Networking at Holiday Parties

Networking at holiday parties

Image by leyla.a via Flickr

The Holidays are upon us!  Should you be networking at holiday parties?

We are all busy both giving and going to parties, shopping, wrapping, reconnecting with people we have not connected with since last year.  Is now the time to do some job search networking at holiday parties?

Of course!  This is a great time to extend your network to include all those people you have not seen for a year, only meet at your friend’s annual party, etc.

But how?

Of course you need a plan.

If you have followed this blog for any time at all, you know that you need to know what you want.  The next step is to find out who works at the companies you would like to be employed by and if that company should stay on your top ten list.  And parties are a great place to work on that!

Where are you in your job search?

Networking is…

Networking is where you give something that does not cost you much. Give your attention and focus and interest over drinks at your friend’s party to get what you value – insight into a company that you are interested in.

So step up to that new person and find out where they work and what they do.  Give them the gift of actually being interested.

If they work at one of the companies you have already determined to be of interest to you, get their take on how the company is doing, what the company is doing, what they think will happen next for that company.

Ask about their job, what they like, what they don’t like.  When they ask you why you are asking (if they do!), tell them that you think that company has a very interesting (whatever you have discovered in your earlier research into that company) and that you are excited to know more.

What is targeted networking?

But what if they don’t even work in my industry?

If the person you are talking with does not work at one of the companies you are interested in, then you should still give them the gift of your attention.  Ask if they know anyone who works at one or two of the companies you are interested in.  Ask them what they know about the company.  Have a conversation!! Make a friend!! Trade business cards, if that will work, but even more important is to take some notes when you are finished talking. Follow-up with an email later, thanking them for taking the time to talk with you!

Add them to your network!  Send them a Holiday card!

What are you doing over the Holidays?

Need some help with this? Schedule a coaching session here.

Should Your Job Search Include Smaller Companies?

small companiesby guest blogger, Mike Van Horn

A while back, I wrote an article on how smaller companies can compete for top talent with large corporations. Let me turn that around, and tell job seekers why you should consider looking at smaller companies. (I advise owner-run firms from 5 to 100 employees.)

— Shorter commute.

One 50-person client just hired a COO for $120k who’d received a $150k offer from a corporation in the city. He opted for a local 10-minute bike commute over the hour+ daily grind each way. He figured the extra two hours a day added to his life was worth $30 grand a year.

— More opportunity.

Another client hired a GM away from a much larger competitor. The guy saw that he’d reached the top where he was, and in the new job, he’d get to lead a major growth push. Big fish in a smaller pond.

— Less travel.

Many professionals in their 40s and 50s switch to smaller, local firms because they’re tired of constant travel they’ve had in their corporate jobs.

— Flexibility.

“Yes, we can bend your schedule around your kids’ soccer games.”

— More diverse opportunity.

You may get to take on a much greater variety of projects and responsibilities.

— Work directly with the principals.

Small companies may be headed by much more innovative and leading-edge people, and it’s a great opportunity to work with them.

— Less corporate bureaucracy and politics.

— Un-retired.

Here’s a big growing trend: Senior people retire from the corporation, then go to work for smaller companies. They trade less money for lower stress and flexible hours. The oldest guy working with us is in his mid 70s.

— Less risk of your job being off-shored.

Many small businesses market their personal contact and personal touch, and their customers prefer that. Personal contact cannot be off-shored.

— It’s a real job, not a contract job,

which seems to be the fate of many corporate job seekers these days.

There are a few downsides:

— Small companies may not offer as juicy a benefits package. However, don’t take this for granted these days!  Especially if your alternative is a corporate contract job.

— Some long-time corporate employees aren’t cut out for the small business environment. They may be accustomed to narrower duties, superiors telling them what to do (thus uncomfortable taking initiative), having a lot of support staff (thus not resourceful at getting things done). But by far the worst quality is exhibiting “employee mentality” rather than the “entrepreneur mentality” needed in a small, dynamic firm. And I’m talking about top-level managers! You must look at yourself to make sure you could be comfortable in a small business culture.

