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The “Second Handshake” April 6, 2017

Posted by robewanow in Uncategorized.
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I never heard of the “second handshake” before but I believe the approach has merit.  Too often we introduce ourselves at a networking event, hand of a card chat for 15-20 seconds and then move on.  After doing that, what have we really accomplished?  Not much.

Check out this article to learn how to get to the “second handshake.”

Until next time….

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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

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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….

 

I Suck at Networking April 28, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Uncategorized.
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Really I do.  I could really use some improvement in this area.  It seems that when one is Pressureemployed we quickly “fall out of practice” with our networking skills.  One of the “advantages” of being unemployed is your sole focus is setting up meetings and networking your way towards your next gig.

But should being fully employed stop you/me?  No it should not and maybe I should not put so much pressure on myself to network, network, network. Just relax and let it happen naturally.  Forget about how many people you met at that last chamber mixer or how many business cards you collected at the last Digital Rochester event. It only takes one good conversation to lead you to that next thing whether its a job lead or a new customer.  This  conversation can happen anywhere too!  Where is the most unique location you’ve had such a conversation?

Many people say networking is not fun.  If that’s you then its time to make it fun. How do you make it fun?  Join a club that interests you, a photography club, bike club, book club.  Pick groups that participate in events and activities you like such as wine tastings, beer tastings, sports.  Engage the person next to you on the tread mill at the gym, talk fitness.  Heck it’s safe to assume you are both there for the same reason.  Compare notes! Ask for suggestions.  You really don’t know where the conversation can lead.

Consider joining  a professional group which aligns with your career goals and attend any educational events, conferences, mixers, etc. they may offer.  This has two benefits.  You might learn something you can bring back to your job AND you might make that connection you’ve been looking for.

Bottom line, we can all improve our networking skills and networking in itself is not normal.  So chill out, relax and have fun.  You might be surprised with the results.

Until next time….

 

 

 

Happy Chinese New Year – The Year of the Monkey February 11, 2016

Posted by robewanow in Job Search, Uncategorized.
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Monkey2016This week marks the celebration of the Chinese or Lunar New Year, this year is the year of the Monkey and is the ninth of 12 animals in the recurring Chinese zodiac cycle.  Additionally in Chinese astrology each year is also associated with one of five elements; for 2016 that element is fire, technically making 2016 the year of the Fire Monkey.  Interesting to note while the animal signs repeat every 12 months the animal-element combinations recur every 60 years.  People born in Fire Monkey Years tend to be optimistic, adventurous and positive this holds true for the year in general too.

How does this affect your job search?

Well in addition to the above characteristics, monkeys are considered inventive, creative and energetic – good traits for those in job search mode this year.

We all know your prospects can change from feast to famine and back again overnight.   If you are like a monkey this won’t derail your search because you have the ability to creatively adjust your tactics and the energy to keep pushing in the face of adversity.  In addition, the positive energy associated with this zodiac sign will give you the extra push you need and get you one step closer to your next opportunity.

So what’s holding you back?

Get out there and act like a monkey!

Until next time….

 

 

 

2016 Networking Resolutions January 21, 2016

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I know this may be a bit late but on the other hand it may be beneficial.  We seem to get bombarded with “resolution” posts and articles the first few days of the year.  Now that the dust has settled I would like to offer 10 networking resolutions for 2016 for you to ponder.

  1. Break out of your comfort zone – do something you would not normally do or are too shy to do in the course of your search, challenge yourself.
  2. Revisit those who were of great help to you – move the relationship forward, while you’re at it see how you can help them (this is one I certainly need to improve on).
  3. Practice sincere gratitude towards those you meet along the way.
  4. Set realistic yet challenging goals.
  5. Celebrate your success along the way.
  6. Honestly assess how effective your job search has been.  How many meetings are you averaging?  Have you followed up on all your promises? How much time do you spend “surfing the net” hoping to find that one job posting? What time do you get up each morning? How are you presenting yourself, what do you wear when you meet with people?
  7. Make improvements where needed.
  8. Revisit your target list as some of the companies you crossed off may be hiring now or at least willing to speak with you.
  9. Target one executive you want to speak with then do everything you can to find your way into his/her office.
  10. What’s your resolution?

Until next time….

 

Give Thanks November 19, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Family, General, Job Search, Uncategorized.
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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 2016 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.

Check Your Priorities July 30, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Uncategorized.
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I did not post the last couple of weeks due to a couple of things.

Work has been quite busy between Gleason and my Photo Booth biz sometimes its hard to get to the other things in life, like this blog.  I normally blog during lunch but just could not carve out the time to get it done and forget about trying to do it after work, there are too many competing priorities.

So how do these two experiences relate to the job search? Simple, it all boils down to priorities.

When you’re immersed in your job search it’s easy to lose track of the other things in your life.  True, you must dedicate the proper amount of time to your search but you should not let it consume you.

When you are planning your weekly activities such as who you are meeting with, who you need to follow-up with and who you need to initiate contact with make sure you allow time for your family, yourself and other important parts of your life.  Driving yourself too hard can not only affect your health and your relationships but it can also affect your job search.

When we push to hard sometimes we can find ourselves acting desperate.  When it comes to a job search nothing is more detrimental than desperation.  The people you meet with, speak with, even email with can sense it almost immediately, this could lead to problems securing one-on-one meetings or additional referrals – the life blood of your job search.

Keeping your priorities in focus during your job search keeps you balanced both mentally and physically while simultaneously helping you move forward each week with a clear sense of purpose and direction.

Until next time….

Closing The Loop Part 2 July 9, 2015

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In my last post I discussed the importance of closing the loop from the employer perspective.  This week I would like to tackle it from the Job Seeker perspective.

You invest a lot of time and effort into securing a meeting or interview so you should invest at least an equal amount of time in following up after your meeting.  But do you?  What do you do after you have met with someone?

  • First – send a thank you note or email.  Maybe both.  Let the person know you appreciate their time and look forward to the next steps.  This is also a good opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and maybe reinforce how your background is a good fit for the position or add in something you may have neglected to mention during the interview.  If this was a networking meeting maybe you reinforce one or two target companies (people) you are interested in if you did not mention them before or if your contact was not able to provide info during your meeting.
  • After a week I would attempt to contact the interviewer again via phone, if unsuccessful I would leave a brief message stating that you are following up on a conversation on (enter specific date) regarding the (opportunity name) and you would like to check in on your status as it relates to that opportunity. Of course don’t forget to mention that you are still very interested in the opportunity.
  • After another week or so you have not heard anything it may be a good time to try an email using the same succinct approach as mentioned above.  I’d also reference the fact that you did leave a voice mail on (specific date) and would appreciate any information regarding your status.
  • If your first two attempts have not met with success, after another 5-7 days I would try one last time, preferably via phone (if you have a direct number) once again restating your interest and that you have attempted to follow up  a couple times over the last several weeks and you would appreciate an updated so you can appropriately plan your next steps.

I know its been proven that the more frequently a sales person makes a follow up call the higher the probability they will close a sale.  However in this instance I tend to follow the three strikes rule, if after three attempts you hear nothing it is safe to assume you are not a fit.  I think three attempts to follow up and close the loop sufficiently proves your level of interest, professionalism/courtesy and attention to detail.

What are your thoughts?  Job seekers?  Recruiters?

Until next time….