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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….

 

Networking Advice for the Recent Grad May 25, 2016

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For most universities graduation season has passed by and another batch of graduates is on the street actively looking for work with the hopes of putting all they have learned over the last 4 years (or more) to good use.  According to different sources I’ve heard this is one of the more challenging years for recent grads to find work but at the same time I’ve heard it is just as challenging as previous years. It is what you make it I suppose.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post my opinion is many recent grads lack the skills needed to conduct a quality job search after graduation.  This is one area where I think all universities could improve by simply offering a one semester course the beginning of junior year tailored specific to the job search.

Here are my recommendations for a successful job search for recent college grads (and any other job seeker for that matter).

  1. Build your network – when doing this remember quality trumps quantity.  Attend various networking functions, set up informational meetings in order to find the right people who can connect you, direct you and offer support and guidance along the way.  Don’t forget to find out how you can help them as well – it’s easier than you think.
  2. Update your resume – make sure any/all relevant work experience appears even summer or campus jobs as these show drive, maturity and responsibility.  Make sure you include any academic recognition (honors, awards, etc) in order set yourself apart from the rest of the field.
  3. Clean up your act – give your social media profiles the “once over” making sure to remove any questionable content.  Update or create your LinkedIn profile making sure to include a nice professional looking photo as this is frequently the first place HR people will visit.
  4. Be visible – it’s true we live in a connected world now but you need to get out from behind the computer if you want any shot at getting the job you want.  Volunteer at a local organization, attend industry related events, set up lunch meetings or even go to the gym during the afternoon, you never know who is sneaking in a quick lunchtime workout.  It could be your next boss.

No doubt landing that first gig is a challenge but if you get yourself organized, follow some simple guidelines and set up a regular routine you will find yourself signing that offer letter sooner than you think.

Until next time….

Tis The Season….. December 3, 2015

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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With 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.

Starting with Thanksgiving and rolling through Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah or any other holiday you celebrate there will 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. Did you attend “Festivus”  this week?
  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.  The same holds true for those who live in a more traditional neighborhood, get some folks together maybe do a progressive dinner or something like that.
  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

What would you like to hear about?  What topic do you want to learn more about?  Leave me a comment and I’ll put my thinking hat on.

Until next time….

Graduation Season and The Job Search May 29, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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For most universities graduation season has passed by and another batch of graduates is on the street actively looking for work with the hopes of putting all they have learned over the last 4 years (or more) to good use.  According to different sources I’ve heard this is one of the better years for recent grads to find work but at the same time I’ve heard it is just as challenging as previous years. It is what you make it I suppose.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post my opinion is many recent grads lack the skills needed to conduct a quality job search after graduation.  This is one area where I think all universities could improve by simply offering a one semester course the beginning of junior year tailored specific to the job search.

Here are my recommendations for a successful job search for recent college grads (and any other job seeker for that matter).

  1. Build your network – when doing this remember quality trumps quantity.  Attend various networking functions, set up informational meetings in order to find the right people who can connect you, direct you and offer support and guidance along the way.  Don’t forget to find out how you can help them as well – it’s easier than you think.
  2. Update your resume – make sure any/all relevant work experience appears even summer or campus jobs as these show drive, maturity and responsibility.  Make sure you include any academic recognition (honors, awards, etc) in order set yourself apart from the rest of the field.
  3. Clean up your act – give your social media profiles the “once over” making sure to remove any questionable content.  Update or create your LinkedIn profile making sure to include a nice professional looking photo as this is frequently the first place HR people will visit.
  4. Be visible – it’s true we live in a connected world now but you need to get out from behind the computer if you want any shot at getting the job you want.  Volunteer at a local organization, attend industry related events, set up lunch meetings or even go to the gym during the afternoon, you never know who is sneaking in a quick lunchtime workout.  It could be your next boss.

No doubt landing that first gig is a challenge but if you get yourself organized, follow some simple guidelines and set up a regular routine you will find yourself signing that offer letter sooner than you think.

Until next time….

 

How Your Job Search is Like Shaving Your Beard April 24, 2014

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Back in December I wrote about how your job search is like growing a beard. 

