengthening and building your entire network. This convergence also enables easier and more frequent interaction though it should not replace the face-to-face (connection-community) part of the equation.  Many times job seekers can get lulled into a sense of “networking” because they are on LinkedIn for hours a day, this my friends is not going to get you where you need to be.  For sure it will help but its only one part of what you should be doing.

So what did we learn here?  As with everything in life you must strike a balance.  Your job search is no different, you need to find the right balance between tech and touch, one that will enable you to effectively use the converged model of content-context-connection-community to power your job search and achieve your goals in 2013.

Happy New Year!

Until next week….

The Networking Disconnect December 20, 2012

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Many times we may go to a networking event “expecting” something.  We are hoping to get that job offer, find that ever elusive hiring manager and wow them with our elevator speech which is so good they offer us a job on the spot, maybe we are looking for our next customer.

This is the attitude which contributes to the Networking Disconnect. 

The following article lays out 4 easy-to-follow and common sense steps you can use to prevent this from happening.  How many do you already use?  Which ones are you not using but know you should be?

Until 2013…..Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!