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Windy Days and Stella Got Nothing on Us March 16, 2017

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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The last two weeks in Rochester have been quite interesting from a weather perspective to say the least. Last week we had the major wind storm with 80 mph gusts which knocked out power to over 100,000 people.  Then one week later we get a major winter storm which dumped more than two feet of snow on the area.  How much more can we take!

I bet you utter this phrase during your job search and networking activities as well. Sometimes it appears that no matter what we do we are faced with severe head winds or blinding snow that continues to pile up making it nearly impossible to get from point A to point B. It often seems we are not making any progress whatsoever.

This is when you need to step back take a breath and relax. As we learned over the last week, having an appropriate strategy and plan to recover from setbacks and obstacles and then implementing and monitoring that plan can help get you back on track much sooner than you’d expect.  Many people had power back in a few days, and after two days of our major highways being snow covered and treacherous today we experienced clear roads and a smooth commute thanks to the planning and constant monitoring by our public service officials.

How do you plan to recover from your next “Stella?”

Until Next Time….

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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….

 

Stop Procrastinating January 28, 2016

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I admit it.  I am guilty at times of procrastination, in some way at some point I think we all are.  The trick, I believe, is to recognize it and put an end to it.

Procrastination can be especially prevalent in the job search.  Some days it’s way easier to say “I’ll get to that tomorrow, I’ve got plenty of time.” Before you know it it’s 2 days or a week later and you still have not completed that task.  Maybe you needed to update your resume or follow up and schedule a meeting with a contact someone gave you in a prior meeting. The truth is the longer you put off a task the more likely it never be completed and when we are talking job search that will severely hamper your chances of landing quickly in the job you want.

Check out this interesting article I found on The Ladders.  It discusses 6 Easy Steps to Stop Procrastinating.   I admit, while I never heard or thought of the very first suggestion, it does make sense when you think about it.

Until next time….

Hypocrite! September 10, 2015

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to reconnect with a number of people I have not seen in quite some time. It was the 10 year anniversary of the founding of the Victor Power Networking Group of which I am proud to say I was a charter member.

Being part of this group is what provided me with the foundations for networking, how to build your network, how to nurture it and how to give back to others throughout the process.

As I reconnected while also making a few new connections it hit me that I’ve been “out of it” for a while. My networking activity has decreased over the last year. This is concerning as I felt like I was somehow disconnected from what is happening around town. I remember when I was a very active networker (mostly driven by the need to find a job) I felt like I had my finger on the pulse of the Rochester area and it was a good feeling to have.

Being such a big supporter of networking I felt a bit like a hypocrite. Here I write about how important it is and why you should do it and I am not even following my own advice!

The good thing is that I realized it now. My network contacts are still warm, my regular blog posting helps as does the PeerNet community and some other regular activities I participate in. However, things need to change. I must get more pro-active because as experience has taught me you never know when you will need the support and help of your network because you have lost your job or you are looking to change your job. People will remember that you only seem to “come around” when you need something. That’s not a good label to carry and it’s certainly one I don’t want.

So with the summer coming to a close and fall fast approaching and soon after that the holiday season I vow to improve my networking activities and be more proactive in reconnecting with some and more importantly making new connections for myself and others.

Let me know if I can help you.

By the way here is a blog post I did a while ago on Keeping Your Network Warm.

Until next time….

Chaos or Order? April 30, 2015

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I spent last week in China and Japan, my first visit to Asia.  In short it was a great visit and look forward to traveling there again.

The differences between the two countries and the two cities I visited, Beijing and Tokyo were stark.  Aside from the significant air pollution in China here are a two things I noticed.

  • In China, lane markings on the highway are “suggestions” follow them if you wish or even drive on the highway shoulder if needed.
  • In Japan, stay in your lane, follow the prescribed traffic control devices.
  • In China, cross the street at your own risk, no matter what the light says.  That taxi cab or motor scooter does not care about you, they have someplace to be.
  • Japan, pedestrians have the right of way and drivers will gladly wait for you to cross before they make their turn.

How does this relate to your job search?  Simple.  As you look at your past and current activities how would you characterize your approach?  Do you tend to operate in a more chaotic mode or do you have more order (process, methodology, rigor) to your search?

I’ll bet if you are not getting the results you had hoped for in the time frame you expected you may be on the chaotic side.  Take a look at what you are doing?  Are you staying in your lane, staying focused on the end goal or are you meandering about the highway with no particular regard for the “lane markings?”  Observe the lane markings (feedback, lack of focus/clarity in what you want, your resume – does it need an update or maybe a rewrite, interview skills, networking meetings – are you meeting frequently enough?)

Are you letting others “cross the street?”  In other words are you paying it forward making sure to help others at every opportunity?  You know it’s easier than you think, someone once told me everyone has something helpful they can offer to someone else.

Until next time….

Job Search Gone Cold February 12, 2015

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cold-620x400Just like our winter weather this year your job search can get cold real fast. Unlike the weather however you can control what happens next.  What do you do?  How do you react?

