Tag Archives: Networking

To lose a job: 9 steps to take to get back on track

There’s a saying in the career development world: “You’re not in my club unless you’ve lost a job.” It’s not a kind saying, but it puts things into perspective. Many people have lost a job or two or even three. No one will ever say, “Losing a job is fun.”

Contemplative Man

To lose a job for any reason can be a blow to one’s self-esteem. Even if you were laid off because the company had to cut costs, usually to offload salary, you might think you failed.

If you were let go for lack of performance or you didn’t see eye-to-eye with your manager, this can be particularly devastating. You may feel that you’re incapable of returning to the productive employee you once were.

The same applies to having to quit under pressure. Your boss was constantly harping on you for small mistakes or accused you of missteps that you know, deep in your heart, were correct actions. But because they’re the boss, they hold the power.

No matter how you wrap your head around what happened, you can’t let go of what went wrong. You lose sight of what you did well. Negative thoughts swim around your mind. People who look at your situation objectively assure you that you weren’t to blame. What can you do to get back on track?

1. Don’t deny your feelings of despondency

Being unable to concentrate on what’s going around you is natural. Your mind circles back to the fact that you’re out of work. You might have been told to hold it in. I believe this applies to only when you’re in public. When alone let it out, but not at the expense of loved ones.

You may be experiencing feelings you’ve never had before: bouts of crying for no apparent reason, short temper with family members and friends; a diminished sex drive; lack of motivation. These feelings, and more, are symptoms of unemployment; you’re not going crazy.

When I was out of work, I tried to recognize the feelings I was experiencing. It wasn’t always easy, but I realized my unemployment was temporary. You should also realize your situation is temporary.

2. Take a hiatus

You’ve heard of the saying, “Get back on the horse.” This is true, but you don’t have to do it immediately. I’ve talked with job seekers who say they’ve taken a week off to regroup, to get their bearings.

While some might believe that you should begin the job search the day after you lost your job, I’m not one of them.

To get back on the horse immediately might be more detrimental than helpful, as your head might be swimming in negative thoughts of self-doubt. Or you might not have the energy you need to succeed. Proper mental health is required to be successful in your job search.

This said, don’t take a “vacation,” as many of my job seekers have. They figure summer is time to vacation, right? Wrong. The best time to look for work can be the summer when many employers are talking with potential employees.

3. Evaluate the situation and be able to explain why you’re out of work

Given three reasons why you are unemployed—you were laid off, let go, or quit—determine which it was and assess the situation. People who possess self-awareness are honest with themselves and with others.

The first reason—being laid off—is easiest to explain. One of my customers said, “I had no choice. The company could no longer afford my salary.”

While this is true, it would be best to go into a little more detail, such as, “We lost two major accounts that I was working on (as a software engineer). While my work was stellar, our accounts decided to pull out.”

The second and third reasons—being let go, or quitting—are a bit harder to explain. These answers must be short while giving an honest description of the situation and, most importantly, explain what you’ve learned from the situation.

One way you might explain being let go is: “My boss and I agreed that I wasn’t a fit for the position, that I lacked some of the skills. I understand the requirements of this job and know I can excel in this position.”

4. Tell people you’re out of work

I tell job seekers there’s no shame in being out of work. And I’m sure they say under their breath, “What would you know?” Plenty. I’ve been out of work myself and came to find out that my feelings of self-doubt were wasted.

In order for others to help you, they need to know you’re looking for work. The people you tell aren’t limited to your former colleagues and supervisors. They should include family, friends, and acquaintances.

Don’t disregard people who live across the country or even the world. Social media allows us to hear of opportunities in various areas of the country. Your brother in New York or San Francisco might hear of position openings close to where you live.

Instead of thinking that you need to go it alone, think that you need the help of others. This speaks to my next suggestion.

5. Be willing to accept help

I find this to be one of the largest roadblocks for many people; they just can’t bring themselves to ask for help. There are two things to remember: one, your job search will be shorter if you have help.

Two, most people like to help those in need. It gives them a sense of fulfillment. Look at it this way, you’re helping others by asking for help. Psychologist assert that helping others gives people a feeling of achievement. As someone out of work, you will experience the same. So pay it forward.

