Archive for the 'Networking' Category

How to Land Informational Interviews

I am a huge fan of informational interviews.  What is that, you ask? An informational interview is a fancy way of saying that you’re requesting a meeting with someone who may be able to share insights or information with you that could help in your job search. (Click HERE to read more about info interviews and HERE for specifics on getting started.) In fact, I’ve even advocated for job seekers to talk to people you DON’T think can help you.

Talking to people about their jobs and companies is a great way to (1) learn about people and organizations and (2) introduce yourself, your skills and accomplishments to people who will (hopefully) like you and want to help you with your plans.

Every time I talk to clients about informational interviews, I always emphasize the importance of approaching contacts NOT as a job seeker, but as someone who is simply gathering information. If you can convince yourself AND the person you want to meet that you don’t expect the meeting to result in a job, you are much more likely to be successful securing appointments.

Let’s face it, if you approach as a job seeker, (“I am looking for an opportunity working in _____, and I would like to talk to you about positions at your organization.”), your contact will not want to speak to you unless he or she actually has an opportunity in mind. No one wants to disappoint another person, so if your target contact has no job in sight, he or she is likely to suggest that you send your resume to HR.

That tact will not help you get your foot in the door, and does not connect you one-on-one to a potential ally. So, be polite, but persistent. Insist that you are gathering information, “not expecting a specific opportunity as a result of our meeting,” and push to talk to contacts in person. If your targeted contact is not interested, ask for a referral. (“I appreciate that you are too busy to meet. Is there someone else in your department who might be able to speak with me?)

The fact is, most people love to talk about themselves, and few of us have a willing audience for our stories! Ask yourself, if someone called you and  requested that you share your story and information about your organization (assuming you weren’t working with classified information), what would you say? I would bet that most of you would be willing to help.

So, take the plunge. Find some contacts and land some informational interviews!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

Social Networking Bridges the Generational Gap and Propels Your Career Forward

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So, I’ve written that participating in social networking can help you look younger without the aid of botox or hair dye! Since I’ve been writing about Twitter this week, and how you can use it to help you network and find a job, I thought I would end the week with some stories of people just like you who believe that using social networking tools are useful to propel them along the right career path.

Veronica Gliatti, a 40-something, experienced public relations and marketing expert, believes that her blog, which she created to help her look for not just a job, but the right career position for her, has helped drive interest in her for job opportunities.  She notes that the blog also “Helped instill more confidence in [her] own abilities” and that she knows several recent leads were directly related to writing a good effective blog with a powerful message.

Melissa Balmer, of Creative Conscious Connecting, 44, emphatically believes that being on line with her website, blog, Facebook profile, yelp profile, etc., helps keep her seeming younger, hipper and more connected in the eyes of her current and future clients.

Melissa notes, “Now that I have quite a dynamic web presence, including an updated photo, blogs in more than one place, presence on myspace, Facebook, linkedin and more, I’m finding that the ageism I grew to fear doesn’t exist for me. People are looking for great, responsible, tuned in people who can connect cross- generationally, and the internet is truly the way to go for this – it’s not someone’s age that matters so much as how ready they are to understand what makes things happen now.”

John Williams, Partner in B2B CFO® believes that having a presence on linkedin and other networking sites gave him more visibility than just being on The Ladders, Exec-U-Net and similar job sites. He also suggested that having a Blackberry “created an impression of being connected” and gave him an edge during his search. He notes, “Utilizing the web was very useful [during his search] and much more efficient than networking at the C level.” He suggests that “Job seekers will miss a major outlet if they are not on the web in this fashion.”

Perhaps one of the more persuasive arguments for using social networking to make yourself seem younger in the job hunt (especially for older workers) comes from Gary Stewart, an executive recruiter in the pharmaceutical industry. He says, “The problem that I have experienced as a recruiter is that there is a definite gap between those who are familiar with [social] networking” and the people he seeks – those who have a minimum of 10-20 years of experience.  He notes, “Most people with this much experience are not aware, or do not know how to take advantage of this sort of medium.” Gary acknowledges that anyone with that experience who participates in online networking would have an advantage in his book.”

