Saturday, December 19, 2009
Hey, job seekers: Raise your hand if you love networking.
I thought so.
And why don't you get a thrill out of talking to friends and family about
your job search?
For many folks, it's a problem of how to start. There's really no way to
ask, "Know anyone who's hiring?" without feeling awkward.
To fix that, here are two ways to open your next networking conversation
that are proven to produce job leads -- and won't make you feel self-conscious
1) Use Me as an Excuse to Call
Over the past year, I've quietly been perfecting a short networking script
at my Guerrilla Job Search seminars.
In every case, at least one person in the room gets a job lead -- in less
than 5 minutes.
Here's the four-part script that people are using to start networking
conversations by phone, with explanatory notes in parentheses:
1. "Hi, this is YOUR NAME! I'm at a training session and they told me to
call the most-connected person I know. That's you!"
(This gets you over the hump right away, by giving you an excuse to call.
Here, that excuse is me -- just say that somebody else told you to call.)
2. "I'm looking for a position as a JOB TITLE at a company like COMPANY #1,
COMPANY #2, or COMPANY #3."
(You have to think first, about what JOB you want and 3 COMPANIES you most
want to work for.)
3. "Who would you call if you were in my shoes?"
(You're asking someone to take ownership of your problem, by putting their
ego aside and thinking as if they were you. Simple psychology that's very
4. "Could I have their name and number?"
(Write it down. Hang up. Call that new person and drop the name of the
person you called first.)
For best results, use this script to call the most-connected person you
know -- the one person who seems to know almost everybody.
Here are three examples of how this has worked in my seminars:
1. Ellen in Minneapolis, MN, got a networking lead at the chamber of
commerce after calling a friend.
2. Greg in Fargo, ND, got a lead on a pharmaceutical sales job by calling a
3. Pete in Chanhassen, MN, got the name of an HR rep by calling a colleague
he had fallen out of touch with.
2) Use an Object as a Conversation Starter
Chris Russell, founder of JobRadio.fm, warns that a false sense of pride
can hurt your job search, recalling a friend who struggled mightily to get
hired. "He would never tell people that he was out of work, even his former
co-workers. I guess he was embarrassed."
Russell points out that, when it comes to your job search, you should look
for any excuse to start a conversation.
One such excuse may be the "Laid Off, Need a Job" wristband.
Described as an "attention getting conversation starter" by its makers, the
wristband retails for $3 and comes in bright yellow, with the message, "I
Need A Job."
The idea is, you put wear the wristband each day, people see it, ask about
your job search, and -- shazam! Instant networking conversation. More
information is at www.LaidOffNeedAJob.com.
Two other tactics I've seen are renting a billboard (pricey) and wearing a
T-shirt with your resume on it (no verifiable successes).
Now. How else could you get attention and start networking conversations?
Here's an idea: Stick a magnetic sign on the side of your car.
For less than $95, Kinko's can create one for you. Your sign's message
could be on two lines, like this:
Need Accounting Help?
Nobody wants to hire, but almost every business needs help, so don't use
"Hire me!" or "U-M Grad Will Work Cheap" as your headline.
The format I would follow is: "Need YOUR SKILL Help? CONTACT INFO."
Test several ideas on cardboard mockup signs and drive them past people, to
see if they can read your contact info at 25 or 40 miles an hour.
(Note: I practice what I preach -- look for my black SUV around the Twin
Cities with a magnetic sign on the side that says, "Got Work? My New Job
Do these conversation-starting ideas make you feel uncomfortable? Good!
Because, if you've been comfortable thus far in your job search, and you're
still unemployed, it may be time to leave your comfort zone and try
Kevin Donlin is co-author of Guerrilla Resumes. Since 1996, he has provided
job-search help to more than 20,000 people. Kevin has been interviewed by
The New York Times, Fox News, ABC TV, CBS Radio and others. To learn more
about how to create a Guerrilla Resume, visit
Cover Letter Examples
151-32500 South Fraser Way, Suite #290, Abbotsford, BC V2T 4W1, CANADA
Friday, December 18, 2009
Recommendations on LinkedIn are an important part of telling your story; but not just any old recommendation. What is needed are quality recommendations that talk about your accomplishments and contributions to your current and previous organizations.
Take the Lead
The best way to get a quality recommendation is to:
- Write a quality recommendation for the person you want to recommend you.
- Submit the recommendation to the individual.
- Ask the person if you have addressed or made all the points they would like included.
- Once you have provided the recommendation ask the individual to reciprocate with a recommendation for you.
- When you receive the recommendation; review it and if you would like changes, you have opened the door with the process you followed writing the initial recommendation.
Receiving quality recommendations is typical of the Web 2.0 environment. First you give and then you will receive. The consideration and concern that you show in giving a recommendation will be returned many times over. Show those that you have worked with in the past that they are important. This process provides you with quality recommendations and builds or rebuilds your previous relationship.