——-

Mike Van Horn’s company, The Business Group, leads peer advisory groups for owners of growing businesses. http://blog.businessownerstoolbox.com

 

Want to discuss your job search? Click here

Ten Secrets of a Successful Résumé

resumesGuest Blog by Pam Condie

 

The most important thing to keep in mind when building a résumé is its purpose:  answering the employer’s need for you to solve a problem he/she has that can’t be solved with his/her current staff.  That is the employer’s only interest in you.  Focus your résumé to answer his/her question.  That is what will get your foot in the door for a job interview.

  1.  Make your résumé long enough to tell your story but tell it succinctly.  There is a myth out in the ether that a résumé will not be read if it is longer than one page.  Wrong!  I have seen many résumés that had the life edited out of them because they were squeezed into a single page of small print – not appealing to the hiring manager.
  2.  When I worked in human resources I often found that hiring was a messy, frequently changing process.  Cover letters and résumés could get separated, particularly if we had received many responses to a job opening.  Be certain that all pages of your résumé as well as your cover letter have your name and contact information in the footer of each page.  At the bottom of your first page write “continued on next page” if you have a second page.   Otherwise the reader will not know if you have finished writing or if he/she should look around for a missing second page.
  3.  As they teach in accounting classes, “Check your work, check it and check it again.” Check for spelling and English errors.  A careless error can turn a reader off and damage your credibility as someone who pays attention to details.  Don’t depend on a software spelling feature to catch all mistakes.  The engineer who wrote the program was most likely not an English major.
  4.  Most human beings are lazy readers.  Be kind to them.  Make your font 11 or 12 point.  Smaller fonts are harder on the eyes.  Larger looks amateurish.
  5.  Times Roman is the most popular font in the US and allows more information per square inch than most others.  Pick it or one that is neither unusual nor fussy looking.  Keep things simple.
  6.  Since most people resist reading, especially reading long sentences and paragraphs, divide your résumé into smaller batches of information to invite the reader in.
  7.  The objective is the first piece of information at the top of the first page. A clear objective helps the human resources department track your document more easily.  It answers the employer’s question, “What do you want from me?”  Keep the objective brief, to the point and possibly slightly broad, i.e., “Director of Sales.” Keep in mind that you have an electronic copy of your résumé and can tweak the objective if you need to for other job openings.   (Connie disagrees with the use of objectives and feels you should have 3-5 bullet points that show the things that you can do, and like to do, that the employer needs for this job. Louise Goeckel, Let’s Go Forward.biz, suggests a headline like “Director of Sales known for _________ with talent in ________.”)
  8.  The first third of your first page is the most valuable real estate on your résumé.  The latest study shows that recruiters spend a maximum of six seconds screening your résumé for further review. State your case there in a career summary, the snapshot of your career.
  9.  Unless you are in the field of education, medicine or diplomacy or you are a new graduate, your education goes near the end of your résumé. If you had a college minor subject or a scholarship or an academic honor, do include it.
  10.  Community activities are nice to include at the end of the résumé. They demonstrate industry and the physical and mental energy for a balanced life. Be careful of mentioning activities with controversial groups here.  You never know where people’s prejudices lie in spite of what they say. (Connie disagrees.  Only include if you KNOW that the hiring manager does the same thing.)

 

Pam Condie is a former HR person and a Certified Professional Resume Writer who works with people from all industries to clarify and write their next resume.  She can be reached at www.pamcondieresumes.com

Want an Unbeatable Résumé? Read These Tips from a Top Recruiter. – Forbes

Want an Unbeatable Résumé? Read These Tips from a Top Recruiter. – Forbes.

Kerry HannonKerry-Hannon_avatar_1452180055-400x400, Contributor at Forbes, has written an excellent article on resumes and job search in general.  I highly recommend reading this.

What do you think?

Remember that a resume is not really about you – it is about how you can solve the problem/need that the company has.

If you need some one-on-one help with this, book a time here.

 

Does your LinkedIn Profile turn off recruiters?

 

Nederlands: Linked In icon

Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recruiters are all over LinkedIn, searching daily for the right people to fill their open positions.  Are you visible?  Do they like what they see?

The people who are most active on LinkedIn are seen the most – just as the people who attend networking events are seen by more people than those who sit behind their computer instead.  You really need both.

How can you be active on LinkedIn?

