Do you need support and direction in your job search?

Do you need support and direction in your career?

Are you looking to partner with an accomplished career professional?

spamWe are all seeing an increase in SPAM messaging online, on LinkedIn and other applications. Most of these are flagrantly done as a way to solicit sales. However, some are inadvertent, including people who are innocently but desperately job searching, which is how it comes across – desperate, when done ineffectively. Well meaning and no malice intended but just not aware of the message they are sending.

This past month, as many of us do, I received a blind invitation on LinkedIn to connect with someone who for all accounts appeared to be what I consider a good new contact based on his contacts who know me and his background which would suggest that he may be a potential prospect for business as well. At the very least, people will sometimes connect and then ask specific questions about how to more effectively conduct their career transition.

However, within less than 24 hours I received the following:

My name is —–  and I am looking for a position as (Title) job opportunity in the field of building construction. Please find attached my cover letter and resume for your kind consideration. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.

Well, I had only just accepted his invitation in the last 24 hours at this point, knew nothing about him really other than what his LinkedIn Profile tells me. After replying to this individual, it prompted me to think about all the job seekers who engage in a similar fashion when networking to share the following which I suggest to consider as an alternative approach to using LinkedIn and networking with new contacts, online and offline.

  • Random messaging is not a very good approach to connecting with potential opportunities; in fact it will be frowned upon by many employers. It may even lead to people deleting you from their contact list on LinkedIn or reporting your message as Spam.
  • First, before sending a resume, research the firms that you plan to contact and customize your documents to meet their needs — once you are sure that they have a need for someone with your skills and experience. Make sure that they know why you are sending them your documents and even better that they anticipate receiving them. Possibly an introductory or networking letter would help in this regard. Then be sure to get a clear understanding of the best way to approach that firm and what the appropriate protocol might be to get you and your documents in front of a decision maker. Blindly asking for a job when you don’t even know what they need or asking someone you have just connected with to keep an eye out for you, will not get you the results you are seeking.
  • Second, if your intent is simply to ask your network to keep an eye out for opportunities that fit your background, then I suggest that you start by first building a relationship with them. LinkedIn is a great place to network and get to know people better. Then at some point, you might ask them for introductions to key contacts that can help in your search BUT only once they get to know you and what you have to offer.
  • Third, a more effective way to get noticed on LinkedIn and maintain a connection with potential target audiences is to first create a strong, keyword rich LinkedIn profile. This will help you get found in searches and queries by those seeking professionals like you. Then stay active on LinkedIn, post regular status updates, share information that illustrates you as a subject matter expert in your field, and participate in group discussions where people in your industry are gathered.
  • Last but not least, consider leveraging resources that are offered by LinkedIn for job seekers to help you use this application and maximize your efforts.

As I said in my reply to this individual, I share this with you because of the nature of my business where I help clients develop strong job search and career development strategies. In fact, had I been interested, I was not even able to open his resume because the Virus Scan blocked it.

SO if you are sending random messages through social media hoping that someone will find your next career opportunity for you, as comedian Bob Newhart would say: “STOP IT!” and use your time more effectively by not wasting other people’s time. Go about your networking and job search strategically but also respectfully. As a result you’ll receive the same in return and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many people actually want to help if you give them a chance to actually get to know you first.

Illustration courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Categories : Career Strategy
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Mar
02

LMI & You!

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 labour market informationFor those of you who have read past articles that I have written, you know that I strongly advocate for Labour Market Research as part of an effective Career Transition and ongoing Career Development strategy. “But WHY?” you might ask. Well, here are a few reasons and resources to consider as you ponder the next move in your career:

1) The Bubble Effect:

Most of us live in our own little bubbles when we are gainfully employed and busy following the routines that we have created along the way. For that reason, many of us never consider or even take the time to research the market in order to track trends, stay current, and most importantly keep abreast of where we might find a better fit (within or outside our current employer). Or for that matter, what our value might be in an open market.

2) Free Agency:

Free Agents in the world of sports don’t wait till they find themselves on the cusp of transition; they have representatives who start to reach out to other clubs in that particular sport to find out what their asking price might be in the market and who needs what they have to offer.