This isn’t to say you should approach everyone in your community and ask, “Do you know of any jobs for me?” To tell people you’re out of work (related to #2) should be enough. For safe measure, however, “ping” people to stay top of mind. An occasional request like, “Please keep your ear to the pavement for me” should suffice.

6. Don’t sleep the day away

You might be halfway through your job search and feel like giving up the fight temporarily. Don’t do it. Stay the course. If you need motivation, have someone check in on you to see how you’re doing. If they catch you in bed, it’s time to get back to the routine.

As difficult it may be, develop a routine. You don’t have to rise at 5:00 am so you can go to the gym before the workday. But getting up every morning at 6:00 am, taking a walk, eating breakfast, and getting out of the house would be much more productive than sleeping until 10:00 am every morning.

You’ll feel much better if you are productive, not if you rise late and watch television. I honestly believe that developing a routine is essential to your mental health and finding a job. Another suggestion is to attend your local One-Stop career center for career-search help.

7. Take action to prepare

As hard as it might be, you will have to focus on four major areas in your job search. My valued connection, Erin Kennedy, outlines what job-search measures to take to update your job search and to begin moving forward. These are steps you will take in the early phase of your job search.

Update your resume Does it convey your message and brand? Is it up-to-date with your current role? Are your most recent accomplishments listed?

Update your LinkedIn profile as well. Do you have a current photo? Have you utilized the new “featured” tool to display projects and achievements?

We are all going through this same challenging time so reach out to your contacts. Check in on them. Set up a Zoom meeting so you can chat face-to-face.

Better yet, invite others as well! This is a great time to deepen your relationships and create new ones. We need each other right now.

How are your interviewing skills? Stuck? Enlist the help of an interview coach, or Google interview questions and practice your answers in front of a mirror (watch your facial expressions). You’ll most likely be interviewed via video or phone.

Get your written–resume and LinkedIn profile–and oral–reaching out to your contacts, practice interviewing online–communications in order. The better you’re prepared, the better you’ll do than your competition when the final rounds of interviews arrive.

8. Practice using video conferencing

To Erin’s fourth point, with the Corona pandemic, we need to be smart about interacting with others. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue to network. We might have to do it in smaller groups via Zoom or other video conferencing platforms.

Using video conferencing and the phone will prepare you better for interviews you’ll have in the near future. This is how companies are conducting interviews today. So, the more prepared you are with the technology, the better you’ll perform.

You probably didn’t think it would come to the point where you’d be going through multiple phases of the interview process participating in video meetings, but this is today’s reality. At least for the time being.

9. Seek professional help

You’ll probably experience many feelings, including anger, fear, self-doubt, etc. If you become consumed with these feelings, it might be best to seek the help of a therapist.

This is not unusual, trust me. I went through a plethora of feelings and, yes, I did talk with a professional. It allowed me to clear my mind.

If it gets to the point where all you can think about is the past and present, and fail to see the future, this can be an indication of depression or stress. It’s worth talking to a therapist when you reach this stage. Most insurance policies cover mental health services.


It’s hard for people who haven’t lost a job to understand how difficult being unemployed can be. It is a loss of self-esteem, a familiar routine, and might be a cause of embarrassment. The above are some simple suggestions to follow.

Those who are in my club of people who have been unemployed at one point can be the best people to speak with. For some of us, it’s not our first rodeo. We have some sage advice to offer. Seek us out. We’re here to help.

Competing in the job search is healthy

The story of John and Amy

John is a marketing manager who was laid off a month ago. He worked at a large cloud software company but was told that their largest client dropped a multi-million dollar contract. So his VP gave him the bad news with tears in her eyes.

Amy is a project manager whose fate was a little more extreme. The new president didn’t think her team was meeting tight deadlines, so he let her go. Amy was devastated and is having a hard time getting her mojo going. She’s been holed up in her house for two weeks.

Compete

The job search begins

John and Amy meet each other at a career center orientation and then later in an advanced résumé writing workshop. John asks Amy if she would like to attend a large networking event in the local area. Reluctantly she agrees; networking has always made her uneasy. They agree to carpool.