Well, now that spring has sprung the beard has been shed which got me to thinking.  “How is your job search like shaving your beard?”

When shaving your beard or looking for your next opportunity:

  1. It may take a little time to adjust to your new look or new situation, persistence pays off.
  2. Think of it as a new beginning a chance to work in a new industry or new position or to find that company with the perfect culture.
  3. Approach it with a new or different attitude, positive attitude brings positive results.
  4. Give it a fresh look – update your resume, your networking profile, maybe brush up on some old skills or learn a new one.
  5. Regular maintenance is still required.  You must groom, trim and nurture your network and your face.  Repeat frequently.
  6. While all many not agree with your tactics or direction, remember you need to do what works for you.

Until next time….

Informational Meetings – Your Key to Job Search Success March 6, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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Informational (one-on-one) meetings are the single best tool in your job search tool box.  If you successfully master the use of this tool your transition time will be much shorter compared to those not utilizing this tool.

Today, I ran across this article specific to one-on-one meetings and thought I would share it with you as it provides a good primer on why this is your best option and also offers suggestions for how to set up and run these meetings.

I do however have a few points of disagreement.

  1. I do not believe you should only meet with those in your current or intended industry or profession.  Many times people outside these areas can offer relevant insight and advice.  Human resources, finance, engineering, all have something to offer.  While you should strive to meet with as many people in your industry/profession do not limit yourself.
  2. Avoid phone meetings.  These types of meetings work best face-to-face; it allows you to make a better connection with the person and also forces you to focus on that person.
  3. Don’t bring your resume instead bring your marketing plan/ networking profile.  Don’t have one?  Then don’t schedule a single meeting until you do.
  4. Strive for 2-3 referrals at each meeting.  I think the author is doing a disservice by suggesting getting only 1.  Many times people will have multiple names, again don’t  limit yourself.

Whatever you call them, networking meetings, referral meetings, informational meetings or one-on-one meetings.  If you are not using this tool in your job search you are missing out.  Get going today.

Keep Your Network Contacts Warm January 23, 2014

Posted by robewanow in Business Development, Job Search.
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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….

 

How Your Job Search is Like Growing a Beard December 5, 2013

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What am I talking about?  Well, in what has become an annual winter ritual for me over the last few years I am growing a  beard which for me takes a bit longer than average.

Which got me to thinking, this whole process is strikingly similar to the job search process.

When growing a beard or looking for your next opportunity

  1. Realize it can take longer than you originally thought.
  2. Experiment with different looks (resumes, marketing plans, business cards or beards).  See what works and what doesn’t and which presents you in the best light.
  3. Understand there will be a phase where things are “rough around the edges”, over time and with the benefit of experience and helpful connections you will smooth them out.
  4. Regular maintenance is required.  You must groom, trim and nurture your network and your face.  Repeat frequently.
  5. While all many not agree with your tactics or direction, remember you need to do what works for you.

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….

Manage Your Network Contacts September 5, 2013

Posted by robewanow in Job Search.
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I made up a new acronym.

NRM = Network Relationship Management.  Ok its not really original all I did was take an existing acronym CRM = Customer Relationship Management and replace a word.

So what is CRM?

Companies large and small actively communicate with their customer base in an effort to solicit feedback for product development, sell additional products and services and remain “top-of-mind” with their customer base.  These activities help solidify the Customer Relationship.

Why should your job search be any different?

Enter Network Relationship Management which seeks to achieve the same goals mentioned above with those in your personal network.

Consider the following comparisons.

  1. Solicit feedback for product development – when you keep in touch with your network you gather intelligence on improving your #1 product – YOU.  What can you do better?  More of?  Less of?  How can you differentiate yourself?
  2. Sell additional products and services – through your regular communications you may uncover the opportunity to volunteer to serve on a board, chair a committee or share your talents in another way with an organization.
  3. Remain top of mind – this goes without saying.  Regular contact with your network keeps your name fresh in their mind so when an opportunity arises they will think of you first.  I have had first hand success with this as a result of my regular communications.

Next week I will discuss some tools and techniques to help you manage your network relationships.

Until next week….