3) “Ro Ro”:

As that famous canine, Astro, from the Jetsons’ would say when trouble appeared on the horizon, this is typically when most of us give any thought to market research when career transition is either imposed on us or when we are at wit’s end and feel there is no alternative. For most though, it usually occurs when external factors push the envelope, as it’s been my experience that very few embrace the challenges that come with self-imposed change.  At this point, people scramble to try and figure out what their re-entry point into the market will be and how they might get there.

SO before that time comes, think about the following: Who’s hiring?  Who’s not?  What are the current and emerging growth industries?  What occupations will be in greatest demand? And ask yourself:

  1. What occupation(s) are you interested in?
  2. What is the job description of this occupation?
  3. What are the requirements for this occupation?
  4. What is the forecast for employment at this time? And in the next five to ten years?
  5. What is the salary range for this occupation? What are typical perks?
  6. What industries are you targeting? What are the most valued qualities sought by employers in the industry?
  7. What are the working and eco system conditions?
  8. What are the typical titles of this occupation?
  9. What else do you need to know to make an informed decision before moving forward?

Start researching the answers to these questions using these Canadian and U.S. resources.

Sitting tight is the easiest way to go — it’s comfortable and maybe you don’t need to make a change at all. But most of us can more easily navigate our way to the next level in our careers when we create a career road map that helps us to get there.

What are you doing to inform yourself about how to take your career to the next level? Or to be better prepared should the day come when there’s a “RoRo” scenario that forces you to start looking?

Categories : Career Development
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time for changeCareer transitions can be self-imposed, but more often than not they tend to be unexpected. Maybe you’re looking to make a change or you’ve just received the news that your position is being eliminated. Or maybe you’re a recent graduate about to enter the work force as you make the transition from academics to that first stop in your career. Whatever the circumstance, do you know where to start and do you know where you’re going? Have you figured out how you will navigate the career landscape?

Here are some simple steps to get you started:

1) Know yourself.

Take the time to assess yourself: your strengths, skills, interests, and values. Can you list the most significant accomplishments that you have attained to this point in your journey? Do you know what difference you want to make in the world?

The time you take to identify these areas will significantly impact the decisions you make moving forward with your current transition and future career development. Equipped with a better self-understanding allows you to brand yourself and share your WHY with the world. Doing so helps you to articulate your unique offering and allows others to understand why they want to do business with you and have you as part of their team.

2) Know where you want to go.

What’s important to you and what is the quality of life that you intend to create? What are the conditions that you want to engage in, either through employment or entrepreneurial scenarios? What are the possibilities?

If you’re the kind of person who goes shopping for anything from a car to your groceries without a clue as to what you’re looking for, then maybe this step won’t matter to you. But typically when you know what you want, you’re more likely to recognize it when it shows up. Creating clarity will pay you greater dividends in the long run.

3) Know the market.

Career Professionals of Canada has declared 2016 as the year of the Regional Labour Market. Do you know your market? What industries or sectors thrive in areas that you intend to approach? Who are the key players? Is your market local, regional, national, or international? For that matter, do you even know who needs what you have to offer?

When you understand the needs of your consumer, chances are greater that you can speak to that audience in terms of what they’re looking for, but to do that you need to know who they are and find out what they need. Then create a message to let them know how you can help them fulfill that need. We call these buying motivators — every consumer has them; you just need to figure out how to appeal to them.

“Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for it.” –  Katharine Whitehorn

I love this quote because it really brings home the essence of what I believe our careers should be. The marriage between what you love, what you excel at, and what others need, to make a lucrative and fulfilling living. So if you’re feeling a bit lost and not sure where to start …. or dissatisfied with your current career, before jumping from the frying pan into the fire, take the time to explore where you’re going next – you’re worth it!

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Categories : Career Development
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When it comes to our kids, we would do just about anything for them. We want them to succeed at everything. We want them to be active, contributing members of society. We teach our kids the best we know how and when they turn the right age we send them to elementary, secondary, and perhaps post-secondary schools to learn about the world around. Herein lay the problem. School systems consider our kids’ education needs; not their career prospects.