To her surprise Amy enjoys the networking event. She is content talking with two or three people at length. John also enjoys the event as he works the room, meeting a large number of people. When they meet up at the end of the event, they agree that they’ll attend the next networking event.

At the next event Amy is the one who shines; she meets two project managers who are empathetic to her plight. One of them was also let go under upsetting conditions. He assures her that being let go isn’t as uncommon as she thinks.

The project managers are also part of a buddy group that meets for lunch before the networking event. They invite her to join. Amy agrees but only if her fellow job seeker, John, can join them. The two project managers say they’d love two new members.

Competition in the job search

The buddy group proves to be just what Amy needs; it’s smaller than the 80-person group that she and John have been attending. John also enjoys the intimacy of the group, even though the large networking group excites him more.

One-on-one networking

During the buddy group, one of the members brags that he’s had phone conversations with four people and is having dinner with two of them the following week. They are key players in the companies for which he’d like to work.

Another member tells a similar story about how he’s having coffee with three people, two of whom work for his desired companies. The members of the group declare him to be the winner of this week of networking.

John and Amy are both confused and ask what the group members are talking about. They’re told there’s a competition for landing as many one-on-one networking meetings with people at your desired companies. The weekly winner’s lunch is on the group.

While driving together to the next networking event, John and Amy talk about having a competition of their own. Because they’re new to the job search, they decide they’ll start with easier job-search techniques. They’re both on LinkedIn, so they’ll start by improving their LinkedIn campaign.

LinkedIn connecting and engaging

Connecting with 15 quality contacts a week is harder than Amy thought it would be. John, on the other hand, has no problem connecting with other marketing managers, MarCom specialists, marketing vice presidents, as well as decision-makers in his target companies.

Amy hasn’t even settled on 10 target companies, whereas John has 20. By the end of their first week of competition, Amy has connected with five project managers and five friends. “Friends don’t count,” John teases. Amy retorts with, “How many posts have you responded to?”

Amy has John there. He has only responded to one post that week. Amy responded to one post a day and has written two of her own. Amy is definitely engaging more than John. “Online is not my thing,” he tells Amy. But he knows he has to engage more if he wants to be top of mind.

John and Amy agree that developing their LinkedIn campaign is a tie. This will be ongoing and just one piece of the job-search plan they’ve devised. They strive to actually meet with potential leads like the two members of the buddy group have.

John has his first one-on-one networking meeting

John receives a direct message from one of his LinkedIn connections. A general manager at one of his target company says in his message that he came across John’s profile and likes John’s marketing experience in a cloud company. He invites John to meet him for drinks 20 miles from where John lives.

Amy hasn’t been as fortunate. With 180 connections, she’s not getting any leverage from LinkedIn. John decides he needs to give Amy some help. He creates an invite template for her that explains her goals to create a network of like-minded people. As a marketing manager, he knows a little about writing copy.

John’s meeting goes well. The person with whom he meets tells him the company is looking for a marketing manager with his experience. He wants John to meet with the VP who is currently in Germany but will return next week. John says he’d love the opportunity.

This week goes to John. Amy gives him this and says she’ll buy him coffee at the next buddy group.

Professional Networking Document

The topic at the next buddy group is Professional Networking Documents. John and Amy are unaware of this networking tool but quickly catch on. One member, a director of engineering, explains the concept.

“Essentially the top half of your document is your résumé,” she explains. “Include a headline and a brief summary of your recent, greatest accomplishments. The second half includes your desired positions, types of companies you’re targeting, as well as the actual companies you’re targeting.”

John is confident he’ll have the edge for the last part of the Professional Networking Document. He already has 20 target companies. Amy realizes she’ll have to work on her target companies. There’s no way she’s going to lose to John two weeks in a row.

When they compare their Professional Networking Documents that week, John is blown away by the 25 target companies Amy has for her document. He’s happy for her but also reminds her that she’ll have to connect with people at the companies she has listed.

She tells him she has sent invites to at least two people at each company. She has already been accepted by at least half of them, thanks to John’s template he devised for her.

Amy connects, really connects

Two weeks after John and Amy have completed their Professional Networking Documents, Amy hears from a manager of project management at one of her target companies. Not her favorite company, but one that is 10 miles from her home and has a reputation for healthy, work-life balance.

