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

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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….

Comeback Victory March 2, 2017

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I know it has been about one month since we witnessed a historic comeback and the first ever overtime game for the Super Bowl but the lessons learned from this and how you can apply them to the job search and networking are too powerful (in my opinion) to ignore.

We all know how the game started, Atlanta dominated the game, New England look completely lost and unable to mount a sustained drive as Atlanta shut them down while seemingly moving up field on offense at will. Frustration was beginning to set in with New England, you could see it on their faces; nothing they seemed to do was working.

Does this sound familiar? Do you sometimes feel like your networking activities are ineffective, no matter what you do?  You look at others and feel like they are dominating the room while you continue to struggle.  Do your resulting job search efforts suffer the same fate?  No matter what you do you can’t seem to get the interview or if you do go through multiple interviews you can’t seem to close the deal?  (Been there, done that myself.)

What’s been your next move when faced with these situations? Do you keep doing what you are doing and hope things will change?  Do you give up?  Take a break and collect your thoughts?

What you SHOULD do is take a page out of the New England Patriots playbook. They kept hammering away until they found an opportune time to take a break (halftime) and re assess their game plan.  You should do the same.  When you have time in your schedule (if you need to, block out time, stop your networking activity for a few days) and look at the “game film” from the first half.  Carefully examine what you have been doing and determine why it’s not working.  Ask a friend or relative to offer you some advice based upon their observations.  Then take the data you have gathered and formulate a revised plan to help break through whatever is holding you back allowing you to create your own comeback victory.

Even if you are not a fan of the Patriots you have to admire the adjustment they made at half time and more impressive, their never-say-die attitude. Adopting this same process and mind set in your networking and job search activities (and life in general) can go a long way to helping you reach the goals you have set.

Until next time….

 

 

Letters…Oh We Have Letters… January 5, 2017

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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….

Holiday Networking Galore December 1, 2016

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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….

How to Leverage Networking Groups October 27, 2016

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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….

 

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

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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….

A Spring Cleaning Checklist March 19, 2015

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According to the calendar, tomorrow (March 20) is the official first day of Spring.  Like many of you here in Western New York I am sure this is welcome news after the long hard winter we endured.  Though as we all know its not unusual to experience some of mother natures mean tricks like snow and ice in April so I will temper my enthusiasm just a bit.

However, with thoughts of spring come other ideas like sleeping with a window open, the flowers blooming and for others spring cleaning.  Which made me think it may be time to give your job search a spring cleaning.  Just like your house, apartment, car or garage your job search can benefit from a little tidying up here and there and some reorganization.

Some ideas:

  1. Clean up your marketing plan and sharpen it’s focus.  Consider revising the types of positions you are looking for or punching up some of your accomplishments,  use active verbs to grab the readers attention, provide specific figures where possible.
  2. Reorganize your daily routine.  If your search has taken longer than you hoped look at how you may be able to better focus your energies.  Are you spending too much time behind the computer or behind your desk and not enough time meeting one-on-one with people?
  3. Refresh your interview skills.  Go through a mock interview and get feed back on strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Discover new treasures.  Go to a networking event you have never been to instead of your usual ones, you might just meet someone new.
  5. Renew. Learn a new skill or update your existing skills.  You have the flexibility others do not, use it to your advantage.
  6. Get outside and take a walk, its amazing how you can clear your mind just by walking on a nice spring day. Some of my best ideas and greatest inspirations hit me during my lunch time walks.

Until next time….

Please Leave a Message January 15, 2015

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

Merry Christmas December 18, 2014

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I would like to take this time to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

As my “gift” to you I present you with my top five blog posts of the year based upon number of views.

Thank you for your continued readership and support.

Until 2015…..

Top Five Blog Posts from Rob Ewanow

  1. Chaos at the Airport
  2. Three Letters You Must Have
  3. The Cultural Divide
  4. Informational Meetings – Your Key to Job Search Success
  5. Elevator Speech-Yes, No, Maybe?