Because today’s schools are not aligned with our business economy, Canadian youth are facing high unemployment. Higher education is not filling the skills gap in the business world; it is cranking out young graduates with little knowledge of the world of work. Four years invested into a post-secondary education only to come out and do the same job you could have done straight out of high school can frustrate any eager new graduate.

Canada Youth Unemployment Rate 2015

Universities and Colleges in Canada are continuing to enroll students into programs that supply more graduates than business demands. As a result, Canada’s changing workforce has left university and college graduates on the sidelines of its economy with unemployment rate as high at 14.8% in the last 12 months.

“At present, the development of the Canadian workforce through post-secondary education…is not sensitive to the job market. It is driven by parental, student and governmental priorities with relatively little input or direction from the Canadian business community.”

– Ken Coates, CareerReady: Towards a National Strategy for the Mobilization of Canadian potential. Taking Action for Canada Jobs and skills for the 21st Century

We send our kids to school in the hopes that they will find a good job and live fulfilling lives. However, we miss a vital step in their education when we assume someone is giving them insight into how to have a successful career. Most students require basic training in career planning and career development, but miss out in favour of more traditional academic pursuits.

It is our job as parents to prepare our kids for the world of work. Sadly, we assume sending our kids to college or university will solidify the skills they need to be successful in their careers.  As a parent, what can you do?

  1. Teach them about the economy and their role in it.

If your kids don’t understand the basics of the economy, they may not understand their role in it.

This week I had a wonderfully supportive mom inquire about hiring me to help her son in his job search. About to graduate, he is an A-student, well rounded, and well connected in his industry. The issue: he does not have the skills to go find meaningful employment. He has spent the last five years working hard to complete his Bachelor of Arts, then Masters Degree. Little to no advice has been given about exploring the world of work and learning about companies that might hire graduates like him. He has not learned how to approach employers and make meaningful connections that might lead to a job offer.

What this graduate needs is an understanding of the local labour market, a professional resume and cover letter, along with the skills to promote himself as an ideal candidate to potential employers.

  1. Invest in Career Development

According to Linkedin Talent Solutions’ 2015 Talent Trend report, “The typical career path is more fluid than ever before.” Teaching kids the basic elements of career development will establish a foundation from which they will navigate all future career decisions.

Things have changed since we were students. The advice I got from my parents was to go to school, graduate, then get a good job. It was as if it were a foregone conclusion. But the two are not connected and haven’t been in quite some time. Our kids need to realize that competition for good jobs is the norm. Good grades will only take them so far; they need to take themselves the rest of the way. Career Development gives them the tools to do the rest.

If you’re like most parents, you want your kids to have a great life; maybe you’ve even helped them financially by contributing to their academic pursuits. Don’t stop there. Knowing how to work at a job is one thing; knowing how to ‘get work’ that’s something different altogether.

A solid foundation of career advice will establish the trajectory of your son or daughter’s career right from the start.

Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors. She has been interviewed as a career expert for the Globe and Mail and Toronto Sun, and has been published in multiple career-related books. | www.mypromotion.ca

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2016The Year That Was

Well, 2015 is about to come to a close and as we prepare to celebrate the approach of the New Year, it might be time for some reflection on the past year. This can be the perfect time to set your sights on career goals and for those of you that are already entrenched in a career transition to recharge your search. Where are you in your career and in your life? Is it where you want to be? If not, then now is the time to start looking ahead and getting clear about what you want in 2016.

The Year Ahead – Gain Perspective

A career self-assessment is important regardless of where you are currently. It can contribute to developing a vision and career road map for the future as well as identify career options whether you plan to stay in the same field or transition to another. We tend to invest way more time in the process of purchasing a home or vehicle than we do in directing our careers, yet working in a fulfilling career can dramatically increase happiness, self-confidence, sense of accomplishment and purpose. Taking the time to assess this part of our lives just makes good sense..

If you have recently lost a job or are currently in transition, step back and take time to assess yourself and what you have accomplished in the past. For some, this period of transition is a crisis. The Chinese have two meanings for the word crisis. The first is danger and the second is opportunity. How you integrate this life-changing experience will also alter many aspects of the – what’s next for you. It will affect how you deliver the message to those close to you. It will determine how quickly you become proactive. Most importantly, it will determine the impact that it will have on your health and quality of your life.