If you’re convinced that learning about social networking can help with your job hunt, I can help you! It’s not rocket science, but if you’d like a helping hand to guide your entree to the online market, Keppie Careers is here for you. Email me at results@keppiecareers.com.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

picture by skampy

Using Twitter to Hire – the Employer’s Perspective

Yesterday, I shared several stories from people who used Twitter to help drive their career bus. Jessica Smith found her “dream job” from a tweet. Kyle Flaherty, moved his family from Boston to Austin, TX as a result of a job hunt that started as a tweet!

Kyle’s boss, Pam O’Neal (who hired him as a direct result of his tweet and blog post), was kind enough to answer some questions for me about using Twitter and social networking sites from the employer’s perspective. I hope you’ll agree with me that her answers help shed some light on the subject of social networking for a job hunt.

Tell me about using Twitter to hire?

Happy to share. I think it is a fantastic tool to find a job and for recruiting new hires. It’s a great way to expand your network exponentially to spread the word about an opening. And, if used properly, to alert employers that you are available.

In this instance, I knew it was going to be difficult–if not impossible–to find an experienced social media marketer. I had hired bloggers and other new media marketers before, so I knew what to expect. It’s a new role that demands a completely different mindset. Also, it’s difficult to find marketers who fit into a start-up culture. It’s usually best to hire someone you know or based on referral, but in this case, I knew no one that matched our needs.

How did you actually come to find Kyle? Did you receive his tweet directly? Via another contact? What about his tweet and/or blog appealed to you?

An important thing I’ve learned in my marketing career is to think like your prospect, speak their language and go where they are. So, when it comes to recruiting, I follow the same path. I had done this in my last position, pre-Twitter. In this case, however, I was not ready to broadcast the position, so I alerted my LinkedIn network, my PR agency, etc. Fortunately, one of the folks at our PR agency Porter Novelli was on the lookout for me and saw a tweet that Kyle posted about his next career move and alerted me that he would be a fantastic hire.

What was special about Kyle?

Kyle really took an out of the box approach using Twitter. He had already informed his employer that he wanted to make a career move and made a list of the exact opportunity he was looking for, so he posted an announcement to his 700+ Twitter followers and described that role. So, between the agency referral, Kyle’s use of Twitter and the insights he’d posted on his blog, I knew he would be a great addition to the team. I emailed him immediately.

(Note – I thought Pam’s description that follows of how she and Kyle used Twitter to update each other on the hiring process was really interesting…)

Once Kyle and I connected, we communicated throughout the interview process via Twitter. I followed his Twitter updates and sent him regular updates on what was going on at BreakingPoint (Pam’s organization) and in the industry. I could also tell the other companies he was talking to in Austin so I knew my competition. It was also a good way to get to know each others’ interests and philosophy about the role prior to closing the deal.

Do you (or your colleagues) regularly source employees online?

Not typically, but for hard to find specialists, I will alert my network via Twitter and other social media sites. We’ve had candidates reach out to us on Twitter and I’ve also spread the word for other colleagues who are hiring marketers.

What sites/tools do you use?

LinkedIn and Facebook mostly. I’m now a member of several online professional groups that I will use in the future.

How many employees have you connected with via social networking tools?

Wow, too many to count. I use them almost exclusively these days. Ads are a waste of money and sorting through stacks of resumes is an extraordinary waste of time. My last 4 or 5 hires have been through social media sites or personal referrals. I found Kyle via Twitter and a demand generation specialist via LinkedIn. I found a blogger via a social media content site. I can tell you that it has dramatically reduced interviewing costs. In two instances, I was able to hire the first candidate I interviewed as they were a somewhat “known” quantity based on their online profiles, content, network, etc.

Do you do background checks online as well? Have you ever NOT hired someone because of what you found?

I’ve used MySpace to do some “reference-checking” to see if a candidate would be a good hire. One such candidate foolishly posted publicly that he had enlisted in the army but would try to “get out of it” if he found a job. That was a couple of years ago. Needless to say, we didn’t bring him in for an interview.

Your Turn

So, how do you feel about engaging in a job hunt via Twitter? Would it be great if your prospective employer tweeted updates so you wouldn’t be left in the dark? What if you were also tweeting where else you were interviewing? Please share your thoughts about open-book hiring using Twitter!