Amy arrives at the networking meeting equipped with her Professional Networking Document. She is nervous but the manager of project management comes across as kind and sincere. The conversation flows nicely until he asks her why she left her last job. Amy is not prepared to answer this question.

Somewhat emotional she tells him the long version of the story. Later, on the ride home, she regrets not having an answer prepared for his question. She knows she blew it. In addition, she didn’t even give him her Professional Networking Document.

However, the next day she receives a direct message on LinkedIn. It’s from the gentleman she spoke with the previous night. He writes that the VP of the organization would like to meet with her next week for an interview. Is she available?

A week later

The interview with the VP goes well. He isn’t as personable as the manager of project management and he asks her more technical questions, but she feels more confident. Besides, he doesn’t ask her why she left her last company.

Before she leaves the meeting she asks when she should expect to hear from him. He tells her that the manager of project management will contact her within a week.

The week of the competition goes to Amy. John buys her a coffee before the buddy group meets. While they’re drinking their coffee, Amy expresses doubt about doing well if she’s offered the position. She can do the work, has the skills, but her former president did a real number on her.

A week later

Two hours before the buddy group is to meet, Amy receives a phone call from the manager of project management. He is offering her the position and wants to apologize for the salary, which he anticipates to be 80% of what she previously made. It is. The salary is non-negotiable, he assures her.

But the company can offer her four weeks of vacation, two weeks more than they usually offer new employees. As he’s explaining the vacation time, Amy suddenly says, “Why me? I mean…I didn’t think anyone would ever want me.”

The manager of project management laughs, “I know you’re not broken, Amy. I knew this when we talked. Your sense of self-awareness and passion for what you do won me over. Your explanation of why you left your last job was a bit long, but I get it. I was in your situation once.

And, your friend John contacted me before I reached out to you. He said he’s never met someone as committed as you….I think you owe him coffee this week.”


John lands after six months of being unemployed. He continued to attend networking meetings and eventually became the leader of the buddy group. The two members, who taught Amy and him that competition in the job search is healthy, also landed.

Photo: Flickr, Yeo Kai Wen

9 reasons to feel optimistic while searching for a job

I have the privilege of leading a job club for people I deeply admire. The reason I admire them is because, as the saying goes, they “keep on keeping on.” Sure, they face setbacks and sometimes trudging to our career center in downtown Lowell, Massachusetts, is hard. Nonetheless, they arrive with a friendly smile and warm handshake.

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Recently I led the job club which I’ve done hundreds of times. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I felt unprepared. But minutes before it began, the topic I wanted to address came to mind.

“Optimistic,” I said when they settled down. They looked at me quizzically. “Optimistic,” I repeated. “I want to hear about something that makes you optimistic. It doesn’t have to be about your job search. It can be about something in your life.”

I asked a woman sitting across from me—we sit together as a group, as equals—what makes her feel optimistic. She announced to the group that she is applying for two jobs that she’s stoked about. That’s a start. Another member said he’s lost 20 pounds since being out of work. I told him I was jealous.

Reasons to be optimistic

There are reasons to be optimistic while you’re trying to land your next job. They can be the small things you do that make you feel a sense of achievement.

1. Attend Networking groups

Attending networking groups to find opportunities can make you feel optimistic. Will you come away from every event with leads to pursue? Not always; but if you attend consistently, it will give you a sense of achievement.

2. Begin a healthy routine

I tell my workshop attendees that when I was unemployed I had already been walking 45 minutes a day. I increased my walking to 90 minutes a day. This helped me clear my mind of negative thoughts. Your thing might be going to the gym, doing yoga, meditation. These are all great ways to feel optimistic.

3. Plan to take some time off

You might think this is counterintuitive, as your goal is to conduct a proactive job search. But you deserve a break to recharge your batteries. Go to a museum with your family or friends. Many museums have free events.

If museums aren’t your thing, go to a movie (bring your own snacks) and take the rest of the day off. Feel optimistic that you will resume the job search with vigor.

4. Meet a former colleague for coffee

Tell your former colleague that you’re paying for the coffee in exchange for some information. The information you’re seeking is what you’ve accomplished where you last worked.

