Monday, April 27, 2015

Networking 101: It Isn’t About You!

Networking is already a difficult task for jobseekers and those merely wanting to stay connected to their network while already employed.  Finding networking events, asking the right questions, introducing yourself to someone new, exchanging business cards, and following up can be downright daunting.  Today, I would like to discuss a way to take some of the pressure out of networking:  remember it isn’t about you! 

We tend to look at networking as that opportunity to meet, hopefully impress, and ultimately get something from engaging a new contact.  I am here to say that is too much pressure, and not the way to look at your interactions, and that instead you should always network with the intent of helping the other person.  By taking the burden off of yourself to “perform” and as an alternative learning how you can help others, you will reap better quality contacts, individuals will be more likely to help you, and you will appreciate or even enjoy networking to a much greater extent. 

When having a conversation with a potential contact, ask questions that help you discover more about them and what they are wanting from the interaction.  Those questions can include:

--What brought you here today?
--Where do you (or did you) work?
--What do you like most about your current job (or recent job)?
--What does your job entail?  (This is a much better question then just asking “what do you do?”)
--Are you working on any interesting projects?
--How long have you been in your current field?

Now you can discern important information to offer some help.  Are they looking for a job – perhaps you can tell them of a company that is hiring in their field?   Are they new to LinkedIn – perhaps you can tell them about how to use the tool more effectively in a job search or for overall career management?  Are they new to the area – perhaps you can tell them more about the companies and industries in your city? 

When you help others, they tend to return the favor, but if they don’t you haven’t lost anything, just move on to another person.  Try this approach and you will find yourself less stressed about networking in general, and people will very likely offer you some important referrals and leads that can help your career.  To your job search and career management success!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Do You Need A Resume If You Have A LinkedIn Profile? Yes!

Having been a Career Counselor for 20+ years, I’ve heard a lot of comments that the resume is dead, and yet it is still here and just as necessary as ever.  Recently jobseekers are asking if they need a resume when they already have a LinkedIn profile – and the answer I give them – an unequivocal yes!  While LinkedIn is exceptionally important from both a job search and career management standpoint, in order to develop a quality profile that encourages the reader to ask for your resume, you still need to write a resume. 

LinkedIn was never intended to be your resume, it was meant to entice a reader to find out more about you.  Putting your entire resume on LinkedIn can in fact overwhelm the reader, and you may lose them before you ever get a chance to exchange an email.  Possessing a great resume gives you the option to pick and choose what you put in your LinkedIn profile.  Furthermore, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), interviewers, recruiters, and sometimes networking contacts desire a copy of your resume, not just your LinkedIn profile. 

I advise my clients to do both, and use them both as intended.  No, the resume isn’t dead, nor will it be anytime soon, but will continue to morph with the times and adapt to technology, and be used to enhance both your personal brand/social media presence and your overall job search or career management marketing strategy.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quote of the Week!

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.” –Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quote of the Week!

Never continue in a job you don't enjoy.  If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace.  And if you have that along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could have possibly imagined.

Johnny Carson, 1925-2005

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Keeping Track of Your Job Search

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment of getting a call from a potential employer, and you didn't remember applying to the company?  This is actually a very commonplace issue.  Up to 60% of companies either start interviewing or finally fill their job requisition three months of more after first posting it online.  Why you say?  It's a simple matter of money and/or time.  First, if a company waits longer to fill a position, they save thousands of dollars for those months the requisition remains open.  Second, if they are inundated with work already, it often takes that long to do resume review, phone interviews, in person interviews, second interviews, make a decision, send the offer letter, and get the new employee on board.
As a jobseeker, you need a simple way of tracking your applications, and I recommend keeping a Job Search Notebook.  Any three ring binder you have around your house with sufficient room for lots of papers will do!  With this handy little tool you can keep track of the following:
--Each company/organization you applied to and a copy of their job advertisement.
--The tailored/personalized resume and cover letter you used to apply - please take this version to the interview, not a generic version (or worse yet, one with another company's information). 
--Date of application OR date of handoff/email of resume to a networking contact or recruiter for forwarding to HR or another company contact.
--Date of application confirmation.
--Company research (never apply to a company you haven't researched, this way you can give a complete answer to the question:  "tell us what you know about our organization?")
--Communications from the company (still in consideration, rejection email/letter, additional questions).
--Date of phone interview.
--Notes from the phone interview.
--Date of in-person interview.
--Notes from the in-person interview.
--Thank you note written to the interviewers.
--Follow up information.
--Contact information, including names, email addresses, and phone numbers.
Now, when you get that call two, three, or even four months after applying, there is ample documentation for you to refer to, and refresh your memory for, a good phone or in-person interview.   Try the Job Search Notebook idea, as it will keep you organized, and avoid the embarrassment that comes with not remembering where you applied.  To your job search success!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

37th Annual St. Patrick's Day Road Race

In March, I participated in the 37th annual St. Patrick's Day Road Race in Manhattan, Kansas.  This walk and/or run is the largest and oldest in Manhattan, Kansas, and benefits the Special Olympics.  For the last several years there were over 1,500+ participants at each road race, and this year they added a timing chip from Manhattan Running Company which gave everyone our results both at kiosks available onsite and through social media apps.  There are even awards and door prizes for the participants.  Additionally, Aggieville merchants organize and sponsor the St. Patty's Day Parade following the event.  A family can make an entire day of the festivities. 
I would suggest, give the run or walk a try next year if you are close to Manhattan, Kansas.  It's available to all age groups, and each participant receives a St. Pat's Road Race t-shirt and a post race BBQ!  Go to and take a look at race offerings either in Manhattan, Kansas, or in your area, and help a worthy local organization.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Career Management Tip

Many companies/organizations offer a variety of professional development courses to their employees, including computer applications, leadership, management, sales, marketing, industry-related compliance, and business communications.  Companies may also send employees to regional and national conferences for additional education frequently in the form of breakout sessions.  Often, employees don't take advantage of these seminars and workshops and lose out on the benefits to their career.  Whether looking for a promotion at your current workplace, a better performance review, or wanting to move to another company, employers value employees that continually develop their skills through ongoing training.  
Take advantage of the learning opportunities your company provides, or seek out the many low cost or even free, quality professional development opportunities available to you online and at local community colleges and organizations. Additionally, keep track of the training you take, including name of course, and date (year or month/year) so you can add it to your resume.  As your knowledge grows, so will your career!