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If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

Networking for Success…Think Being, Not Doing

Today, columnists JT O’Donnell and Dale Dauten of JT and Dale Talk Jobs included a quote from me in their Best of the Month – Career Resources Worth Checking Out:

J.T.: A lot of job-search advice boils down to more and better networking. That assertion always frustrates people who aren’t naturally outgoing. Those who think of networking as mere “schmoozing” will always struggle. Networking is about sharing information, about being genuinely interested in what you might learn from others and what others might learn from you. You don’t need to be a smooth talker or the life of the party to network properly. There’s a great discussion of this in a blog written by a fellow career coach, Miriam Salpeter. Find it at www.KeppieCareers.com. I particularly like this quote: “I try to think of networking as a way of BEING instead of something to DO.”

In light of today’s economic situation, it has never been more clear how important it is to network effectively and with goals in mind. Stay tuned next week for more about how to network well, including a post about people who actually found their jobs using Twitter!

(If you haven’t started using Twitter, NOW is a good time to start! Feel free to “follow” me at: http://twitter.com/Keppie_Careers.)

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by vasta

Suddenly Unemployed: What Steps to Take Now

It is a sad state of affairs when previously top-rated and well-respected firms go belly up and leave a slew of dedicated, talented, but unemployed workers in their wake.

I worked on Wall Street and survived one lay-off before deciding to change industries. My department and ultimately the firm was subsequently swallowed up, so I feel particularly empathetic. Many who believed that a Wall Street job was their golden ticket must now take a deep breath and figure out plan B.

In light of today’s situation, and in particular for Lehman and Merrill employees (and AIG…), here are some action steps to consider:

Pause, but don’t stop.

If you don’t have a great network and job search materials at-the-ready, facing an unexpected job loss can be very overwhelming. Take a moment to take stock, but don’t take a month. Consider potential next steps. Assess your skills and figure out what you offer that is unique and special. In an environment where many people are looking for opportunities at once, you need to be able to identify what sets you apart.

In a post for the Wall Street Journal, “Dealing with a Job Search When You Least Expect It”: Toddi Gutner notes: “Despite the need to mobilize a quick job search, ‘you don’t want to send out a bunch of things into the marketplace without any thought behind it,’ says Mr. [Doug] Matthews [CEO of Right Management Consultants]. Take some time to create a thoughtful and measured approach to your job hunt. Be specific about the position you want and target the companies where you want to work.” (Hat tip: Lindsey Pollak)

Clean up your digital footprint.

Especially if you’ve been thrown into a job search unexpectedly – IMMEDIATELY clean up your social networking profiles so that they are professional and wouldn’t cause any potential employer to think twice about hiring you. (Including your photos – make sure you are dressed like you are ready for work in your highlighted pictures.) Set a Google alert so you know when your name comes up online. With 1 in 5 employers researching candidates online, an un-professional comment or picture may be the difference between getting the job and being the #2 choice.

Network smart.

You already know. Network, network, network. But, do you know how? If you’re not familiar with social networks (linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc.), now is the time to get familiar!

When you are planning your networking, focus on information gathering and sharing. Don’t ask for informational meetings to discuss your need for a job. If that person doesn’t have a job to offer, he or she will probably not want to meet with you and will suggest you contact HR.

The key with your networking is to expand your group of “loose contacts” – people who don’t know you well, but are willing to do what they can to help you achieve your goal. If you can present yourself as talented and skilled and make a personal connection, you will get much further with your job hunt.

Job hunt full time, but don’t be a workaholic.

Make a plan. Get up, get dressed, make appointments, keep a to-do list. Have goals for your job hunt as you do for your work life. I don’t have to tell you that this is a stressful time, but don’t feel the need to be job hunting 100% of your day. Take time to enjoy yourself and seek supportive groups to help you get through this tough time. Take time to vent and to be angry, but try to achieve a positive outlook, as that will help you in the long run.

Consider the cost benefits of seeking career advice.

The fact is, most people don’t have a very good resume and have no idea how to search for a job in today’s economy. In a competitive environment, your job seeking materials (this includes your linkedin profile and web 2.0 presence) will be even more important. Money may be tight, but hiring a coach and/or a resume writer might be just the boost you need to propel your search. Anita Bruzzese, career advice columnist and author suggests,

“If you don’t think you can afford a career coach, consider giving up some of the extras in your life (a gym membership, eating out, cable television, etc.) which can can help you pay for a coach.”

Consider the cost of unemployment and the fact that you are much more likely to land a job in a timely way if you have a great resume, understand how to market yourself and are well prepared to interview and negotiate.