Take Time to Reconnect

Connect with family and friends; the holidays and year-end provide us with tremendous opportunity to do so. They will be a source of support that cannot be found elsewhere. Reconnect with yourself too. Take time to reflect and, while doing so, consider how this might be used as an opportunity. How can this take your career and your life to even greater heights? Make a list about the things you most enjoyed that provided you with the greatest satisfaction in your most recent occupation. Do some research on what makes a career transition successful. Libraries and the Internet contain a wealth of resources. I recommend a book entitled “Learn to Bounce” – a compilation of personal stories from people who have been through job loss by Anita Caputo and Lee Wallace. This book offers insights and solutions from people and their personal experience who have regained their lives and their careers.

Know your Needs and Objectives … Know Yourself

Start by establishing your needs and objectives. Ask yourself the following questions, then form a system or partnership to design a strategy and lay down the groundwork to get there:

  • Do have a clear picture of what you need and what your objectives are?
  • Have you identified if there is still a demand in your previous work?
  • Were you truly satisfied with your previous occupation?
  • Do you want to transition into something new?
  • Would a Career Transition Assessment be of value to you?
  • Do you know where to market yourself?
  • Do you know the best point of re-entry if you are targeting a different industry or field?
  • Even if you know where the target is, do you know how to get there?
  • How are you going to effectively brand and market your value?
  • Would some form a professional support help to enhance the process?

A thorough assessment of your value and an understanding of the marketplace is essential. The current business climate may mean being more flexible, recognizing that the market is tighter and, as a result, may offer less opportunities aligned with your target. Do your homework. Evaluate what the market will bear and then identify your re-entry point supported by a focused plan to get there.

There a many excellent Career Transition and Development services available that can support you in this process. Research these services, conduct your due diligence, and match your needs with the level, quality, and expertise needed to meet your objectives.

By starting to take these necessary steps, you empower yourself and reduce stress related to your career transition. As you develop a game plan for 2016, you’ll begin to develop your confidence and turn your current situation into a career changing opportunity. Invest in yourself, your vocation, and your future. Before you know it, you’ll be exploring new opportunities and recharging your career.

Illustration courtesy of Anoop Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Categories : Career Development
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Your brand identity will help you to stand out from your competition.One sure fire way to increase your success is to ensure YOU stand out from the competition by building an effective “brand identity” or “core message” that stays consistent across all of your “marketing” tools and materials – business cards, resume, website, promotional materials, bio, elevator speech and social and networking media profile.  So how do you do this?

Start With a Strategy

As we know, many people in the same industry or field share common education credentials and have similar skills.  In order to differentiate yourself, the goal is to showcase your value – the benefit that you bring to your company or client – creating a unique selling proposition that sets you apart from the competition.  Consider what is unique about you ~ in how you approach to your work, your soft skills or great ideas you may have.  These things make up your core message and the content of your calling card.

Your Calling C.A.R.D.

Your calling card contains the primary message of your brand identity – what you want potential employers or clients to “know you as” or associate you with.  Your calling card is based around 4 primary things:

Consistency: Create a coherent personal brand voice and tone across all of your marketing/branding tools.  For example, the tag line on your resume should also be in your LinkedIn profile, your business cards, etc…  In this way, people become clear about who you are, what you do and what you offer.

Authenticity: Be yourself.  It is easy when creating branding materials to follow a script or a template but at the end of the day, YOU have to shine through.  What you share needs to be in your “voice” and reflect your style.

Relevance: Design your branding on insight ~ insight into who you are and what you deliver, and insight into how you can support your target company, employer or client in successfully reaching their goals.  In this way, your brand is relevant to their needs.