You might be too close to your accomplishments to see them. Others might speak to them better. Feel optimistic when you hear about your accomplishments.

5. Celebrate your successes

A great interview is a success. Sending a tailored résumé to a company for your desired job is a success. Informational interview, success. The point is to celebrate the small things you’ve done.

You don’t need to go crazy–maybe a good bottle of wine, a short road trip with family, letting your job club know about your successes. Be optimistic about these small successes.

6. Getting to the second, third, fourth round of the interviews

Look, if you get this far in the process, you’re doing something right. More specifically, you are desired for your skills, accomplishments, experience, and personality. Will you get the job? Hopefully. But if you don’t, be optimistic nonetheless. Think to yourself, “I got further than many other people.”

7. Start a side hustle

You’re a graphic artist. Spread the word that you will design graphics for 3/4 the price companies would have to pay. This is a great reason to feel optimistic. You are creating another stream of revenue that can keep giving once you’ve found your “real” job. This is a great reason to feel optimistic.

8. Be able to conduct your job search

There are times your job search is disrupted. Childcare might be one of those reasons. Your spouse works full-time and you can no longer afford childcare. Lean on a friend to watch your children while you attend a networking event, meet someone for an informational interview, escape to the library to write your résumé. Your job search is important; find a way to make it work.

9. Volunteer

You might not want to work for free; I get that. Think of it this way, you’re volunteering for a good cause. Is an animal shelter your thing? Or volunteering for an organization where you can enhance your skills might be what you want to do.

There are practical reasons to volunteer, such as using this experience as fodder for your résumé, or networking your way to a paying job. Volunteering has proven to be a very effective way to find a job. Besides, it will get you out of your house. Another great way to feel optimistic.


There are other ways to feel optimistic during your job search and many of them don’t have to relate to your search. Every little victory is helping you get to your end goal, as they will give you a sense of achievement.

If you can think of other reasons to feel optimistic, I’d love to add them to this article.

Think like employers: 5 ways they fill positions

And what to do about it.

When I talk to my clients about the hiring process, I’m greeted with mixed reactions. Some of my clients know the drill; perhaps they’ve been through the process, even from the hiring end. Others listen wide-eyed; they’re not happy knowing their way of looking for work is the least effective.

CEO

Consider this scenario

On Friday the position of Sr. Software Engineer is announced internally. All employees who want to apply need to submit a résumé detailing their qualifications by close of business (COB) on Monday.

Three people feel they are qualified and hurry to update their résumé over the weekend. One of the candidates doesn’t have a résumé, has never written one. He’ll have to learn how to write one quickly.

On COB of Monday, when résumés are due, the VP of Engineering résumés from the internal candidates on her desk. She has a pretty good idea of who she will name Sr. Software Engineer. But there’s another résumé from someone who was referred by an employee for the position.

HR needs to announce the opening on Indeed, accept résumés, and interview external candidates. Then employees from various departments will interview the new candidates, internal included. The process could take up to a month.

This scenario is not uncommon. Is it fair? this depends on who you ask. Generally speaking, there are five ways employers prefer to fill a position.

1. Fill positions from within

The scenario above depicts the most preferred way employers fill a position; from within the company. Ideally they have someone who can fill it quickly and with little fuss. Is it fair to the unemployed candidates? Again, it depends on who you ask.

Unfair to the unemployed, but companies have one thing in mind, filling the position with a safe bet; and who’s safer than someone they know? This makes good business sense.

The hiring manager is familiar with the abilities, and inabilities, of the company’s employees. As well, promoting from within builds good will in the company. An employer that promotes from within is a good employer. So this is a win-win situation.

2. Referrals from employees

The second way employers prefer to fill a position is by taking referrals from their own employees. In some cases the employer will reward the employees with a monetary bonus for referring a person who sticks for, say, three months.

When I was in marketing, I referred my cousin to an IT position in a company for which I worked. I recalled years before how he spread the word of his unemployment at a family gathering, so I brought this up to the powers that be. The CIO read my cousin’s résumé, invited him in for an interview the next day, and offered him a job that day.

