Step Six: Network, Network, Network
Networking is a way to actively seek out jobs through contacts with friends, relatives and professionals. It is a great way to get ahead of the competition when you are finishing school or changing jobs. It can be done through in-person meetings, phone calls or e-mails.
The process of networking enables you to gather information about job leads; it is one of the most effective methods of gathering information about job opportunities and gaining access to employers. Remember, however, that your networking objective should be to gain support in your on-going job search, not just to get a job.
Meeting with professionals from your field is the best way to explore career options, gather information and better understand how your strengths can be used in the job market.
Basic Networking Tips
10 Commandments for Better Networking
- Prepare a list of networking contacts, starting with the people you know.
- Get organized and prepared to take notes as you meet with people.
- Prepare yourself by identifying your skills, interests and the type of career you desire.
- Contact each person on your list and request an informational interview with them (informational interviews also can be conducted over the phone). Remember to be polite and friendly.
- Always provide your network a copy of your resume prior to the informational meeting.
- Gather information about job openings in your field and/or referrals to other contacts.
- Remember to thank each person for his/her time by sending them a thank you note or letter.
- Until you have obtained a position, frequently remind people that you are still in the job market.
- Join online networking sites such as: linkedin.com, meetup.com/Chicago to meet more people and learn about events where contacts will go.
- Attend relevant conferences, meetings, seminars and events to meet even more contacts.
Do you suffer from “Butterfly-itis” at the very mention of networking at business functions? If you answered yes, you are not alone! Many business people and entrepreneurs get a bit uncomfortable when it comes right down to walking up to someone and starting a conversation. Many others are concerned about getting effective results from the time they spend networking.
The process doesn’t have to be traumatic, scary, or a waste of time. When done properly, it can truly make a difference in the amount of business your company generates. With the right approach, you can use it to build a wealth of resources and contacts that will help to make your business very successful.
Use the following Ten Commandments to help you network your way through your next business networking event:
1. Have the tools to network with you at all times
These include an informative name badge, your business cards (I’m amazed at how many people forget to bring these to networking events – really critical for people to be able to contact you), somewhere to write notes (I use the cool, free tool at http://www.repocketmod.com/), something to write with, and a way to refer other professionals to those you meet (such as a card file, smartphone, etc.).
2. Set a goal for the number of people you’ll meet
Identify a reachable goal based on attendance and the type of group. If you feel inspired, set a goal to meet fifteen to twenty people and make sure you get all their cards. If you don’t feel so hot, shoot for less. In either case, don’t leave until you’ve met your goal.
3. Act like a host, not a guest
A host is expected to do things for others, while a guest sits back and relaxes. Volunteer to help greet people. If you see visitors sitting, introduce yourself and ask if they would like to meet others. Act as a connector.
4. Listen and ask questions
Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately. After you’ve learned what another person does, tell them what you do. Be specific, but brief. Don’t assume they know how to help you.
5. You’re not there to close a deal
These events are not meant to be a vehicle to hit on business people to buy your products or services. Networking is about developing relationships with other professionals. Meeting people at events should be the beginning of that process, not the end of it.
6. Give referrals whenever possible
The best networkers believe in the givers gain philosophy (what goes around, comes around). If I help you, you’ll help me and we’ll both do better as a result of it. In other words, if you don’t genuinely attempt to help the people you meet, then you are not networking effectively. If you can’t give someone a bona fide referral, offer some information that might be of interest to them (such as details about an upcoming event).
7. Exchange business cards
Ask each person you meet for two cards - one to pass on to someone else and one to keep. This sets the stage for networking to happen.
8. Manage your time efficiently
Spend ten minutes or less with each person you meet and don’t linger with friends or associates (you already know them!). If your goal is to meet a given number of people, be careful not to spend too much time with any one person – and don’t spend too little time only focusing on gathering business cards. When you meet someone interesting with whom you’d like to speak further, set up an appointment for a later date.
9. Write notes on the backs of business cards you collect
Record anything you think may be useful in remembering each person more clearly on the back of their business card (or remember the repocketmod.com). This will come in handy when you follow up on each contact.
10. Follow up!
You can obey the previous nine commandments religiously, but if you don’t follow up effectively, you will have wasted your time. Drop a note or give a call to each person you’ve met. Be sure to fulfill any promises you’ve made.
7 Secrets to Get a Job Using Social Media - do you know them?
Between current economic conditions and the technological evolution of the Internet, the traditional approach most job seekers have taken in the past is no longer viable.