Connect with me on:
Get my free tips on creating your Viral Brand on the Social Networks at:
If you are in the market for new opportunities check out this website for some free job search materials and sign up for the free newsletter
Smart Resume Writing System
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a Speed Networking event and it was a great time and opportunity to meet others.
Who will benefit from Speed Networking: Job Seekers, sales people, small business owners, professionals, people who simply like to meet people, people who have a difficult time meeting people, are some that come to mind.
The truth of the matter is that we cannot do things and be totally successful on our own. We need the help and support of others and they need us. Speed Networking is an opportunity to expand your circle of friends and possibly make some long-term friendships.
I found the article below recently and thought you might enjoy hearing from Mr. Misner.
Speed Networking and Beyond
Ivan Misner: Networking
Speed Networking and Beyond
Launch yourself into a new circle of people waiting to talk to you.
By Ivan Misner June 28, 2007
Speed networking programs are showing up all around the world. These events tend to be a fun, exciting and effective way to make a lot of initial connections in a very different environment from the standard business networking meetings.
Speed networking programs generally involve people meeting each other one at a time for a short interval and then moving on to the next person in line. They are fairly structured in the way people queue up to meet. For example, one variation is to have two concentric circles of people. The individuals sit across from one another and after the set time period--generally one or two minutes--the outside circle of people gets up and moves in one direction around the circle until everyone has met.
As founder of the world's largest business referral and networking organization, you might not be surprised to learn that I have some definite opinions and ideas about how to best use speed networking as a tool for creating viable referral partnerships. First, I think speed networking is a great way to meet other business professionals in a short period of time. It's a good tool for business people to apply the "visibility" stage of the VCP Process TM--Visibility, Credibility, Profitability--that I mentioned in my past article, "Build Relationships that Last."
The potential downside to speed networking is if someone thinks this is "all" they have to do to network effectively. The key to making speed networking work, is to take those contacts and develop them over time into "credible" relationships that lead to "profitable" referral partners.
Some people have likened speed networking to speed dating. While there are clearly some similarities, there is also a subtle but significant difference. Speed dating is done to eliminate potential suitors and keep from wasting time on people with whom you share no common interests and no mutual attraction. The presumption is that you are going to follow up with only the ones you connect with during the exercise.
This speaks to why I titled this article "Speed Networking and Beyond." I don't feel speed networking can be used to its potential if you treat it as a means to eliminate potential referral sources. If you're already familiar with my material, you know how I feel about poaching at business events, looking for the big kill. Developing a strong referral base is about developing relationships with a variety of people, even when it seems you have nothing in common.
So how do you go about participating in a speed networking exercise with the proper focus to make the most of your time? Here are several points to consider:
1. Start with the end in mind. You're not there to bag the big one. You're not there to eliminate referral sources or referral partners. You're there to find ways to connect with each and every person you have the opportunity to sit (or stand) in front of for that one- to two-minute period.
If you view the speed networking exercise as a type of catalyst event (see my past article "Using Events to Gain Referrals"), you're already thinking with the end in mind. While you will not, realistically, become close friends with every person in the room, you're increasing your potential referral sources by meeting many people in one setting.
2. Conduct the exercise as a mini interview. Think in terms of what you can find out about the person you're meeting. That'll allow you to help further the goals of that individual. Forget about mining her database or trying to determine who she knows to further your goals. In working to mutually benefit one another, ask questions that'll clarify where and how you can best help your new referral source.
3. Make notes during the exercise. If you're not provided some type of contact card on which you can jot notes while in the exercise, be sure to use your own pad of paper to write down the information you discover. Be sure to note the person's interests and goals you could help achieve.
4. Follow up. If you don't follow up with those you meet during the speed networking exercise, you will only have succeeded in wasting your time--which is exactly what you were trying to avoid by attending the event in the first place. Collect the business cards of each person you sit with during the exercise. The magic happens after the exercise, in the weeks and months to come.
Set appointments with each person, not to convince them they need your product, but with the intention of becoming better acquainted, finding out what their needs are and how you can positively impact their lives. You'll realize the reason you went to the speed networking exercise in the first place: to develop more referral business.
I believe speed networking can work if it's done the right way. It can be a fun, energetic and dynamic way to further your own goals of having a thriving, successful word-of-mouth-based business.
Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his recently released New York Times bestseller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking's Biggest Myths.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Getting Value from LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn can be an effective way for hiring managers, recruiters, prospective business partners, and prospective customers or clients to find us; if we do our part. LinkedIn is not a passive activity; we need to work at it. It is like anything we do; our LinkedIn presence will reflect the effort we put in.
This effort or lack of effort is also what readers of our profile see. If our profile is weak and incomplete; is it representative of our effort in other areas of our lives? What does that tell those that find us in a search?
With that said some people think that they would be better off without a LinkedIn presence. That way they will not have to worry about their presence. This is faulty thinking! Our LinkedIn presence, our viral presence is a necessity in today's world; it is a must have. Our LinkedIn and viral presence show that we are current on today's technology, that we accept and adopt change, and that we are willing to put ourselves out there.