I was rewarded one thousand dollars, minus four hundred for taxes. I’ve heard of people who received as much as ten thousand dollars for making a referral. Of course the level of the position to be filled matters.

I never would have referred my cousin unless I was confident of his abilities, which is the case with most employees making a referral. People like me don’t want egg on their face if the person doesn’t work out, even if said person is family. By the way, my cousin worked out extremely well.

3. Referrals from trusted people outside the company

At this point the employer has tried their best to find an internal candidate or someone recommended by their employees. Nothing has worked out and the position has to be filled yesterday.

Their next move is reaching out to people they trusts outside the company. The employer may reach out to former colleagues, partners, vendors, even people who’ve left the company for greener pastures.

The employer trusts these people because they know what the employer’s looking for in job-related and soft skills. They’re the best bet at this point. Besides, the referrers don’t want to steer their buddies wrong.

In an Undercover Recruiter article, it states, “Employee referrals have the highest applicant to hire conversion rate – only 7% apply but this accounts for 40% of all hires.”

Further, it claims, “Applicants hired from a referral begin their position quicker than applicants found via job boards and career sites (after 29 days compared with 39 days via job boards and 55 via career sites).”

4. Hire recruiters

When requesting referrals doesn’t work, the employer’s next step is hiring a recruiter. This is less desirable than seeking referrals because recruiters are expensive but palatable because recruiters are more knowledgeable of the industry.

There are two types of recruiters, retained and contingency. While retained recruiters work strictly for the employer and are more knowledgeable of the industry, the contingency recruiters only get paid when they find the best candidates.

The employer’s cost for hiring a recruiter can range from 15-30% of the applicant’s first year salary. A hefty chunk of change.

Either way, the employer is paying for a few candidates to be delivered to the table. It’s still a risky proposition. Referrals are still the desired source of candidates for the reasons stated above.

5. Advertise positions

Now it’s desperation time, because this is when employers advertise their positions. There are two major problems with advertising a position, cost and uncertainty of hiring the right candidate.

You may think that it’s the cost of advertising online is the major concern, but it isn’t; the cost employers feel the most is the time spent reading résumés and interviewing unknown people. When I ask hiring managers (HM) if they like reading those résumé, approximately 98% of them say they don’t.

With applicant tracking systems in place, you’d think the process would be more manageable and pleasant, but this isn’t the case. For some, reading 25 résumés is reading 25 resumes too many.

Even with the advancement of the ATS, poor candidates get past it and make it to the interview. What many recruiters and HMs are experiencing are candidates who are not qualified and, in many cases, have embellished their accomplishments.

What do you do as a job seeker?

The obvious answer is to become a referral by reaching out to those you know in desired companies. This sounds easier said than done, but the steps you take begin first with determining which companies you’d like to work for. Create a list of at least 15 target companies.

Reach out to your former supervisors and colleagues. If they’ve moved on to another company, they might know of possible openings there or at other companies. The problem with relying solely on former colleagues, is that well will run dry; they will run out of time and ideas.

Attend industry groups where people who are currently employed are networking for business. You are there to offer your expertise either on a paid basis or as a volunteer. You are prepared with personal business cards and your personal commercial. It’s my opinion is that the best people to be with are those who are employed.

One of the best places to network is in your community. You never know when you could run into someone who knows someone who works at one of your target companies. Most important is that people know about your situation and that you’ve clearly explained what you’re looking for.

LinkedIn is ideal for identifying people in companies, as most hiring authorities are on LinkedIn. Make use of your online time by using the Companies feature and do advance searches. Work your way up by connecting to people on your level. Also, connect with people who used to work at the company; they can give you some insight.

The bottom line is that you cannot rely on applying online and waiting to be brought in for an interview. You must become a referral.

Photo: Flickr, Roger Braunstein

10 reasons why you should use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job

I’ve come across thousands of job seekers who believe in the power LinkedIn provides to help them land a job. I haven’t, however, come across as many people who believe in using LinkedIn after they’ve landed. They feel that once LinkedIn has done its job, it’s time to part ways.

LinkedIn for Business

Why is that? Do people not see the value of LinkedIn in their work?