The approach — developing a resume and cover letter, locating jobs on and submitting your resume to corporate sites and job banks, and crossing your fingers in hopes of receiving a call from a hiring manager — is, for the most part, a thing of the past. The new approach is far different. It boils down to the fact that there are fewer jobs available, more competition for those jobs and more touch points for recruiters and seekers to interact.
The current environment
There will be 1.5 million college graduates this year, yet the job growth rate is at a six year low, at 1.3%! The amount of jobs posted online is decreasing at over 13%, which has all led to the ratio of 3.3 job seekers per each job.
Social networks are starting to become part of the criteria that both hiring managers and college admissions officers are using to weed out applicants. One in five hiring managers conduct background checks using social networks (primarily Facebook), while one in ten college admissions officers do the same.
It’s time for you to be open-minded and think differently about how you’re going to get your next job and keep it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t submit your resume to job banks, corporate websites, vertical job agents (Simply Hired/Indeed) or attend job fairs, but these should only consume 10% of your time. The other 90% should be concentrated on the following seven social media secrets, which will not only get you a job, but help you create your own dream job!
1. Conduct a people search instead of a job search
The majority of jobs aren’t posted online. Hiring managers get a list of employee referral candidates before they even bother to view resumes from those who submit them online. Sometimes the listed jobs aren’t available or never existed in the first place. Many studies have noted that 80% of jobs are taken through networking, but few have sought to use the web to search and locate people they would actually enjoy working for at companies that they get excited about.
The 3-step people search:
2. Use attraction-based marketing to get job offers
- Identify the top five companies that you would like to work for.
- Use a focused approach instead of flooding thousands of inboxes with spam. You want to brand yourself, not just as the person of best fit for a job, but as someone who is eager and ecstatic to work for the company.
- Use search engines to track employees that currently work there.
- There are over 130 million blogs in Technorati and you can search through them to possibly find someone who works at one of your top five companies. You can search through corporate groups, pages and people on Facebook. You can even do the same on Twitter. Then there are people search engines such as pipl, peek you, and wink. Once you find a contact name, try googling it to see if there is any additional information about that person.
- Connect with the person directly.
- Social media has broken down barriers, to a point where you can message someone you aren’t friends with and don’t have contact information for, without any hassles. Before you message a target employee, realize that they receive messages from people asking for jobs all the time and that they might not want to be bothered on Facebook, where their true friends are. As long as you’ve done your homework on the company and them, tailor a message that states who you are and your interest, without asking for a job at first. Get to know them and then by the 3rd or 4th messages, ask if there is an available opportunity.
The traditional way of searching for a job was proactive, forcing you to start a job that you might not have enjoyed. The new approach is about building a powerful personal brand and attracting job opportunities directly into your doorstep. How do you do this? You become a content producer instead of just a consumer and the number one way to do that on the web is to launch a blog that centers around both your expertise and passions.
You need to be passionate to be committed to this project because it requires a lot of writing, creativity and consistency in order for it to actually help you. A blog is a non-intrusive, harmless and generous way of getting recruiters interested in your brand, without you even asking for a job! Make the recruiters fall in love with you and only send you opportunities that are related to your blog content, so you end up happy in the end.
This works a lot and is expected for new-age marketing jobs that require experience in social media and can even help you jump-start a new business off of your blog platform. By pulling recruiters into your world, you are able to impress them with what you want them to see and they can make a quick decision whether to hire you or not, without you hearing about rejection. Start a blog today using Wordpress.com (for beginners) or install Wordpress.org onto your own host (such as GoDaddy or Bluehost).
3. Be proactive on Twitter
Twitter has become the ultimate utility to connect directly with recruiters and employees at companies you want to work for. By conducting Twitter searches, following recruiters on your account and using the “@” sign to communicate with them on occasion, you will start to learn a lot about them and their companies.
Before you follow anyone on Twitter, you HAVE TO have a completed profile. This means, you should have a short bio, the location where you’re from, a link to a site that recruiters can go to for more information (I recommend your blog or your LinkedIn profile) and an avatar of yourself (not a clown or Homer Simpson please). This way, you stand a better chance of securing an opportunity or a relationship with people who care enough to read your profile.
Most people get jobs on Twitter by already having hundreds or thousands of followers. For example, I’ve heard of at least ten people getting a job by tweeting “just got laid off, looking for a job in finance” and then receiving a few direct messages with people who want to help them. Of course, these individuals had built trust, credibility and relationships with their followers over time, so they were more inclined to come to their rescue. You can do the same, just start right now!
