Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thirteen Lucky Tips for the "Networking Challenged"

Courtesy of Karen Gutman, Employment Specialist at JVS Detroit...thanks, Karen!

1. Remember why you are networking – We network to make connections and broaden our knowledge base. Whether we are in sales or job searching, we do not approach our network to make sales (or get a job), but to gather information and seek referrals of others to meet. Embracing this thought takes the pressure off and allows us to enjoy meeting new people.

2. Dress for Success – Dress professionally in business attire. Be sure your clothes are clean and neat. Do a quick check in a mirror before entering the room. Wear a suit or sport jacket with pockets for business cards. You can keep your cards in the pocket on one side and those you collect in the other.

3. Be prepared to network – We are more comfortable if we know we have everything we need to network. One should never be without business cards! As a job seeker, your cards should include your name, your contact information, and your job goal as a profession. For example, “Inside Sales Professional”, “Executive Administrative Assistant”, or “Licensed Auto Mechanic”. Know your elevator speech! You don’t want to fumble or ramble on when asked the “what do you do” question. Your speech should include they type of people you are looking to connect with.

4. Plan your strategy – Pause for a few minutes at the door to see who you would like to approach. Look for someone standing alone, as they will be eager to engage with you. If you have specific people you want to meet, approach them or join in their conversation. If you put it off, they just might leave before you get your chance! Set a realistic goal for how many people you plan to talk to at the event. It’s ok to start small. Once you get more comfortable, you’ll set higher goals. But push yourself to meet your goal!

5. Plan your approach – Rehearse your approach. Extend your hand, “Hello, my name is _______”. Then have your first question ready. Good openers are: “What do you do?”, “Is this your first time here?”, “How did you hear about this event?” “What other networking meetings do you attend?” Then ask follow up questions and use their name often. It will help you remember and personalize your conversation.

6. Ask a lot of questions. You can find out what the person does, how they got into the field, and what other networking events they attend. People love to talk about themselves and it will put you both at ease. If they ask about you, answer with what you do – such as the title on your business card. Give your elevator speech and let them know with whom you are looking to connect.

7. Do not ask for a job! You didn’t attend to find a job; you are networking to make contacts. It’s ok to mention you are looking for a new position, but DO NOT make that the focus of the conversation. Don’t hand out your resume, that’s what your business card is for. If you are asked for your resume, you can always email it.

8. Know when it is time to move on. The purpose of a networking event is to connect with people you want to get to know better. It is not the time for a lengthy conversation. Once you have determined that this is someone you want to have more conversation with, say something like, “I would like to talk more with you, but I am sure you want to meet others. Would you be interested in meeting sometime for coffee so we can continue this discussion?” If they are interested, make sure you follow up! If the conversation isn’t worth pursuing further, just say, “I will let you go” or simply, “It’s been great meeting you”.

9. But before you move on… shake hands and be sure to ask for a business card. Don’t flaunt your card or hand it out unless it is asked for. No one likes the person who walks around an event handing out their cards and calling it “networking”!

10. Be confident; don’t apologize for taking time or asking for a contact – that’s why everyone is there!

11. Take note! Make notes on the back of business cards to remind yourself what you talked about and what follow up you need to do. You can do this when you are “moving on” or when you return to your car.

12. Follow up... make LinkedIn connections with your new contacts. Follow up with meetings or information. Look for information or articles to pass along to your new contacts in areas of interest that you discussed.

13. It gets easier every time. It’s ok if you feel nervous before you go in. Many people get uncomfortable in new situations. Take a few deep breaths, let the oxygen circulate, and feel confident because you know you are totally prepared!

Prepared by Karen Gutman
Employment Specialist at JVS Detroit

Karen is just one of the helpful professional staff at JVS Detroit.

Visit us at www.jvsdet.org, search our job bank at www.ParnossahWorksDetroit.org, join our group NextJobs~JVS Detroit on LinkedIn.com and follow JVS Detroit on Twitter and be a fan of JVS Detroit on Facebook.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Is Your Job Search Out of Control? - Part 2 of 5

Yesterday I advised not looking for "anything" and having a focus in your job search.

But what if your focused job search is coming up empty, no leads, nobody hiring someone like you?

The hidden secret, known for the past several decades and probably for all time, the majority, as much as 80%, of all jobs NEVER GET ADVERTISED.

Most job openings are filled BEFORE they can ever go public.

And most employers would rather their job openings not go public because when jobs are advertised, made known to the public, then the mad rush, the spammers, the tsunami of job seekers all storm the gates.

Keep your focus, keep your eye on the prize and stop stampeding with the crowd.

Contact all those companies of interest even if they are not advertising any openings.

Use a letter of inquiry or introduction, ask for advice from key people, phone the switchboard and ask general questions like to whom should you speak to learn more about the company or how they go about hiring when they have the need, create marketing pieces and campaigns to promote your strengths, assests and value to the company.

But do not limit your job search only to those companies advertising openings.

If you need help in creating and putting into action your marketing and prospecting plan, get in touch with me at wtarrow@jvsdet.org.

Be sure to come back for Part 3.

And don't forget to check out what's happening at www.JVSDet.org.

Is Your Job Search Out of Control?!? - Part 1 of 5

Is your job search out of control?

How can that be when you are you looking for anything, just any job, to get back to work?

I just searched on Indeed for all, any, jobs in the metro Detroit area posted since yesterday and came up with 1,585! Now I have to narrow that list down somehow and review all that might be of interest. Being open to anything, it may be a challenge. BUT if I can get the list down to only 5% of the original total, I will have only 80 to look at.

Giving myself no more than three minutes per posting, I would need about four hours to look at only 5% of today's new postings. That's, on average, four hours EVERY day!

Just to look at the postings. And that does not even consider the time it would take for me to apply to the ones that look promising.

And forget about following up on any of those applications.

And no way will I have the time to go in person to any of them or to visit any other companies in the neighborhood. Or open up the phone book and call any of them.

After all, you are willing to take anything. How can it take so much time, so much effort, to find "anything?"

But what if you start my search with some job targets, some choice keywords that match my talents, my experience, my education/training, my strengths?

After all, are you really willing to take "anything?"

If you start out asking for anything, you set yourself up to get something you would never want or nothing at all.

But most important of all, no employer wants to hire anyone who is looking for anything.

With at least a general idea of what you want and what you know you are good at doing, you tell employers what they need to know to offer you the job.

Otherwise, you are nobody special who will take anything and just does not care.

Not someone to be hired.

But what if your search with all the right keywords, for your job match, your job fit, keeps coming up empty? What then?

Be sure to come back for Part 2.

In the meanwhile, you can keep on top of all the events, activities, resources and more at JVS by visiting our main website, http://www.jvsdet.org/, or search for jobs at http://www.parnossahworksdetroit.org/, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.