Tag Archives: career networking

No one said networking is easy; be smart and make the effort

I read an entry on the Personal Branding Blog  which stated, “According to ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking.” This percentage of networkers represents smart jobseekers who understand that looking for and finding work takes…work.

They understand that personal networking coupled with online networking will yield better results than spending the majority of their time on Monster.com, Indeed.com, Dice.com, CareerBuilder.com, and other job boards.

Smart jobseekers attend networking events consisting of jobseekers, business owners, professional associations, meet-ups, etc. However, networking events are not smart jobseekers’ only, or even major, source of networking. They also utilize their rich network of former colleagues, friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and others; or start the building process…and keep it going once they’ve landed a job.

Experts like Martin Yate, Knock ‘em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World,  will tell you that companies want to promote from within first; only when there are no appropriate internal candidates will they rely on referrals from employees (who get a bonus for a successful  hire) and people who will approach them through informational meetings. The latter category of jobseekers (you) have the benefit of getting known before the job is “officially posted.”

“…employees who come to the company ‘known by us’ in some way are seen to be better hires and thought to get up to speed more quickly and stay with the company longer,” he writes. And this includes you. This is where relentless networking comes in, whether you contact someone at a company so they can get your résumé to a hiring manager, or you contact a hiring manager in your desired department to set up a “meeting.”

Pam Lassiter, The New Job Security, understands that networking can be daunting, particularly for Introvert types, but encourages jobseekers to do it, “Using your networking wisely is a muscle you can exercise and develop if you haven’t already. Outplacement and alumni career services surveys report that 65 to 85 percent of jobseekers find their jobs through networking….”

Some jobseekers misunderstand the purpose of networking. They think it’s all about them. They constantly ask without giving, which is the quickest way to drive away potential allies. People who have the true networking mindset realize that they should first help others, before thinking of themselves.

The bottom line is helping other jobseekers will help you. Paying it forward increases your odds of landing a job. And, there are plenty of great networkers who will help you, as they realize they’ll eventually get help from others. They are patient and determined.

Here’s what one of my customers, who recently got a job, told me about proper networking: “Have a conversation with people [as opposed to] giving them a 30 second commercial.  It’s not about “I need a job.”  Have a really good conversations with a few people at an event and listen to what their needs are.   Think of how you can really connect with them and support them vs. just getting a business card.

Networking only makes sense, so I’m perplexed as to why some jobseekers don’t embrace it. I know that personal networking means going outside one’s comfort zone, particularly if you’re an Introvert (as an Introvert, I know the feeling). Developing the attitude that “I just have to do it” will help you over the hump.

A story of paying it forward

salvation armyRecently I stood in the cold, relentless air in front of Market Basket in Lowell ringing bells for the Salvation Army. It was a great feeling seeing customers, who probably didn’t have a lot of money to spend, stuffing a dollar or whatever change they could manage into the slot atop the red bucket.

All the while my feet and fingers were freezing, but that didn’t matter because the spirit of Christmas was in the air. I started ringing the bells at 9:00 am and business didn’t start picking up until 10:00 am. I didn’t start feeling my feet until 11:00 am, the end of my shift.

I have one person to thank for giving me the opportunity to ring the bells for the Salvation Army, a person who personifies “paying it forward,” Kevin Willett.

I talk about the concept “paying it forward” in a career networking workshop and there seems to be some confusion among the crowd, so to simplify the concept I tell my attendees that the act of helping others creates good Karma. Further I tell them they should not expect the person you help to immediately repay the favor, because another person will step forward to help you. In fact, you may never receive reciprocation from the person you assisted.

Kevin who is the founder of Friends of Kevin, a business networking group, embraces the term “paying it forward” every Christmas season when he gathers his army of friends to ring the bells. When I asked him why he volunteers endless hours to organize this event and ring the bells himself, he told me he was once a recipient of the Salvation Army’s aid to people in need.

Kevin’s generosity extends beyond ringing the bells. His networking group not only helps businesses network, a few jobseekers are allowed to attend the meetings and deliver their elevator speeches. The goal is to expose jobseekers to business people who might have jobs to offer or know of companies that do. Kevin is a connector in the truest sense—he connects people to charities, and he connects business people to jobseekers.

Kevin spoke last year at our urban career center to a sold-out group of jobseekers eager to learn how to network. His presentation was a hit, and he made it clear that networking is a two-way street; you help someone and get help in return.

There are no hard statistics on how successful paying it forward is. Smart jobseekers simply understand that it makes common sense. It makes common sense because as you’re helping someone, another person is in the process of helping you. I’m convinced that the jobseekers who believe in paying it forward will receive the help they need. How do I know? Just ask Kevin Willett.


Professional networking: The one that got away

Guest Contributor Beth Cohen Moore.

When it comes to networking for my career, I guess you could say I’m a lot like most people. The thought of entering a room full of a whole bunch of people I don’t know and trying to sell myself appeals to me just about as much as throwing myself out of an airplane. Yet, I know that as a jobseeker, sitting behind a computer and pitching my resume into the black hole isn’t going to get me the job I want.

So recently, on the advice of my incredibly patient career coach, I recently found an appropriate group in my job search geography and attended a lunch and learn networking event with other professionals in my field. This was scary stuff, people!
In preparation for this event, I printed up my business cards, (thank you Tim’s Strategy and Tiny Prints), committed my elevator speech to memory, put on my best business suit and headed off to my first foray into face-to-face professional networking.

Do you know what? I had fun! I met a lot of really amazing, talented people. They welcomed me into their group and I found myself talking very easily about who I am and what I do. Most of the people I met were employed, but we had common ground – years of experience in our field – and this made connecting surprisingly easy.

