Networking Tips to Help Your Job Search

Networking Tips to Help Your Job Search

Networking – if you are a new job seeker it might surprise you to learn that 60% networkingof jobs are never advertised.  That means that most vacancies are filled by word of mouth. There are filled through networking.

Why are so few vacancies advertised?

Advertising costs a lot of money.  And then it takes a lot of time to sort through application forms and CVs and even more resource to interview candidates. All this can be avoided by promoting from within the organisation or by employing people who are known to them. Some organisations actively encourage their staff to refer friends with suitable skills and most are happy to receive introductions to, or approaches from, good people.

How do I begin?

Most people are anxious about networking if they’ve never done it before. Taking an organised approach and working to your plan can help you feel more confident.

Steps to networking!

  1. Make a list of the people you know – including the sector they work in and who they might know.
  2. Look out for contacts and networks that relate to your own sector – check out industry conferences, events and forums.
  3. Exploit the possibilities of social networking. Join business networking sites such as LinkedIn. Look for relevant groups and organisations on social networking sites including Facebook. You could consider establishing your own networking group on LinkedIn or Facebook.
  4. Plan your approach. Have a clear idea of who you want to talk to or make contact with at events and online. Think about why you are interested in the organisation and why you’re approaching them.
  5. Do your homework. When approaching an individual or organisation try to research what they do. LinkedIn and Facebook are great tools for researching people. Get to understand their culture and the language of the sector they work in.
  6. Focus on what you can offer. Before setting up a networking meeting, think about what you can do for them. Could you suggest a contact that might help their business or offer to help out with a busy project they are involved in? Do you have specialist advice to offer?
  7. Tailor your communication. Don’t send out the same version of your speculative application letter or CV to all organisations. Make sure they are tailored to the organisation and show how your skills are relevant.
  8. Keep records.  Keep an excel spreadsheet or a notebook listing contacts,to whom you’ve spoken or written.  And include their contact details and their position as well as how you are going to follow up. This record can be invaluable if your contacts get in touch at a later date.
  9. Be yourself. The most important parts of networking are to be yourself and to treat other people with courtesy and respect. You don’t have to have overwhelming confidence – just remember other people at networking events may be feeling just like you. Show a real interest in other people and start a conversation, and then follow up; you will become a good net-worker and it will pay dividends.
  10. Remember, networking is 60% about giving (your time, interest and energy) and only 40% about getting

If you need support in developing the confidence to network please get in touch.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Communication; what matters most!

Communication; what matters most!

Communication – what do you think matters most in your conversations with communicationothers? Are  your words clear? Is your tone authentic? What about body language? Do you show you like them? Yes, it all matters. But what is the balance between these different elements?

Are you like me? Have you spent many happy hours at seminars and training courses where the 3V (Verbal, Vocal, Visual) rule was quoted. And, you were told that words count for 10% or less of any face to face conversation! Well, guess what, that isn’t always true! No, it isn’t even what the 3V rule actually says!

The rule is based on the work of Professor Albert Mehrabian who carried out two studies in the 1960s.  Those studies were about feelings and communicating emotion. He found that our liking for the person who was communicating their feelings to us consisted of 7% Verbal Liking , 36% Vocal Liking and 55% Facial (Visual) Liking. In other words, if you want someone to like you then make sure your words are consistent with your tone, keep your eye contact but make sure your smile.

7% Verbal, 36% Vocal and 55% Visual was such a simple concept. And, it was so easy to articulate. That meant it drifted into communications’ theology and became received wisdom!

In reality, other studies have been quite inconsistent!  And the balance between the 3Vs varies in context.  For example, it is fairly obvious that if you are giving a lecture on a technical subject your words, and the precise way you use them, becomes rather more important than whether you smile.

Communication; but smiling does help!

All communication is a two-way process and people are more likely to listen to you if they like you!

So, if you want to get your message across, you can’t ignore Professor Mehrabian’s work on conveying genuine emotion and his 3Vs.

In one to one encounters, show genuine interest in the other person and listen closely to what they say. Smile, be warm, enthusiastic and responsive. And show you care about your subject, nothing is more attractive! But don’t overwhelm them and don’t fake it!

Find something to like in your audience!  So, work on finding out about them. If you work hard enough, you are very likely to find something to like.

Professor Mehrabian’s findings may not be what we first thought they were. But they are still enormously valuable. You can find his website at this link.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

 

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your personal brand checklist will ensure the world sees you as you wish. It will help you reflect your personal brand in all you do. Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the you are seen! Here is your personal brand checklist.

personal brand checklist
Your checklist
  1. Are you sure people believe you know what you are talking about? First of all, does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date? Do the words you use at work reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time? Do you write articles and blog posts on your specialist interest?