Key Elements to Your LinkedIn Presence
To be effective using LinkedIn these basic elements must be present in your profile:
- The use of keywords.
- Use keywords in our current and past job titles.
- Personalize our profile.
- Have a professional (not necessarily professionally produced) picture.
- Use applications to represent who we are and what we can do.
If you are having difficulty with your profile or would like a professional review of your profile that is a service offered by UPPROACH. Contact us and let us help you make your LinkedIn Profile work for you.
Friday, November 6, 2009
When you receive invites, do you respond? You do not necessarily need to accept every invite, but evaluate the invites to see how they may build and expand your network. You need to respond to grow your network.
Have you created a unique identity that will allow you to build your brand. If you search Google for your name and find 25 people on LinkedIn; you need to differentiate yourself.
If you search networks and cannot find your name; you have the ability to create and establish your identity however you want. You also need to look at the result and think about: where is your viral presence? If you want a viral presence you need to work at it.
Do you comment on questions or post your own questions in groups and on blogs? If you are trying to establish yourself and you have expertise you must let people know. You must create yourself as the expert.
Many sites allow you to have recommendations: what do they say? Often times they simply identify you as a good person; but there are no specifics as to why; you need strong recommendations! Start by giving strong recommendations and then asking the person how they liked it and if they would like you to change or add anything. Once done ask them to reciprocate and you can now coach them because they coached you.
Are you on LinkedIn and FaceBook? Do you use Twitter? These are important elements to your viral presence because of their high visibilty on the Internet with Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Do you have a website or blog? This is another place to establish your name and create a presence as an expert.
These are some of the techniques you can use to make your network work for you.
Tell me what you are doing?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
He is not the first person to encounter this; I have had many of these emails myself. When you receive them you just sit there in wonderment. You are trying to figure out what this individual is thinking and why they would send this information to you. I still have not figured it out completely, but I believe I am getting closer.
Many times it is just a random process or an automated emailing system that searches resumes. If it is one of those emails; there is not much you can do. If you are really searching for work you have few other choices than to put up with it and use the delete key when they arrive in your in-box.
Review Your On-line Presence
If you are being approached for things that are not of interest and do not apply; you need to step back. It is time to review your resume, your Web 2.0 application profiles, your website, your blog postings, your comments, your posted resumes, and any other "branding" that may exist to find out why you are getting these solicitations.
There is nothing worse than receiving a job posting for something completely unrelated and of no interest. Not just because it is a waste of time, but it is also disconcerting and makes you wonder why someone would even think of you for this type of position. These emails can also cause self doubts which are counter productive and take you off task. Put them aside and keep moving forward.
Granted there will always be some random opportunities presented because those people do not care about what you want and, more than likely, have not read your information. All they know is that you are out there and you are potentially or specifically looking for employment. To them that is an open opportunity to approach you: whether you are interested or not.
If the solicitations or opportunities are more specific or it looks like they have actually done some research; then it is time for the review. You need to look carefully at your information and try to determine what is giving people the incorrect impression. When you locate the confusing information you must clean it up.
Clarify Your Profiles and On-Line Presence
It is important that you create a consistent On-Line presence that clearly presents you and your skills. Each profile tells part of your story or reinforces parts of your story; you want to ensure that the story is consistent and clear.
Part of having a consistent On-Line presence is to distinguish yourself from anyone else that may have the same or a similar name. Having a consistent or at least readily identifiable picture with each posting is one way to accomplish this. Using a middle initial or middle name is another part of creating your brand.
Some of the confusion that could occur with potential employers could be the result of confusion between people of the same or similar name. You must differentiate!
Keep Your Information Relevant
Do not muddy the water with information that is confusing. Read the post "Does Your Resume Pass the So What Test on Wordpress?" This information is as valid for your on-line profiles as it is for your resume. Ensure that you are only posting information that helps to tell your story and clarify who you are.
Follow me on this blog so you are notified of all my new posts; just click the button to follow. Also follow me at Resumes with Impact where I post information specific to creating effective resumes.
You can sign up for my free newsletter, "7 Days to a More Effective Job Search" and download job and resume tips at Smart Resume Writing System.
Monday, September 7, 2009
The problem with that practice is that you all know about the same opportunities and therefore your list of possibilities is limited. You need to connect outside your circle to develop a broad based network.
One of the first things that you need to do to expand your network is to put your prejudices on hold. Our prejudices cause us to jump to conclusions and potentially eliminate our best connections. In the LinkedIn world people identify themselves as LIONs or LinkedIn Open Networkers, meaning that they will connect with anybody.
We may not need to be that open, but it is a good example.
Last night I sat with my family and we watched the movie "Yes Man" with Jim Carey. As the movie starts Carey's character always says "No" when asked to do something. As a result his life is on a dead end course; no friends, same job forever, no relationships, people look past him, and basically he is a loser.
Eventually one of his few friends invites him to a "Yes" seminar, where he is challenged to answer "Yes" when asked to do something or a question is posed to him.