The list of things to do when suddenly facing a job hunt is very long…Those who make a plan and  methodically move toward their goals are most likely to achieve them.

Some links that might be useful:

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

Loose Ties Bind for Your Job Hunt – Expand Your Network for Success

We’ve all heard it…Network your way to a job. 80% of jobs are found via networking. Many may incorrectly think that this means everyone finds a job via the proverbial brother-in-law connection!

In fact, statistically, weak ties are very useful for the job hunt.

Maybe you have a story that proves this is true. I have a friend who learned about her job from another mom while attending a story time for her son at a local bookstore. She didn’t know the other mom, but struck up a conversation and found out about a job opportunity that turned out to be a perfect fit!

The New York Times recently published an article, The Brave New World of Digital Intimacy, which emphasizes the importance of expanding your network beyond your immediate circle:

This rapid growth of weak ties can be a very good thing. Sociologists have long found that “weak ties” greatly expand your ability to solve problems. For example, if you’re looking for a job and ask your friends, they won’t be much help; they’re too similar to you, and thus probably won’t have any leads that you don’t already have yourself. Remote acquaintances will be much more useful, because they’re farther afield, yet still socially intimate enough to want to help you out.

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (an excellent read for those interested in being connected) also reminds us of how important it is to expand your network beyond your immediate circle.

What does this mean for the job seeker?

Don’t discount connections on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and other organized social networks. I’m amazed at the open and giving nature of interactions online. I think that the bottom line is that many people LIKE to help others. This is a message I’ve been sharing for years. “People are flattered when you ask their advice,” I tell my clients. “Wouldn’t you be happy to share your insights about your profession with someone if asked?” I’ve never had anyone argue that they would NOT be happy to help.

So, don’t worry if your brother-in-law isn’t influential in your industry! Seek “weak” ties. They may be more binding for your career plans!

What “weak tie” stories do you have? Share them in the comments section!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help with your hunt? We can help you get your job hunt in gear! Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by melissambwilkins

How to Use Facebook for Your Job Search

Last week, I reported on an experiment that Willy Franzen, from One Day, One Job conducted with new college grads who posted ads on Facebook advertising their interest in working in specific industries.

The technique is bold, a bit different and did result in some networking opportunities for the 20-somethings who participated. However, the fact is, advertising a job search on Facebook isn’t a strategy for every job seeker, as you run the risk of looking a bit desperate, which isn’t exactly the persona most hiring managers seek.

So, is Facebook useless for your job hunt? Absolutely not! Networking is the #1 way people find jobs, and, contrary to popular belief, not all of those networking connections are the result of “close connections” – such as your brother-in-law hiring your next-door neighbor. In reality, making connections in a variety of settings will help propel your search.

In fact, the New York Times recently published an article, The Brave New World of Digital Intimacy, which emphasizes the importance of expanding your network beyond your immediate circle:

This rapid growth of weak ties can be a very good thing. Sociologists have long found that “weak ties” greatly expand your ability to solve problems. For example, if you’re looking for a job and ask your friends, they won’t be much help; they’re too similar to you, and thus probably won’t have any leads that you don’t already have yourself. Remote acquaintances will be much more useful, because they’re farther afield, yet still socially intimate enough to want to help you out.

This idea is also proven in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, an excellent read for those interested in being connected!

Facebook offers many opportunities for connecting and expanding your network. Phil Rosenberg recently suggested the following ideas to use Facebook groups to expand your network:

Post the right message:
Commenting and posting links to industry articles in the spirit of sharing shows you as a giver and an expert at the same time. Make sure that the article or message is relevant to the group.

Start the conversation:
Brag. If you’re creative, write about successful projects you’ve been involved in (you may not be able to include the company name if you can’t disclose). Again, this is sharing with the audience, and is both appreciated, and demonstrates your expertise.

Continue the conversation:
Comment on posts that others have started. Include more ideas than just “I agree”.

Include links:
Sign your post or comment with your signature block with live links to your Facebook, LinkedIN, personal Blog, personal webpage, etc. Why? Links get you Google and Yahoo rankings.

So, while you may not be a 20-something willing to advertise your job hunt, don’t discount Facebook as a place to propel your job search!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help with your hunt? We can help you get your job hunt in gear! Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.


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