What about your “elevator speech”?

2. Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers? Can you say your piece within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say? Can you influence people? Why not do a market survey? So, you could choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  Why not, read a book about it, take a class or work with a coach like me.

4. Do you dress for the job at work? Because you do need to know the dress code for your sector? And you would be wise to follow it for success. But what about off duty? If you met you boss in the supermarket, what impression would they get? Think about what is appropriate to the situation. And balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

Do you know how to behave at work?

5. By that I mean the etiquette for your organisation and your sector? What kind of business cards do people carry? Most of all, always be courteous. Therefore, always be the one who follows up and says thank you after a kind deed. Remember to do it after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress? Take time out to build your address book. Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly! When you have built your relationship, ask contacts for further introductions. Use LinkedIn to find new people.

How often do you nurture your network?

7. Are you working at nurturing your relationships with your contacts? Most of all, are you showing an active interest and do you genuinely care care about them? Ask how they are and what they are doing. But make sure you mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time? Do you give something back to the community with voluntary work? Or perhaps you help your local sports club? You don’t need to brag about it; news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious. It’s the you the world sees and judges by. Nurture your brand and you will nurture both your life and your career.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Danger – Spontaneity Ahead! Why You Need a Communications Strategy for Social Media.

We live in a complex but highly networked world!

Never before have so many people had the ability to communicate cheaply with each other, and the rest of the world, at length!

  • You can broadcast and you can have conversations through networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc and through messaging services!
  • You  can publish and broadcast if you choose through blogs, and through sites like YouTube.
  • You can produce your own radio programmes and even become a DJ through music sites like Blip.fm sitting at home and on the move!
  • Increasingly LinkedIn is a key tool in professional networking and recruitment.

A little while ago this digital world belonged to techies and school kids.  Now it can belong to all of us.

Increasingly, it will play a role in both career and business survival.  A little while ago all you needed to know was how to surf the net to find and download information. Now you need to know how to put it back up there so that you can control and develop your personal brand.

Messages flow fast!  Once you have sent them, they continue to exist on the web for a very long time.  So to be purely spontaneous is to take a risk. If you are in business or hoping to develop your career, you need a strategy for your communications.

Before you start here are a few tips.

1. Integrate online and offline.

Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your offline and online activities!

If you meet up with contacts you have made on the web, will they know who you are? No, I’m not talking about having a photo that bears some relationship to how you look today.  (Although, it makes sense to choose a flattering photo that does you justice, have a care if you want to avoid embarrassment)

What I’m talking about is authenticity and integrity.  Don’t express views on line that you don’t really hold, or that you wouldn’t be prepared to express in public, to your boss, your work mates, your neighbours and, of course, your customers! You’d be surprised what people remember and what people find on the web!

2. Start with a plan!

Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan!  Think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you, your business or your career and what you do?

List them and then decide how important they are and how much influence they have over your future!  What heading will you put them under?  For example;

  • government
  • your sector
  • customers and potential customers
  • shareholders
  • potential business partners
  • board/top management
  • suppliers  and potential new suppliers,
  • managers,
  • staff,
  • trade unions
  • wider sector interests,
  • personal contacts
  • family,
  • your community
  • interest groups

You can take it as far as you wish!

Who has the priority?  You can score them out of five under each heading!

Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on.

For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?

Now how will you engage and what will that  engagement  look like?

What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.?

How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available? Do you have resources available to take professional advice?

3. Engage in Conversations.

Remember although organisations use social media to broadcast, that isn’t how they are best used.

When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the offline world.

Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  And on social media sites people get put off pretty quickly. You’d be surprised how quickly they can switch you off!

Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or your business at first!  You have to give, to get.  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  You need to win the right to pitch!

The courtesies are just as important as they are in the off line world!  Say please and thank you and acknowledge when someone has bothered to spend time with you or done you a favour!

If you are polite and engage in real conversations, relationships will begin to form.  You will see opportunities open up to talk about you and what you want to offer!

4. Monitor your “Brand”

Use tools like Google Alerts, and Yahoo Alerts to monitor what’s being said about you, your organisation, others in your sector and the market you are targeting.

Knowing what is being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your impact. Knowing what’s being said about your sector, your competitors and your market can also make you more competitive.

I use Google Alerts as well to find out about the latest developments in my professional discipline.

But simply putting your name and the name of your organisation into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise

There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it is easy to be distracted.

I have to work very hard each morning to switch off from Twitter to concentrate on my in-tray! This is where your plan comes in!  Remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.

Stick to the plan!

But review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of, as you gain experience and knowledge.

Streamlining saves time – as I’ve hinted above, social media is so enjoyable that  it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember: “If content is king, then conversation is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka.