4. Capitalize on LinkedIn
It’s no surprise that LinkedIn has been extremely profitable and successful as of late. Recruiters are starting to use LinkedIn as the main place for sourcing candidates because it’s free and the top professionals are on there. Many people don’t use LinkedIn to the best of their ability and fail to complete their entire profile, such that it says “100% complete.”
Just like any other search engine recruiters are using, keywords are extremely important. You want to fill out your entire profile, just like you would a resume, but include the same avatar you are using on Twitter (see above) and ensure that the summary section is complete. You’ll also want to get at least one recommendation from a supervisor or friend, which will give you a “1″ next to a “thumbs up” graphic when people search for you.
Then, you should import all your contacts from Outlook, Gmail, etc, so that you can start to build your network or grow your existing network. The more people you’re connected to the better because you’re only able to reach other people in your network (1st, 2nd & 3rd degrees) by having these connections. You may want to pay for a premium account, so you can contact other recruiters that may help you. Finally, you should conduct searches on there for jobs that you may be interested in and reach out to those individuals that may supply you with an interview or referral.
5. Advertise your brand using AdWords and Facebook Social Ads
Google AdWords is Google’s advertising platform, which offers CPC (cost-per-click) and CPI (cost-per-impression) pricing for advertisements on Google and partner sites. Some of their partner sites are newspapers, radio and TV.
Before running your advertisement, you need a landing page. If you have a website or blog, then use the resume page within it to display through advertising. This works beautifully because recruiters can see that single resume page and notice all the other pages/options on your website, to get a better sense of your brand.
Here’s how to create your ad:
Facebook Social Ads allow businesses and individuals to advertise using Facebook’s news feed or left rail (will change to 2 ad spots on the right when the new interface swaps over). This program works similar to Google’s but you can use a picture and it’s more “word-of-mouth friendly” because ads travel through the news feed of friends.
- Title. When you create your ad, label yourself as a specialist, expert or guru on the title tag. You might want to state the fact that it’s your resume first. What is the ad for? The title is the most important piece of your ad because it has the most “text” emphasis. I would say “I want to work for” or “Resume for.” Try and be as specific as you can.
- Description. In the next two description tags, pull out your biggest achievements in 6 words or less and list your personal brand statement or a few descriptors.
- URL. For your URL, don’t use the URL for your resume page. Instead use yourname.com for personal branding purposes. Drop the “www” from the domain you want to promote because it’s unnecessary.
Once you create your ad, either link it to your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or blog/website. These ads are all about targeting a specific group that would care about your resume or hiring you for that matter. When you select your target audience, keep your major in mind, as well as the company and location.
- Picture. Just like your Facebook picture, don’t use a picture that you wouldn’t want shown to your future employer. I would go for a professional yet personal picture.
- Description. Don’t write your resume, but instead give the viewer a quick description of who you are, what you do and what job you want in 25 words.
6. Construct a video resume and upload it to YouTube
A search for “video resume” on YouTube will give you over 1,700 results. Many video resumes are good, while others are so amateur and rehearsed that they subtract from a given candidates marketing program. The key with a video resume is that very few people have actually created one, so they serve as a differentiator in the recruiting process.
A good video resume is short, describes the value you can contribute to a given position, explains why you’re the best person for the job and talks about your background in a story-like format. If you aren’t a person with an outgoing and lively personality, then don’t bother creating one. Since you’re filming yourself, don’t rush because you can always try it a hundred times before you upload the final version to YouTube.
7. Subscribe to blogs that have job listings
We all subscribe to blogs to receive information based on our interests, at least I hope. Over time we rely on these sources for information to keep us updated on what is happening in certain industries or different trends that are developing. In the past few years, the larger blogs have started to integrate job banks into their own websites, using software/hosting from companies such as Job-a-matic.
Blogs that have taken this approach include Guy Kawasaki’s blog, GigaOM, and Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategy Blog.
Other blogs, such as Darren Rowse’s Problogger Blog offer blogging jobs, and Mashable has a job board highlighting jobs in social media and tech.
This targeting will save you from hours searching and help escort you to jobs that you’d actually want.
Integrate the traditional and social media approach
These seven secrets are extremely important in your next job search. The most successful job searches come from those who have already built up strong networks, both online and off. You need to integrate this new-age approach with the traditional approach you’ve already been using, in order to be consistent, so there are no surprises from the recruiter’s perspective. They want the candidate they see on paper or online.
I would recommend that you use a link to your blog, LinkedIn profile and YouTube video resume on your traditional resume. You’ll also want to link your existence on all social networks together. You need to be where recruiters are searching, as well as become a content producer so you can attract them directly to you. That is how you have a successful job search and stand out for years to come.