When he starts responding with "Yes" his life starts to change dramatically. The changes are a little questionable at first, but even those that appear to be questionable work out to be positives. By the time the movie ends Carey's character is friends with countless people and his life has totally changed.
When it comes to networking we need to say "Yes". I hear countless excuses for not having a network, but we need to take a page from "Yes Man" and break some new ground for ourselves. We must set aside our prejudices and judge people based upon their merits. You never know which contact is going to be your important connection.
Expand your circle of contacts; the reality is that your important connections will come from someone who knows someone who knows someone else. That's why when you are networking it is so important to ask the question of your connections, "Do you know someone that might know someone". It may seem hokey, but it actually works.
Tom is a Career and Accountability Coach helping with career management, resumes, and networking. Sign up for his 7 Tips Series of Articles.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Many people simply look at their network as a place to "get" something. If that is your attitude your network will soon die on you. To be a successful networker you need to be providing value to those within your network. You must provide help individually and collectively whenever possible.
This isn't a situation where you are looking to do huge favors. That doesn't mean you turn a big opportunity down when it arises; it just means that simple help is also valuable.
1. Your help can take the form of sending a congratulatory note on a new job or promotion.
2. It can be forwarding an article that you feel they may find of interest.
3. Maybe you can facilitate a connection between two of your contacts that would be beneficial to both.
4. It may be notifying someone of a business opportunity or job.
5. There may be a special event taking place that would benefit one of your contacts.
These are just a few simple ideas. If you do these types of activities regularly; your network will be there when you need it.
If you have other ideas chime in and add your contribution to this list.
Monday, August 24, 2009
What are your thoughts are they about the future and your upcoming successes or about the the things of the past that have happened to you? Only one of these thought processes is something that you can take action on. Think the positive thoughts of how your life will be, rather than the thoughts of how your life has been.
The past is the past and that cannot change, the future, your future, is yet to be written!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
It amazes me when I encounter people that do not understand the importance of networking. Look at any successful person and you will find that networking is a key ingredient to their success. Success is not a solitary process, success requires a circle of friends that have friends to achieve your goals and therefore your success.
I was listening to a recording today done by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen called "The One Minute Millionaire". In the recording they tell an interesting story, but even more important is the commentary that describes actions taken in the story. One of the commentaries speaks specifically of the importance of your network.
Your network consists of strong connections and weak connections. Your strong connections are those that you encounter frequently and your weak connections are those that you connect with through others.
In the recording Robert Allen makes the point that your weak connections are where your greatest opportunities lay. That's because your strong connections often know the same things that you know, where your strong connections greatest strengths lay is in connecting you to others.
Here's my take on networking:
- Networking is never a wasted effort.
- Networking is integral to your future success.
- If you don't like to network: get over it and get on with it.
- Make a commitment to building your network at least weekly, but preferably daily.
- Find a meaningful way to connect with your network at least twice per year. Through an email blast or some other means, but maintain at least minimal contact.
- Build your network by connecting with those that have large networks of their own. Building one connection at a time is time consuming and inefficient.
Monday, May 25, 2009
In the midst of the recession, many job seekers have spent more time on LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, customers and partners in an effort to land a new gig. Unfortunately, many people commit common errors in their LinkedIn profiles that cost them new opportunities, says Jason Alba, CEO of JibberJobber, a company that provides web-based tools for managing your job search.
Alba, who recently released a DVD called LinkedIn for Job Seekers, shared with CIO.com the five most common mistakes he sees on LinkedIn profiles. Here's how to spot trouble in your profile and fix it.
1. Don't Get in Picture Trouble
Many people choose not to use a picture on their LinkedIn profiles. While some of you have your reasons, it's a mistake for the typical user, Alba says. Some common concerns: Perhaps you don't want to disclose your ethnicity, or you don't consider yourself photogenic.
"Some situations are justified in not using a profile picture, but in the end I encourage people to include one because it shows you're comfortable with yourself," Alba says. "It also makes your profile a lot more personable."
Alba recommends a professional headshot for LinkedIn, rather than the picture of you in front of a mountain or lake that you utilize on Facebook. In addition, if you're a job seeker, odds are that you will meet your prospective employer in a face-to-face interview, so that picture of you twenty years ago that you like to leave up there — that needs to be replaced.
"Sometimes people are floored when they see the person if they left a really old picture up there," Alba says.
When you edit your LinkedIn profile, you have what Alba calls a "professional headline" right beneath the name. The common mistake here (as shown in the picture below) is to simply put your name and title. He believes you should use something catchier. Instead of saying, "project manager for X company," say something more specific: "I manage complex projects involving IT and marketing."
When people search for you, they will see this professional tagline, and it might decide whether or not they feel compelled to click on your name and see your profile, Alba says.
"Think of yourself as a marketer, and this is where your big ad appears to the world," Alba says.