I would love to hear about your own experience of social media and if you need any help please get in touch!

A shorter version of this post was posted here in June 2009.  I’ve revised and expanded it based on my own experience of social media.

  • Why Use LinkedIn? (brighthub.com)
  • 5 tips to build your personal brand with social media (xpressartuk.wordpress.com)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439


What is it with Networking? How should I make those vital connections?

How many times have you heard the expression ‘It’s not what you know but who you know that counts!”?  Or perhaps you have heard references to the ‘Old Boy’s network’! Such a network is often blamed for an apparent high proportion of former pupils of public schools (usually male) in high status positions in government, business, and the professions. Networking has a long and somewhat chequered history.

I suppose for many of us in business, we can look back to the trade guilds for our inspiration and, of course, most of us have our professional and trade associations.  Networking has clearly stood the test of time!

At the moment there are a number of well publicised business networking organizations that create models of networking activity that allow the people to build new business relationships.  They are supposed to generate business opportunities at the same time.  So why, oh why, do I feel so uncomfortable when attending what are advertised as networking events.  I’ve thought about the issues and what would work for me and here are the rules I’m going to set myself in the future.

  1. Values – I will be true to myself and not behave at networking events differently to how I behave in the rest of my life.  I will be my usual pleasant self but I will not become an over- ebullient superwoman with a constant and somewhat inane smile on my face!  I will value the people I meet and listen to them, rather than simply seeking an opportunity to promote myself!
  2. Volume – I will attend fewer events that are focussed in my areas of interest.  I will work hard to contribute to them instead of ‘doing the rounds’ like a coach tripper ‘doing’ Europe in ten days – ‘Oh dear is it Venice today or did they say Vienna?’
  3. First View – Most people know by now that first impressions are very hard to undo!  I will show up looking as good as I can.  I usually turn up for work and social events that way anyway, so nothing too challenging there then.  Oh yes, in future, I will trot to the washroom when I arrive to check that the hair is still in place and that I don’t have froth, from the coffee I grabbed on the journey,  still on my bottom lip!
  4. 4. Verify/Research – I will do my best to research the event and who is likely to attend!  If I know who is going I can work out who I would like to meet.  This will save my feet and other people’s time! Meeting one or two like minded people is likely to be far more use than exchanging business cards like confetti and never following up – see below!
  5. Vision not version – I will share who I am and, if it is appropriate, my vision for the future and what I want to deliver.  I will not simply roll out a version of an advert for my services.  If I think I can add value, then I will say so!
  6. Vital – I will follow up! There is no point in spending time at networking events if you don’t actually follow up.  An entry in your contacts database is of limited use!  You need to reinforce your first meeting with something more substantial as a follow up.  Send the contact details you mentioned!  Find that book you referred to on Amazon and send the link.  If nothing else, send a thank-you note for their time and the interesting conversation.  Otherwise you are in danger of just becoming another name in what is probably a very long list!

So I am going to make a fresh start!  I shall be out there following valiantly my list above.  I hope I meet you on my travels in where was it?  Vienna, Venice, Oh Dear!

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Thank you for your interest

WHY YOU NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!

If you had any doubts about the value and potential of  using social media, check out 30 Interesting, Useless and Pointless Facts on Jeff Bulla’s blog at the following link!  Don’t be put off by the title!

You begin to understand why you can’t afford not to know to about Social Media whether you are in the public, private or community sectors!

Here is just one example and three facts!

Generation Y awareness of the Ford Fiesta before Ford started their social media program was 0%. It was 37% as of a month ago and stands at 58% at 3 December 2009.

25% of Ford’s marketing spend is on digital/social media!

Ford is the only US Auto company not to take a government grand!

Now you begin to see the possibilities now that using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook may bring?  We have some tips for developing a Social Media Strategy at this link

Social Media for Leaders White Paper Available from Mountain State University

Article form the Mountain State University Website – 17th November 2009

“Social Media for Leaders White Paper Available Today

We are pleased to present our new white paper, Social Media for Leaders. It is available for free download here or as a permanent feature on the sidebar on the top left of this blog. Here at Mountain State University, we believe that involvement with social media is a powerful way for leaders to extend their influence and impact. We hope this tool will help you as you navigate various social networks and learn to use social media effectively. Please feel free to share it with others. You might also enjoy our other white paper, Twitter for Beginners….”

More of this article at this link

FIVE TIPS FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY FOR HARD TIMES

We are all going through change all the time.  But at the moment many of us are going through changes we would not have chosen as a result of the poor state of the Economy.

All change requires some form of communications/media management.  It’s vital that you have a strategy in place especially if you’re hoping that social media will play a role in your career advancement or your business survival business.