First, use that Status Update box at the top of your Home page.  Ask a question, share a link, make a statement.  This is called “engaging”.  Do be engaging in the other meaning of the word – be nice.
You can Like, Comment or Share right from your Home page.  Choose to do so once or twice a day.  Pick the people from companies you are interested in, or who have jobs like the one you are interested in, or just because you agree or disagree with what they posted.  You will also find jobs listed here. (Remember to apply only for those for which you have at least 85% of the requirements)

Go a bit deeper:

Join a few appropriate groups (you can have as many as 50, but only join those you can keep up with). Like, comment, share AND start a new conversation/discussion. Check out the Members tab in the Group.  Invite a few from the group, especially those whose posts you have commented on or who have commented on your posts. 

What should go on your Profile?

LinkedIn has choices for everyone, but some won’t apply to you.  Remember that this is where you go to see and be seen.  There will be some things that you don’t want people to know about – that dreadful short-term job you had in college, the exact date you graduated from school or left a job, or got an award.  You only need to go back 10-15 years in your experience section.  Put your volunteer work, boards of directors you have been on, all non-employment information in the Additional Information section and use the categories there.

And if you are looking for work, please put your contact info – either email or phone number somewhere in the Summary or Additional Info. If you are not a 1st degree connection of the recruiter or hiring manager (and how could you be?), they will have to dig to connect with you outside of LinkedIn.  

Most frustrating of all are the Profiles that have your name and title and that is all.  You are missing a wonderful chance to be seen while still behind your computer.

Contact me if you need some help with your Profile!

Connie

 

 

 

So, you just got the news…. What are your immediate next steps?

what are the immediate next steps?

Image via Wikipedia

So, you just got the news….

You along with millions of other Americans have just received the news that you are no longer needed at your place of employment.  Call it a lay off, call it downsizing, call it termination of employment…the result is the same – you are unemployed and you need to start your job search.

Immediate next steps

How you handle the news and what you do immediately will set the stage for the next “chapter in your career.”  I am only going to cover the initial steps to take to “get going.”

Learn from the old role,
Determine the story,
Refresh your network, then
Start the job search

The first step is to take some time to quietly reflect on your past role; What went really well? What did you learn from the role and from your co-workers? What were your Key Accomplishments? Do these first, as we seldom remember the good things.  Only when this list is exhausted, should you write down the improvement/opportunity items.  The purpose is not to lay blame or assign fault, but rather to really search deep inside to position yourself for your new role.

We are not writing your résumé nor writing the great American novel here, but simply you need to be clear in your mind what your accomplishments were in your role, why they are important, and why you left this role and are searching for a new role.  Everyone will ask these questions and you need to be prepared; friends and family will want to know how you are doing and what you are going to do next, recruiters will definitely ask why you left and this is great practice for your 30 second elevator speech. So determine the story you are going to tell and move forward.

You likely have neglected your network while you have been working… We all do, the job is your focus and your network is secondary. Now it is time to focus on your network.  Dust off the lists you already have; friends, family, school contacts, LinkedIn, Facebook, recruiting firms, charitable groups, etc.  Don’t send out anything, just update the list and make sure the information is correct.  Now with a newly refreshed networking list, send out your first note using a format that includes some background, what help looks like, and how you can help each other.  Remember, you are NOT asking for a job, you are looking for more contacts that will lead you to a new role.

Now it’s time to actually start your job search.  There are absolutely tons of resources on how to conduct a successful job search.  I’ll leave that up to the experts, but by immediately (at least within the first week) completing the first three steps (learn, story, refresh) you are ready to begin with a positive attitude, knowledge of what was successful during your last role and a great networking list.

Good luck.
by Guest Blogger
Bruce W. Dougan, SPHR
BWD Management Consulting
513-508-0351
BWDougan@gmail.com
What do you think? Is it time to dust off your network?  Perhaps even polish it? – Connie

updated 3/29/17

 

Excellent post for our returning Vets

Family Album: Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Ro...

Family Album: Medal of Honor recipient Pfc. Ross A. McGinnis (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

Excellent post for our returning Vets

The biggest issue for returning Vets is recasting their excellent skills and experiences into civilian language.  The best way to learn the language is to connect with people who are doing for industry what you did for the military and listening to stories, noting the similarities and differences.  “Shadowing” someone on the job for a day or two will probably help tremendously. 

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