Differentiation: Create an impactful and unique visual presence with interesting content.  Try to be creative with your words, staying away from those words that are generally overused by the general populace.  Consider a style that is unique, perhaps putting your LinkedIn profile in 1st person language instead of 3rd.  Think outside of the box with your design and images – try and locate that picture, logo or style that says 1000 words about who you are, (the exception being your resume for on-line applications which needs to meet specific criteria to be scanned properly).  Below are some questions to help you create your core message:

  • What sort of lifestyle would you like to design?  What does your ideal life 5 years from now look like?
  • What are your interests and values?  What are you interested in doing and what skills are you interested in implementing.  How do these support the values or lifestyle that you want to create?
  • What are your strengths and aptitudes?  What are you naturally good at and what strengths have you developed over your career that you enjoy using?
  • What is your professional style?  Do you enjoy working for large corporations, new start-ups or something in between?
  • What is your personal style?  Do you prefer a suit and tie every day or casual business wear?  Are you a laid back communicator or very formal?  Are you a conformist or creative?
  • What is your mission?  What sort of work do you want to do and what kind of impact and legacy do you want to create?
  • What have you done?  What are some of the accomplishments that you are most proud of?
  • What do you want to deliver?  What are you most excited about bringing to an organization?
  • What actions and attributes do you want to most be identified with?

Answering these questions will give you a good start in clarifying your core message and creating your personal brand.  That said, please remember that any of your marketing materials and tools are “living” and over time will evolve and be fine-tuned – ensuring that you continually sharpen your branding strategy.  Most of all, have fun!

 

Lysa Appleton is a career strategist located in Nova Scotia and is passionate about supporting people to love their work and create successful and satisfying careers. Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn or her website.

Illustration courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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career decision makingMany job seekers that I meet are often so focused on just getting a J.O.B. (Justifiable Occupation or Business), that they’ve never really given thought to what it is they really want and the impact on the quality of life they intend to live.

Stephen Covey’s approach to setting goals was to proceed with the end in mind and that’s an approach that I like to take when starting with clients in their career transition. By gaining a better understanding of what their vision is for themselves and their families, we have clarity about the journey they are about to embark on. For some, this is the first time they’ve been asked to consider this as part of their career decision making process.

SO if you haven’t already done so, before you scramble to apply to anything that moves – likely on the Internet – do yourself a favour and take some time to evaluate what you really want. Think about the lifestyle you want, the conditions of employment, and the vision you have for where you’d like to be as you develop your career.

Be sure to decipher your wants from your needs as you create your own personalized vision. Here’s a short list with a few of the traditional items, to get you started:

Personal life / Life Style:

  • Values, Interests, and Priorities
  • Work-life balance
  • Health – Body, Mind, Spirit
  • Impact on the family
  • Access to services for family
  • Recreation and sport

Other(s):

Evaluation:

Company Criteria:

  • Company Culture
  • Reputation
  • Size
  • Scope
  • Growth
  • Stability
  • Internal opportunity
  • Policies
  • Structure
  • Location
  • Unionized / Non-unionized
  • Other(s):

Evaluation:

Employment Opportunity:

  • Compatibility with criteria and values
  • Compatibility with qualifications
  • Role
  • Level
  • Responsibilities
  • People
  • Work environment
  • Eco Systems
  • Flex hours
  • Remote / work from home
  • Challenges, issues
  • Training and development
  • Possibilities for advancement
  • Stepping stone to future opportunity
  • Travel
  • Other(s):

Evaluation:

Compensation:

  • Salary
  • Bonus: %, fixed, discretionary
  • Vacation
  • Stock options
  • Retirement plan
  • Life insurance
  • Benefits
  • Medical, eye care, dental, others insurance
  • Disability: short and long-term
  • Profit-sharing
  • Reimbursement of education and development expenses
  • Car allowance, expense account
  • Cell phone, wireless equipment, computer, membership in a club/other services
  • Conditions/severance pay
  • Career Transition service
  • EAP and other programs
  • Restrictive/confidentiality clauses
  • Other(s):

Evaluation:

Industry / Sector Specific:

  • Government / Private / Not-for Profit / Other
  • Current/potential condition
  • Industry associations
  • Industry perks
  • Projected trends for the future
  • Competition
  • Challenges
  • Restrictions

Evaluation:

Likely there won’t be a 100% fit with your conditions and criteria, however, you will have a better understanding of how well the market can fulfill your wants and needs. By doing so, you also set yourself up to be able to make an informed decision when an offer does come, as you can more accurately assess in advance what you’re ready to give up and what you must have to make this a decision that you won’t regret.