In a LinkedIn post* I wrote on the fifth of September, I asked the question, “I have a job. Do I still need to use LinkedIn?” Following are 10 versions of the reasons I provided for continuing to use LinkedIn after being hired. Some folks from career development and sales have weighed in with great answers.

1. Continue to build your network as insurance, if you need/want to move on

Unless you were born yesterday, you don’t believe that any job is secure, except for Supreme Court Justices. What if you want to move on to another position? Whether you have to move on or want to move on, having an established network of trustworthy people, will be extremely beneficial.

Susan Joyce writes, “So sad when people stop using LinkedIn after landing a new job. Unfortunately, NOT unusual. What will happen the next time they need a job—start over with LinkedIn? That means a much longer job search. Instead, stay active, support the new employer, and remain professionally visible. Much smarter!”

2. Continue to build your brand

Make sure you update your profile with your latest accomplishments. Only connect with the people who provide value, as well as those to whom you can provide value. And, yes, share posts that are relevant to your network. This is all part of branding. Read The ultimate LinkedIn Guide series to learn more.

Perhaps your interest is gaining more visibility in your new role. Wendy Schoen suggests, “If you are engaging on LinkedIn, it is much easier for others in your field to reach out to you with speaking engagements or panel appearances. These are the ways in which you establish your ‘chops’ in your field!”

3. Be found by recruiters who are cruising for passive candidates

You might have landed your dream job and think you’ll retire from the organization, or you might have landed at an organization that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it would. In either case, there are always recruiters who are looking for good talent. You want to be found.

Cynthia Wright is a recruiter. She uses LinkedIn Recruiter and warns that passive job seekers never know when they’ll be approached: “It’s a great tool, and as a recruiter, 60% of my hires are made from LinkedIn Recruiter. Most are passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking for a job). As a job seeker, you just never know.”

4. Give back: let people know of openings in your organization

The best of the best networkers will continue their efforts of helping others after they’ve landed. Some of my former clients have shared openings at their company, almost the minute they’ve started their job. They were paying it forward, which is the true definition of netowrking.

Employers are hiring. The questions is who are they looking to hire. The answer is clear; they’re filling positions with people who’ve been referred by those they trust and know. Be that person they trust and know; mention people with whom you’ve networked. Bonus: you might receive a finders fee.

5. Use LinkedIn for professional development

Let’s say you’ve landed at a company where there’s no money in the budget for professional development. You can reach out to other employees in your industry, or you can use information you gather on LinkedIn. One great source for professional development is LinkedIn’s Learning (Lynda.com).

Brian Ahearn, has produced four courses for LinkedIn. He speaks about persuasion in sales, personal relationships, and coaching. I have learned a great deal about the art of persuasion from him. Check out his courses: Persuasive Selling; Advanced Selling: DEALing with Different Personality Styles; Persuasive Coaching; and Building a Culture of Coaching Though Timely Feedback.

6. Research companies and people before meetings for business transactions

Let’s say you applied for a marketing director’s position. You were smart and researched the positions to which you applied and companies who were going to interview you. Did you also research the people who would be interviewing you? You were smart if you did. Now it’s time to research people in your industry or the company for which you work.

Sarah Johnston writes: “LinkedIn can be a great place to learn about your new colleagues. Individual profiles often reveal their, past jobs and non-profit involvement. This information can be helpful during water cooler conversation. One of my favorite things to do to look at the written recommendations that they’ve given to other people. This can provide you with insight into their work relationships and qualities that they value in others.”

7. Share posts and articles of your own, as well as those of others

If you didn’t share articles or comment on other’s posts while job searching, now is the time to do it. Share and comment on articles, write posts expressing your thoughts, attach a whitepaper in Rich Media sections. You want to stay on the radar of your network (related to reason number one).

Hannah Morgan writes, “Your goal in regularly sharing articles on LinkedIn is to stay top of mind among your network. Don’t just re-share the articles, though. Explain why you are sharing them and tag several people, including the author, to make sure they see it. Commenting on posts related to your field—either from people in your network, or those you do not know yet—is a way to expand your network and solidify your relationships with existing connections.”