3. Properly Label Websites Displaying Your Work or Blog
LinkedIn offers you the ability to list the websites where your work might be displayed. This is a great option if you keep a personal website with a resume or a blog. But when you go to edit the website descriptions, Alba recommends dispensing with LinkedIn's default descriptions of "my website" or "my company." Those descriptions aren't a compelling read for employers, he says.
Instead, when you edit your "websites" section, LinkedIn provides a drop down menu (see picture below). Click "other," and you can upload the link and describe it as you see fit. Instead of "my blog," you might write, "my blog on complex project management."
4. Consider a Vanity URL
Maybe you haven't changed the default URL that LinkedIn provides for your profile. Especially if you have a common name, this will make your name after the LinkedIn address appear with a bunch of ugly code and numbers. If you have to give your LinkedIn profile address over the phone, or you wish to print it on your business card, it should be as concise and self-explanatory as possible, Alba says.
"It literally takes 30 seconds, and it makes your profile look more on purpose," Alba says.
(When you edit your LinkedIn profile, go to the "public profile" section to create your LinkedIn URL of choice).
5. Finish with a Strong, SEO-Friendly Summary
The "summary" section of your LinkedIn profile could be the biggest missed opportunity for the majority of job seekers, Alba says. While this section has a 2,000 character limit, Alba suggests packing as much about you and your abilities into it as possible.
In reality, the ability for people to find you will depend on LinkedIn's search engine linking your name to certain search keywords. So (staying with our repeated example), a project manager might want the term "project management" to appear a few times throughout the summary.
"Most summaries are a couple sentences or a couple paragraphs, and they're missing out," Alba says. "The more you put in the summary, the better your SEO is."
© 2008 CXO Media Inc.
Today we celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who have served and died in the defense of our Country
Remember those that serve and sacrifice today to keep us and others free around the World.
We have much to be thankful for every day, so take advantage of these few days that have been set aside to thank a veteran or someone serving today.
If you are privileged enough to live near a National Cemetary take a drive to honor those that are buried there; it is an awesome site.
Have a great Holiday!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
At that time I could see the point that was being made but then I started receiving Tweets from Brian Tracy and all of a sudden I could see the value of Twitter.
Twitter isn't the means of communicating a message, it's the means of communicating about a message. Did you post something new on your blog? Then let everyone know by sending out a Tweet with a link to your blog post. Is there something new on your web page? Then Tweet away.
Make connections on Twitter by following others and encouraging them to follow you. The more followers you have the more people that will be notified about your updates.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
In follow up to my last post on Twitter: Dos and Don'ts; I found this article to share again from CIO.com. Follow the link and let me know what you think. Twitter: How to Get Started Guide for Business People. I liked the article it gave me some insight that I didn't have previously regarding Twitter.
Personally, I think it is all about self-branding and if that is what you are after - establishing a presence in all of these venues will help with the process. One thing that I recommend is that you link each of your venues to each other so you can maintain some consistency and create your materials one time only. Multiple sites also allows you the ability to separate your interests while still enabling your audience to gain the full impact of who you are. Of course you need to watch out for the compromising information that could come back to bite you.
It never hurts to follow a little protocol.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The first impression we leave is visual. What are you saying by the way you dress; the way you walk; your facial expression? It should go without saying that you must be neat and clean both personally and with your clothing. When you walk are you upright and confident or slouched and meek? Are you smiling or frowning? It is amazing how many people do not take these basics into consideration and then can't understand why they receive a less than enthusiastic reception.
Your second impression is your handshake and greeting. This basic courtesy conveys an important message and you want this to be the correct message. When you meet someone what does your handshake say about you and what is your verbal greeting? Are they strong and convey strength or are they meek and convey weakness? Depending upon who you are talking to; one may work better than the other, but overall a strong handshake and voice will serve you best.
Your third impression is the way you talk and express yourself. How you present yourself in the way you speak and what you say is critical. You need to be clear and confident because people are attracted and respond to individuals that exude confidence. In general we like leaders as long as they are not overbearing and demeaning. Do you present as a leader or as a follower?
In today's economy people are looking for people with confidence and leadership. There is a tremendous amount of concern and uncertainty and people are looking for people that are willing to lead and not caving in to the predominant mentality.
So let’s review three steps to a good impression:
1. Present a great visual by the way you dress, walk, and your facial expression.
2. Have a strong handshake and friendly greeting.
3. Speak clearly and confidently. Demonstrate that you are leader and someone people can follow.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
For example if you want an introduction to an executive at a company, make sure that the person you are asking has those connections. Just because your contact works or worked for the company doesn't mean that they are in a position to arrange that introduction. Making such a request could jeopardize or even destroy your relationship. Don't put your contacts on the spot by making a request they cannot fulfill.
Remember that your contact may be able to come through for you, but it will be on their timetable. Don't expect immediate compliance. Your contact may have to wait for the right time or opportunity. You don't want your contact jeopardizing their position simply to help you.
If you are making a request do it in a way that your contact can turn you down without embarrassing themselves while still wanting to do whatever they can for you. Human nature is that they will want to help, as long as you aren't being a jerk. Your request may make them uncomfortable and you need to give them a way out.