As I chatted with those around me and exchanged business cards (believe it or not, this came very naturally), I noticed a young woman sitting nearby who was not engaging with anyone. She had that look on her face – you know the one. It’s that “Oh my God, what the hell am I doing here?” look. Mustering up all my courage I approached her and introduced myself.

Turns out she was newly unemployed and looking. And as it so happens, though we work in a different category of consumer products, our areas of expertise were quite similar. She had solid online marketing experience in the fashion industry with some very large brands. I instantly knew that I could be of some help to her in her job search through my connections to several recruiters who work in fashion and apparel.

Our afternoon speaker was about to start his presentation, so I handed her my business card (which of course has my LinkedIn address on it) and told her to contact me. I waited momentarily for her card and then realized she has come to this event without one. No way to contact her! I felt truly disappointed. However, as I found a seat I took comfort in the fact that this young woman said that she would make contact with me … and I believed her.

Weeks have now gone by since my inaugural networking event and I haven’t heard a word from my new job seeker friend. During this time, through my own job search, I have engaged with numerous recruiters who are looking for online marketing expertise in her field. I feel so frustrated. I have no way to find this young woman. I have no way to help her!

I think one of the reasons so many of us job seekers hesitate to attend face to face networking events is that we find it hard to ask for something – especially from strangers. We inherently believe that to be in need is seen as weakness in our (business) culture. But in feeling this way, we are making some huge assumptions about the people around us that aren’t necessarily true.

And something important has finally dawned on me.

As a talented candidate looking for work in this economy, when we show up unprepared, when we are afraid to ask, we are not only depriving ourselves of an opportunity, but we are actually depriving other people of the ability to help us! And we do this unintentionally!

I feel frustrated about being unable to fulfill my purpose as a professional networker to help this woman – the one who “got away.”

But I’ve learned a tremendous lesson in the nature of reciprocity. Give and get. It’s part of life – and it’s an important part of career networking.

What about you? Have you done everything you can to make it easy for people to help you in your search? Is it hard for you to ask for help from others as you look for a job? Why?


Guest Expert:

Beth Cohen Moore is a cross channel marketer who currently serves as Marketing Communications and Community Manager for CPGjobs. She is the Co-founder of Traxee.com, an online community for women runners and regularly blogs about technology, social media, career, job search and women’s health and physical fitness. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @bethcohenmoore.

80% can’t be wrong: Network

I read an entry on the Personal Branding Blog  which stated, “According to ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking.” This percentage of networkers represents smart jobseekers who understand that looking for and finding work takes…work.

They understand that personal networking coupled with online networking will yield better results than spending the majority of their time on Monster.com, Indeed.com, Dice.com, CareerBuilder.com, and other job boards.

Smart jobseekers attend networking events consisting of jobseekers, business owners, professional associations, meet-ups, etc. However, networking events are not smart jobseekers’ only, or even major, source of networking. They also utilize their rich network of former colleagues, friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and others; or start the building process…and keep it going once they’ve landed a job.

Experts like Martin Yate, Knock ‘em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World,  will tell you that companies want to hire from within first; only when there are no appropriate internal candidates will they rely on referrals from employees (who get a bonus for a successful  hire) and people who will approach them through informational meetings. The latter category of jobseekers (you) have the benefit of getting known before the job is “officially posted.”

“…employees who come to the company ‘known by us’ in some way are seen to be better hires and thought to get up to speed more quickly and stay with the company longer,” Martin writesAnd this includes you. This is where relentless networking comes in, whether you contact someone at a company so they can get your résumé to a hiring manager, or you contact a hiring manager in your desired department to set up a meeting.

Pam Lassiter, The New Job Security, understands that networking can be daunting, particularly for Introvert types, but encourages jobseekers to do it, “Using your networking wisely is a muscle you can exercise and develop if you haven’t already. Outplacement and alumni career services surveys report that 65 to 85 percent of jobseekers find their jobs through networking….”

Some jobseekers misunderstand the purpose of networking. They think it’s all about them. They constantly ask without giving, which is the quickest way to drive away potential allies. People who have the true networking mindset realize that they should first help others, before thinking of themselves.

The bottom line is that helping other jobseekers will help you. Paying it forward increases your odds of landing a job. And, there are plenty of great networkers who will help you, as they realize they’ll eventually get help from others. They are patient and determined.

Here’s what one of my customers, who recently got a job, told me about proper networking: “Have a conversation with people [as opposed to] giving them a 30 second commercial.  It’s not about “I need a job.”  Have a really good conversations with a few people at an event and listen to what their needs are.   Think of how you can really connect with them and support them vs. just getting a business card.

Networking only makes sense, so I’m perplexed as to why some jobseekers don’t embrace it. I know that personal networking means going outside one’s comfort zone, particularly if you’re an Introvert (as an Introvert, I know the feeling). Developing the attitude that “I just have to do it” will help you over the hump.

A Heart-Warming Story

A blog entry from Martin Yate called Put Joy in Your Life is touching and on the surface seems to have nothing to do with the job search.

But putting aside the fact that Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world, is playing merely for fun, let’s stretch our imagination and envision some analogy to the job search.

Maybe a lesson about being unsuccessful because of poor marketing and the inability to sell oneself. Joshua only made a handful of money.

“After 45 minutes of continuous playing: Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32,” writes Martin.

If we thing long and hard, we could think of some way to relate the story to the job search. The inability to understand one’s audience; as in poorly written or verbal communications.

This could be a lesson on being the most qualified person for the job (the guy’s world famous) but not getting it because he’s playing to the wrong audience. Obvious. 

But I’m sure our analysis of the story would trivialize it and probably make a mess of the message Martin is trying to send.

Read the story on Martin’s blog and you may ask, “Why is it posted on Knock ‘Em Dead’s blog?” On the other hand, it may hit you like a brick and make complete sense…it’s just an awesome story about a man having some fun.