Illustration courtesy of Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Categories : Career Development
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September is time to get back to your job search!As June arrived with the promise of a summer filled with sun and fun filled adventures, many job seekers may have put their job search in low gear. “Why not?” you thought, “it’s summer and we all know that no one hires in the summer, so why not take a break and come back to it in September?”

Well, for one thing September is a peak hiring period, but to be a candidate you already need to be in the pool. And what about the networking opportunities that summer provides? Nothing like outdoor networking meetings on a warm sunny day!

Now September has arrived and you’ve lost momentum. What to do?

All is not lost. Here are five tips to reignite your career transition:

1.   Organize Your Time

Chunk out where you’ll spend time each day. Create your own personal critical path with a plan. What activities will you engage in each day as you go back to the drawing board:

% Self-Assessments:
% Labour Market Research:
% Networking:
% Direct Application:
% Cold Calling:
% Information Interviews:
% Online & Social Media:
% Search Engines:
% Classifieds & Ads:
% Recruiters:
Other Activities to achieve objectives:

2.   Get Out – Get Active.

Don’t become chained to your computer. Think about and plan where you will spend your time each day:

Information Meeting / Interviews – start with people you know and build from there

Business Meetings – Chambers of Commerce host breakfast and lunches

Networking Groups – Meet Up and Event Brite can be good places to start

Employer Presentations – seek out places where potential employers are active

Career Fairs – with the end of summer more events will start taking place

Employment Centres – consult your local support services to find out how they can help

Job Search Clubs – many local libraries and other community services host these events

Personal Boards – connect with other job seekers and create your own triads or support system

Skill Development – participate in some form of skills development engaged with others

Volunteer – in your community, industry associations, or targeted businesses

3.   Market Research

Start looking for those organizations with a need that fits your value proposition.

Gain a better understanding of what employers want and need. What challenges are they dealing with that you can help resolve? Sometimes these can be issues faced by an entire industry, while others may be unique to that organization. Consider how your experience, talent, skills, and knowledge can help to address these problems.

4.   Develop a Targeted Job Search.

Create a targeted approach to your search by starting to track all (and I mean all) potential consumers of your services. Use all resources at your disposal from online sites, to industry associations and local business groups. Include business journals that cover the geographical area that you’re targeting. Keep track by developing a list of all the potentials (the list can exhaustive) in Excel or a database. Jibber Jobber can be an excellent tool to help you with your target list and with tracking all this activity.

5.   Keep Records

In addition to your tracking systems, pay attention and start to take note of what develops for you each day. What and who are showing up in your life? What are you learning about yourself, the job market, business needs, job search tricks and techniques, and most importantly your targeted employers? A daily journal or idea pad can be useful in this regard.

Find ways to stay motivated and connected to your job search every day. Starting over after a relaxing summer can be challenging, but once you find your rhythm you’ll be taking steps towards gaining the interview and eventually closing an offer. Don’t try going it alone; seek out ways to get regular support. Hiring a career coach that can help provide guidance, resources, and inspiration can be an excellent way to kick-start your transition. If you do, conduct your due diligence and interview three or more to make sure it’s a good fit and identify the one that meets your needs as you develop your strategy.

Summer may be over, but the reality is that other than seasonal employers, business never takes a holiday. You never know when or where your next opportunity might come from, so start now and be prepared to meet it when it shows up.

Categories : Career Strategy
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Two young women building relationships through networking during the summer.Summer has finally arrived, and in my experience there just isn’t a better time for networking and connecting with people as part of an effective job search.

True networking isn’t about focusing only on your objectives and leveraging others to serve that objective; it’s about relationship building. Ironically, as a by-product of forming and nurturing these relationships, somehow the support, resources, information, and people needed to achieve these objectives begin to appear. Now that’s not to say that you’ll wave a magical networking wand and abracadabra a job will appear  ?  you still need to be tuned in and aware of what’s happening around you and the business market. The difference is that it starts by giving, not taking; looking for ways to bring win-win scenarios to your contacts while remaining authentically committed to what makes you tick.

So why does networking work?

Well it only works if you work it, to start with, and is mostly true when done from the standpoint of building deeper and more valuable relationships. We naturally gravitate to others, especially those who are like-minded. Almost everyone has exclaimed “what a small world it is” when discovering mutual alliances.