Follow these steps when planning your request.
1. Understand your contacts abilities and limitations.
2. Don't put your contact on the spot where they need to immediately respond to your request.
3. Don't make your contact feel that they have no choice but to fulfill your request.
Friday, April 17, 2009
If your networking events are all similar in nature, you will most likely be running into all the same people. Obviously you need to select your events with care so that you have the opportunity to encounter your desired audience, but you do need to vary the type of events to increase your exposure.
Expanding your selection of events broadens your list of contacts and therefore your opportunities to achieve your desired networking goals.
If you really want to be effective at events, get involved. How do you do this:
1) Offer to help at the registration desk so you have the opportunity to find out who is there and meet more of the participants.
2) Offer to be a greeter and welcome participants. You can help them by answering questions and directing them plus you have the opportunity to introduce yourself and give a little elevator speech.
3) Offer to introduce the speaker, another opportunity for you to give your elevator speech.
Keys to effective event networking:
1) Don't select all of the same types of events.
2) Select your events wisely so that you increase your chances for making the right connections.
3) Get involved so you can meet people and have them meet you.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
One of the major examples is the company WR Grace and Company: long believed one of the great success stories in business. WR Grace follows the power of 150 rule in the sizing of all their operations. Their plants have a maximum of 150 employees. That's not just 150 in manufacturing, the front office, or some department. It is the maximum for that particular business unit. Why would that be? In his research Gladwell learned that keeping this as a maximum allows engineering to communicate with marketing, production, sales, research, and what ever other groups more effectively and responsively to problems, customer requests, market changes, or anything else that arises.
Gladwell also talks about the size of groups back to prehistoric days and their ability to support each other becoming problematic when the groups grew too large. When that happened there were food shortages and other problems to the extent that the groups would automatically splinter off to a more manageable size. But enough of that.
How can we apply this to our network? When you follow the Pareto or 80/20 rule you should limit your "A" group to 150. This is your critical group, the one that is the most important, and therefore requires and deserves the most attention. Keep the size manageable so you can communicate with enough effectiveness and timeliness that you maintain a great relationship.
Find other ways to communicate with the rest of your contacts using email newsletters, blogs, discussion groups, and web sites to keep them relatively current on your activities. If you are doing the right things you will have people in this category continuing to reach out to you but your efforts are will be more appropriately directed.
- Keep your "A" list focused and no larger than 150.
- Communicate on a regular basis and look for things that you can send to your "A" group.
- Communicate to those that are not on your "A" list through email newsletters, blogs, discussion groups, and websites.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
If we choose our leaders wisely, it's a great idea to do what they do, because that can lead you to what they have.
If you want to be the best salesperson in your company, you need to know who holds that position today, learn what that person did to achieve the lead position, and then follow they path they followed. I don't know that I have followed this advice very well myself, but I heard it long ago on a Zig Ziglar tape.
At the time Zig was not doing well as a salesperson in his company and one day the best salesman happened by and said "Zig, I have never seen so much wasted talent as I do in you!" Can you imagine your hero, the person you look up to making such a statement? How depressing would that be? It would definitely be an eye opener.
We frequently make the mistake of spending time and following the lead of the wrong people. If we want to have success, we need to talk to those that are achieving success, not those that are lamenting being unsuccessful. The unsuccessful person associates success with luck; successful people may say the same, but upon further investigation we find that it wasn't luck, it was hard, specific work that allowed them to achieve their success.
To achieve the same success you need to emulate the actions and do the things successful people do.
So here are the steps:
- Identify the person that has or is what you want to be.
- Find out what that person did and copy, copy, copy, and copy some more.
- Don't waste your time with negative people that do not share or encourage your goal.
Monday, April 6, 2009
The other day I received an e-mail from a recruiter saying that she had seen my name cross her desk a couple of times and felt that SHE needed to connect with me. It turns out we were both members of the same group and what she saw was a posting of mine in the discussion group.
This started me wondering how can I do this even more? What can I do to entice people to want to connect with me, so that they are doing the work, and all I am doing is assessing whether the contact is one that I want?
It's called branding! It's called making me so valuable to others to the extent that they want to connect with me. It's called driving people to me. It's called having others tell people that they should connect with me because I am a valuable connection.
This is not about self-aggrandizing; it's about my providing so much value that others are compelled to seek what I have to offer.
Do you ever learn or hear about products, food, movies, or assorted other things that you must have and will do whatever it takes to obtain that item? Of course you do, because you have associated a value with the item that drives you to do whatever it takes to obtain it.
That is what you want to do for yourself. You want to make yourself valuable to the point that people will take the necessary steps to locate and connect.
There are two major benefits to this approach to networking 1) your time is spent creating value for others so that they want to connect and 2) you don't have to spend your time making connections, instead the connections come to you.
Here are the steps:
- Create value that others want.
- Do things that drive others to you rather than your having to constantly be seeking others.
- Create value that cause referrals to you.