Here are 5 tip for your social media strategy

1. Integrate Online and Offline
Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your off line and and online activities (see our recent post about managing your brand)  – you want to maximise both forms of interactions.  You are going to make every effort, campaign, and initiative count.

2. Start with a plan
Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan – think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you or your business and what you want to provide.  List them and then decide – how important they are  – how much influence they have over your future – you can score them out of five under each heading!  Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on. For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?  Now what will  engagement will look like? What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook etc.?  How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available?  Now we are going to concentrate on social media

3. Engage in Conversations
When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the off-line world.  Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or business at first,!  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  When you have done that opportunities will open up to talk about you and your business.  You need to win the right to pitch!

4. Monitor your Brand
Use tools like Google Alerts, Scoutlab, and Radian6 to monitor what’s being said about you, your company, your competitors and the market you are targeting. Knowing what’s being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your brand evangelists as well as your brand assassins. Knowing what’s being said about your competitors and the market can also make you more competitive. Simply putting your name and the name of your company into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise
There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it easy to be distracted.  This is where your plan comes in – remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.  Stick to the plan – but review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of. It also saves time – social media is so enjoyable to use it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember –  “If content is king, then conversationion is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka

LESSONS IN PERSONAL BRANDING

Increasingly you are judged on your contributions to the web – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs etc.  You will gain an online persona – your personal brand – whether you want to or not.  This can affect large parts of your life and certainly gaining business and work opportunities.  Your personal brand really does matter and you can develop it as you wish!  If you make a positive effort it can make a major contribution to your success.

Benjamin Yoskovitz. is the CEO & co-Founder of Standout Jobs, a venture-backed startup founded in 2007. He is also a blog and social media consultant.  He has been an entrepreneur for 10+ years in the Web space, working extensively in web & software development. He is obsessed with creating things  and with customer service. The piece below is from his blog to which there is a link at the bottom. These are his thoughts, not mine, but I would love to hear what you think!

“ Personal Branding Lessons

Looking back, here are some thoughts from my own experiences building my personal brand:

  1. It’s never too late to start. In some respects I think it’s easier to start making a concerted effort to build and cultivate your personal brand once you’re older and you have a few years working experience. You know more, you’re more comfortable in your shoes, and you have some experience to rely on. There are still too many examples of young people screwing up in public (on Facebook or Twitter) and getting in trouble for it (although there aren’t that many examples, they’re just blown out of proportion.
  2. You know more than you realize. A lot of people seem afraid to speak up publicly and promote themselves because they don’t feel like they have anything to say. You’d be surprised what you know.
  3. What you know is valuable. And what you know is likely valuable to a bunch of people, even if you don’t realize it. As they say, Common sense isn’t all that common. Just think of the college graduate coming up after you into your field of expertise, and the difference between where that person is at and where you’re at…
  4. Connecting online is easier than you think. I was amazed at how easily I could connect online with people. I still remember some of those early connections – Liz Strauss, Becky McCray, Chris Cree, Mike Sansone, Terry Starbucker and so many more. It was easy to find people online (who shared my interests), get myself involved, and build out a valuable network.
  5. It takes time and commitment. Building your personal brand isn’t something you do once in awhile when you’re bored. It takes time and commitment, and it never stops. And doing it half-ass won’t get you anywhere.
  6. It’s fun. I’ve always enjoyed building my personal brand, and the activities that are involved with that online – blogging, connecting, helping others, asking for help. It’s a process you have to enjoy otherwise you won’t do it properly and invest the right time. Plus, there is a feedback loop – as you gain valuable connections, leads (for jobs or business), comments on your blog, etc. you’ll realize that all of that is worthwhile feedback on your efforts. And that’s motivating.
  7. Watch. Learn. Emulate. Do your own thing. Starting the process of building your personal brand doesn’t involve years of research or anything that hasn’t been done before. As Dan’s book proves – there are models for making this stuff work. I remember spending a good amount of time watching and learning, and then emulating what others were doing. It was natural to copy what seemed to be working. But over time you branch out, do your own thing, experiment and your own personality, brand, value emerges.
  8. Your personal brand will (and should) evolve. Don’t think of your personal brand as a static item. It’s not a resume that you submit once and forget about; it’s a living, breathing thing. It changes and evolves, just as you do. That’s OK and expected.

Personal branding works. I’m a perfect use case for it. And certainly not the only one! But ultimately, I’m convinced that building a strong personal brand can absolutely help in career success (be it finding a new job, moving up within your organization, changing careers, etc.) and in many cases is a necessity.”

Read more: “The Importance of Personal Branding” – http://www.instigatorblog.com/personal-branding-important/2009/04/15/#ixzz0DxJbbzQW&A