You can throw your hands up in the air and scream “why is this happening!!” or you can sit back and objectively review the situation.

Here are four things to consider.

  1. Is my company target list correct and up-to-date?  Review the list and make sure the companies offer the type of opportunities you seek.  Sometimes the company you are trying to get into may only have a small presence here, for example they may only have a sales team.  If you are looing for an engineering job with this company you’ll need to determine where those positions reside.
  2. Are you connecting with the “right” people?  Make sure the people you are meeting with can help you get one step closer to your next gig. Sometimes you don’t figure this out until it is too late but after a few times you learn how to spot these people.  This doesn’t mean you should not offer to help others if they can’t help you, what I mean here is these people “take” more than give and after all you need to make progress toward your goal.
  3. Am I meeting with the “right” people frequently enough?  One meeting a week just won’t cut it.  You should be meeting with at least five people every week, ideally more.
  4. What do your supporting documents look like?  When was the last time you updated your resume or cover letter?  How about that networking profile you use at your daily meetings, when was the last time you revised this document?  Don’t have one, then get one.  Now.

I am sure you have other suggestions.  What did I miss?  Where will you look in case your job search goes cold.

Stay warm!

Until next time….

Busy or Productive? February 13, 2014

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During your job search there is certainly no shortage of things to accomplish on a daily, weekly and even monthly basis. You have job listings to scan, LinkedIn profiles to view, meetings to set up and confirm, follow up letters to write and the list goes on and on.

You sure are a busy job searcher…..but are you Productive?

Being busy is good, however it does not mean you are actually “getting work done.” Being productive on the other hand means you age getting the meaningful work done, the activities, tasks etc. that get you one step closer to your next opportunity.

So how do you go from busy to productive?

  1. Review the tasks you do regularly.
  2. Determine which ones add value, keep the valuable ones and ditch the others they are just a distraction.
  3. Prioritize the valuable tasks – which ones offer the biggest payback?
  4. Proportion your time appropriately among these tasks.
  5. Review these tasks at regular intervals (monthly?) and adjust as needed.

Now you are not just a busy job seeker but instead a productive one and this will certainly give you an advantage over the other “busy bodies.”

Until next time….

Keep Your Network Contacts Warm January 23, 2014

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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….

 

3-Steps to Realizing Your Goals January 9, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Job Search, Work.
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Well it is that time of the year again.  Time for resolutions, time for goal setting of all sorts.  I want to lose 10 pounds, I need to save more, I have to do this-that-and-the-other-thing.

Most of the time these good intentions are short lived.  I see it every year at the gym.  A swell of new people beginning in January and then back to the “usual crowd” by mid March.

What can you do to stay on track to achieve your goals for 2014?  No matter what your goals are- Find a new/better job, attend more networking events, give more than I take, help someone else connect with that one elusive person there is a an easy three step process you can follow.

1-Write your goals down.  Sounds simple but if you commit to something on paper studies have shown you are more likely to achieve them.  It helps if you put your goal(s) in a visible place like your desk, your refrigerator, etc don’t limit it to one place use multiple places so you are more likely to see it multiple times every day.

2-Announce your goals – publicly.  Tell your family members, co-workers (if appropriate), friends, business associates what you plan to do this year. Heck even blog about it. Doing this is another form of commitment and a way to reinforce in your own mind what you need to do.

3-Have an accountability partner. This can be a spouse, best friend, parent, child, business partner.  The key is to find someone who will regularly ask you what type of progress you have made against your goal.  When I was looking for a job I was part of a group that met every week.  We were required to report on our job search activities from the previous week and if we did not accomplish what we promised, we had to answer for it. This weekly exercise kept me on track as I did not want to have to explain why I did not meet with the people mentioned or why I did not update my marketing plan.

While setting goals and making resolutions is a good first step, following these three easy steps will help you actually achieve them.  Come December 31  you can then look back on 2014 and say “I did it!” and that is certainly better than the alternative.

Until next week….

Networking Season is Upon Us September 26, 2013

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The calendar says it is officially Fall and the weather seems to be in agreement with cool nights and daytime temperatures in the low 70’s.  Ok, enough of the meteorologist bit here, this blog is supposed to be about networking and job search.

Many networking and professional groups either reduce or suspend their meeting schedule during the summer months as people get busy with vacations, kids sports and other family or personal obligations resulting in lower than normal attendance.

Now, however, they will return to “normal programing” and some may even add an event or two as we get closer to the holiday season.  (It’s not that far.  Did you know there are only 12 Saturdays until Christmas?.)

This will provide you with more opportunities to get out and meet some people, grow your network and strengthen relationships with those you have not seen in a while.  Maybe it is time to take in an event you have not attended in a while or to explore a brand new event, even it’s out of your comfort zone or perhaps not even related to your current or desired career.  You never know who you may meet at one of these out of the normal events.

Whatever you do make sure you get back in the habit of regular networking.  The summer break, while welcomed by many can sometimes lead us to become lazy and end up breaking the good habits we were following just a few months ago.

Next week I will offer a  brief refresher on some basic networking practices.

Until next week….