Here are some connection ideas:
- If you leave a voice mail identify whether it is your office or cell number (they may need to text a response because they are not in a position to call).
- Identify yourself and provide your phone number both at the beginning and the end of your call and at the end speak slowly, repeat your name, and repeat your phone number twice. There is nothing more frustrating than having to listen to an entire message multiple times to get the information correct.
- In your e-mails provide contact information for e-mail and phone responses. You may even provide your mailing address (discretionary, if it is your home address).
Friday, April 3, 2009
- How many people in your network have you contacted in the past day, week, month, and yes even year?
- What is the nature of your contact?
- Did the information benefit your contact?
- Have you taken time to classify your contacts?
- Does Pareto's Law/Principle (80:20 rule) apply to your network? I bet it does.
- Where do you focus your time in your networking activities?
- What is the purpose of your network (an upcoming blog article)?
- Is your network there for you or there for both of you?
- Do you look at the contacts belonging to your networking contacts?
- Do you share your own contacts or do you keep them private?
- If you are on LinkedIn have you performed any analysis of your contacts?
- How many different companies are represented by your contacts?
- Who are the connectors in your contact's list?
- Who are the mavens in your contact's list?
- Who are the salespeople in your contact's list?
Do an analysis of your network to improve both your understanding of your network and your understanding of how you can benefit each other.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Read the article and learn how networking saved this family.
Here is an employment success story from a recent college graduate.
Did you know that your Church is not only great for prayer, but also for networking.
This networking success story demonstrates the importance of positioning yourself for the future.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
You need to make the recommendations you give and receive count. Here is the criteria.
1. You should have at least one recommendation from an immediate manager.
2. You should have at least one recommendation from a co-worker.
3. You should have at least one recommendation from someone who worked for you.
4. You should have at least one recommendation from a vendor or supplier, if possible.
5. You should have at least one recommendation from a manager that you did not report to directly.
6. Recommendations should tell a story. What was the problem you identified, what were the actions you took, and what was the result.
7. If your recommendations are simply "Tom was a great guy to work with, I would recommend him to anyone." Send it back, you can even suggest content as long as it is true. Some people simply cannot write a recommendation.
8. This is my own biased idea of a great recommendation. "Shortly after Tom started he recognized that we were over paying on our vendor maintenance agreements by 20 to 30%. Tom identified that we were paying monthly support charges for computer racks, cabinets, and shelves. Tom identified all of the overages and contacted the vendor; his efforts are saving the company over $2500 per month." The recommendation tells a story and allows a recruiter to interpolate what Tom might do for the new company.
9. Write great recommendations about others first, then if what they write isn't exactly what you want you can feel comfortable asking for a revision.
Great recommendations will help get you noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. Happy networking!
A little further investigation of LinkedIn shows that I have 5800 different companies in my first and second level contacts. The fact that not only do I have these companies but I can find out who has the contact is awesome. Granted some of these contacts will be stale, but it is far better than anything I had previously and it's always a great starting point and opportunity to learn about the culture.
I am amazed as I look at the LinkedIn page for some of the people that I know are currently seeking a new job and I find them with 20, 50, maybe 100 connections. What is with that? You're telling me that you only know 20 people that are on LinkedIn? Either no one likes you and you don't like anyone else, you live in a hole, or you're really not interested in finding a new opportunity. To have less than 150 contacts is ridiculous and shows me someone that is not making any networking effort.
Things to do:
1. Find at least 100 people on LinkedIn to add to your network.
2. Commit to adding 5 to 10 people per week.
3. Join at least 5 groups in your areas of interest.
4. Obtain at least 5 quality recommendations. I will define a quality recommendation in another post.
5. Build a profile that tells a story about you and what you have to offer.
6. Monitor the statistcs that tell you how many people have viewed your profile and how many times you have appeared in a search.
Marcus Buckingham wants you to discover your strengths and use them to your fullest, while minimizing your negatives. Basically he says don't try to fix your weaknesses, just learn to manage them so they don't hold you back. Great words of wisdom.
Jack Canfield talks about the success principles that we all need to practice to be successful. Use the success principles to manage your life and career and they will guide you in the direction you want to go.
We all remember the story of Aladdin and the Genie. Jack Canfield leads us a new discovery process using the values of the original story.
We need to find whatever positives we can to maintain our own positive attitude. We can't afford to convey anything but a positive attitude because we never know when we will encounter that person that possesses our next opportunity. I also believe that at this time people want to find positive individuals.
In her blog my friend wrote about a contest, she didn't call it that, but that's exactly what it was. The contest is whose life is worse. It's a game often called one-ups-man-ship. My take on that is if someone wants to point out how much worse they have it, let them have at it. Don't compete with these people let them be worse off, because if they are then you have something to be thankful for, even if it's only a better attitude.
Thoughts for the day:
1. If someone wants to feel more sorry for their situation than you do for yours, let them and be happy that you are not that way.