Here are some ways to get started:

  1. Seek out ways to “Pay it forward”
  2. Get involved – networking is an action verb
  3. Find out what people / organizations need
  4. Offer ways to help them fill that need
  5. Develop a reputation – be known for the value that you share with others
  6. Become a subject matter expert in your field
  7. If you don’t know many people, go to where the people are
  8. Connect with like-minded people (maybe even other job seekers to get started)
  9. Position yourself in the right place at the right time

Keep your objective to meeting people in the right places and expanding your network. At the same time, this allows you to present evidence to people in business that you are experienced and knowledgeable in your field. It’s not about getting them to give you a job or their business (at least not initially; it may or may not lead to this later). However, a natural by-product of meeting with people leads to them connecting you with people who will open doors to opportunities (ABC’s of networking = Already Known Contacts + Bridging Contacts + Critical Contacts). That’s why associations and industry affiliations are great places to make these connections and to get yourself in front of people.

So instead of taking the summer off and putting your job search on the backburner, work your network. Remember, in the process of networking you are offering something (giving) while you are self-marketing (receiving). Not everyone will be a buyer and some may not have time or an interest to meet. However, as you become more comfortable writing and connecting, you’ll start opening doors to Bs and Cs in your network. The benefit is that your resources and connections will expand, you’ll stay current with what’s happening in the market place, you’ll gain valuable new relationships, and you will still have these with you when you arrive in your next job.

Have questions about how network effectively and get connected in your job search? Drop me a message or give us a call. Have a great summer!

Categories : Career Development
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networkingYou’ve probably been told that networking is one of your most important job search tools. Unfortunately, networking can be quite difficult if you are an introvert.

Not to be confused with shyness, introversion is a personality trait where individuals prefer to relate to the world by first taking it inward. Extraverts, on the other hand, are energized by direct interaction with the world.

If you’re not sure whether you’re an introvert or an extravert, take a quick quiz to find out. To explore how this may affect your career choices and job search strategies, ask your career counsellor about taking a personality assessment, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Even if you have a strong preference for introversion, there’s no need to let it keep you from networking and missing out on great career opportunities. Here are a few strategies that have worked for me.

Let them come to you

An important aspect of attending workshops, conferences, and other networking events, is meeting the other participants. But as an introvert, it can be challenging (to say the least) to approach strangers in a crowded room, when you’d really rather be sitting in the corner or, better yet, at home playing with your cat.

Savvy introverts have learned that there is a way to meet a large number of people without the discomfort of introducing yourself to strangers, the fear of interrupting a conversation, or the awkwardness of making small talk. Their secret is to volunteer at the registration desk. This role provides the opportunity to meet nearly everyone as they come in (depending, of course, on the number of people staffing the registration desk) and something to say to them (here is your name tag, the bar is over there, etc.) without having to step very far outside their comfort zone. And, because most people will be eager to move on to where the activities are taking place, they’re unlikely to want to stick around and engage in lengthy conversation.

Offer to speak

Studies have shown that more people fear public speaking than fear death. I can relate to that!

I’ve spoken in front of many groups, both large and small, at a variety of different events. Although I’m still pretty nervous before speaking, once I get up there, I actually enjoy it! In fact, many people express surprise when I identify myself as an introvert. I’m actually pretty surprised myself. The only thing I can figure is that as an introvert, I’m not comfortable approaching others, but if they come to me as a subject expert, that’s a whole different story.

Arrange to meet with others one-on-one

There’s no law that says networking can only take place at large formal gatherings! Although they’re a great way to meet people, they’re generally not conducive to the type of one-on-one interaction you thrive at.

If you make a good connection at such an event, follow up and invite them to meet you over coffee. This will allow you to build a deeper relationship, and you’ll be much more relaxed.

Do the same thing on a regular basis with others you know. Pretty soon networking will be as natural to you as breathing!

Additional Resources

If you have other great tips or resources for introverts, please share them in the comments!

Janet Barclay is a web designer, virtual marketing assistant and former employment counsellor who has supported career professionals and other small business clients since 2003. She can be reached through her website OrganizedAssistant.com.

 

Illustration courtesy of idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Categories : Career Development
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