2. We need to remind ourselves that we are great people and it's the situation around us that is bad.
3. Keep a positive attitude, you never know when the right person will be impressed that you are smiling.
4. Look for people that continue to be successful and start doing the things that they are doing.
This is a great day and live it to your fullest. Happy networking.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I watched my teenagers become involved in these social phenomena and I was very critical. I felt that they were wasting their time and efforts, when they should be studying. I'm not sure I have changed my mind regarding where their efforts are best spent, but I have changed my mind on the social networking phenomena.
The reality is that it's all about branding. You know establishing an identity for yourself. I've finally figured it out, no one is going to sell me like I can sell myself. No one is going to look out for my family and me, like I will. No one is going to care as much about my success or even failure for that matter as I will. So why not call it like it is and start marketing yourself in the same way that any organization promotes and sells their products.
To some of you that may sound pretty commercial but the reality is that we are a product that we attempt to sell to the highest bidder, as long as everything is legal and ethical there really is nothing wrong with that philosophy.
So why am I in so many places. That's a great question and the answer is because there are so many networking places. If you are truly concerned about networking and branding you need to cover all of the bases. There are many people with the same name as yours and one, some, or many of them will be in all the different networking places on the Internet. It is important to your networking and branding process that you establish yourself in all of those different locations so no one confuses you with someone that may not share your same values and ethics.
Managing your Social Networks:
- Create a consistent brand - use identifying verbiage and pictures.
- Create a strong profile, don't simply put place holders out there. Tell people something of value.
- Establish a presence in all the right places, but don't try to keep up with all of them - focus your energy.
- Make sure that your comments and discussions are uplifting and supportive. Don't be known as a negative contributor.
- Participate in and start discussions, especially in those areas where you have a passion.
- Join relevant groups to establish and promote yourself.
- Add valuable comments and contributions that help others and in-turn raise your value.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I have to admit that I haven't read this one by Keith Ferrazzi, because it doesn't release until May, 2009.
This networking book has been released and it is on my "To Read" list. Smart Networking has received consistent excellent reviews.
What's wrong with that picture? If you consider yourself to be a networker looking for opportunities to expand your network you couldn't be doing anything more to dissuade conversation. You have done everything within your power to make yourself unapproachable.
As a networker you need to be looking for networking opportunities to get to know people and for job seekers more importantly get people to know you. Starting those first networking conversations while in a plane, train, or bus can be an uncomfortable experience for many people, but this is where you start stepping out of your comfort zone.
Begin by asking the simple questions:
- Is the departing or destination city their home?
- No, then where do you live?
- Are you traveling for business or pleasure?
- What is your final destination?
- If for business; what type of business are you in?
- What is your position?
- If for pleasure; do you go there often?
- When was the last time you were there?
- Are you visiting family?
This should create a give and take networking session that will last for much of your flight. If these questions can't get something started, because you are in the middle seat, turn to the person on the other side of you.
Don't forget to get a business card and follow up with at least an "It was nice chatting with you during our flight to (wherever)."
Happy traveling and happy networking!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Networks are a resource to be managed and nurtured. Your network is not something that you should think of only when you have a need. When you read a thoughtful article or a good book you should be thinking about who in your network would benefit from the information. If you hear of a job opportunity you should be thinking about who you could refer or recommend. Not that you want to be mercenary, but your network will appreciate you more when they know that you care about them.
If someone in your network is promoted or takes a new job, congratulate them, let them know that you are happy or excited for them.
Take care of your network.
- Send congratulatory notes on promotions, new positions, or honors received.
- Follow up with new contacts or referrals immediately, try to send them a relevant piece of information.
- Immediately thank anyone that helps you in building your network.
- Set a personal goal to add five to ten contacts each week.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
If you're unemployed one of the constant things that you have or should be hearing is that 70% - 90% of jobs are found through networking. It's a fact, there is a comfort level in hiring people that you know or have been referred to you.
Our lives are driven by the referral process, whether it is the movies we watch, the books we read, the places we eat, the vacations we take, or whatever; referrals play an important part in the choices we make. Why should we expect hiring to be any different?
You need to reach out and constantly be networking.
Networking will take most people outside their comfort zones. To be a successful networker, however, that move outside your comfort zone is critical. Most people think that networking is talking to the people that they are always talking to, but nothing could be further from the truth. You need to extend your networking efforts beyond those you already know.
If your current contacts cannot move you beyond people you already know, you are not moving forward in your networking.
Steps to take:
- Identify your purpose for networking: i.e. a new career, new contacts, learning opportunities, reading recommendations, etc. You need to understand your purpose to make your networking purposeful.
- Talk to each of your contacts and ask for two or three names that could help you achieve your networking purpose. See if they will arrange an introduction or if you can reference their name.
- Follow up with the new individuals and explain your purpose, let these individuals get to know you. Don't ask for a job, again explain who you are and what you have done and ask if they may know of someone that could use your talents. As with your initial contacts, the idea is to get more contacts and follow up again.
- With each contact you make look for some way within the next day to e-mail them a thank you and provide them with some information that will be beneficial to their business or situation.