8. Increase business and/or visibility of your organization

If you’re a salesperson or business developer in a B2B role, using LinkedIn is a no brainer. Even if you’re not directly involved in selling products or services, LinkedIn is instrumental in building relationships. Any employee in a company can be the face of the organization.

In support of this reason, Bruce Bixler makes an excellent point: “ONLY 20% of LinkedIn is used for job search the OTHER 80% is for business enterprise, sales, networking, lead generation, entrepreneurs, business development, and even small business.” By the way, he might not be far off with this figure.

9. Use LinkedIn to find talent

You’re on the other side of the table now as a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR: you are now searching for candidates. The company for which you work doesn’t have the budget for a Recruiter account or even Recruiter Lite. Your only tool for finding talent is using LinkedIn’s Search.

No problem; you used Search to find people who were hiring. You became proficient at LinkedIn’s All Filters, which allowed you to search for people by title; current and previous company; industry, location; school; and language, if you’re looking for someone who’s bilingual.

10. LinkedIn is fun to use and teach

This is my personal reason for using LinkedIn. I enjoy the platform, more so than Facebook or Twitter. Some of my colleagues tease me for my devotion to LinkedIn (one said I need an intervention), but I shuck it off. I enjoy it for disseminating information and gathering information. This isn’t to say it frustrates me at times.

I also teach job seekers to use it in their job search; having led thousands of workshops on LinkedIn strategy and building your profile. As well, I also help clients one-on-one. Using LinkedIn is my most enjoyable part of the job search to teach. Where some might not see its value, I do.


In my LinkedIn workshops I encourage my attendees to continue to use LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job. Many nod their head in agreement, but I’ve yet to see most of them to do it. Hopefully if they read this article, they’ll see the value of using LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job.

Here’s to hoping.

*Here is the post I reference in this article.

Why extraverts struggle with networking

After leading a webinar on Introverts’ successes and struggles in the job search, I received an email from one of the attendees. He is a self-professed Extravert, which made his message more interesting.

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One of the topics I address in the webinar is networking, which Introverts find challenging; maybe more challenging then Extraverts. This gentleman stated that he finds networking challenging, but for a different reason. His email follows.


“Thanks Bob, but I am an Extrovert. Why are there no webinars for Extroverts? Are we by nature considered better, complete networkers, or are Introverts so needy that they are the only ones who need help?

Frankly, networking is difficult for everyone and even Extroverts (Extraverts) could use advice regarding restraint, listening and coming across as more gentle and not overwhelming people. I have had to learn that, but a webinar on it would be cool and different. Just an idea as there are lots of classes for introverts.”


To help my attendee answer his question, I elicited the advice from my colleague, Edythe Richards who is an MBTI Master Practitioner.

Your client is partially right. “Networking [may be] difficult for everyone.” There is an assumption that because a person prefers Extraversion, they are outgoing, love talking to new people, and love interacting in the world.

There is also an assumption that Introverted types are shy or socially awkward and therefore don’t want to network. Either, or both of these may or may not be true for reasons that have nothing to do with what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator measures.

Let’s be clear about what Extraversion and Introversion really mean. Extraversion means being energized by the external world, receiving energy from interacting with people and taking action, speaking freely and vocally, and getting restless without involvement with people or activities.

Introversion means being energized inwardly, participating in selected activities, enjoying private spaces, proceeding cautiously, and getting agitated without enough time alone or undisturbed.

All of us use both in our daily lives. And there’s one that comes much more easily and readily to us than the other.

There are many cases where people use their non-preferences effectively, and I venture to say networking and communicating with agility is a skill everyone must develop in order to be professionally successful.

Some networking areas where Extraverted types can benefit from Introverted types:

Active listening. Extraverted types may favor a “speak-think-speak” approach, whereas Introverted types may favor a “think-speak-think” approach. As a result, Extraverts (Es) may unknowingly end up talking over the Introverts (Is).

Es need to tune in to what the other person is saying, and resist the urge to relate the Is experience to their own. Practice being with them in the moment.

Deep connections. Es may favor quantity over quality. Is are selective about the people they allow into their circle of trust. At networking events, one quality connection often ends up being more beneficial than 20 superficial ones. Is who practice quality over quantity report increased trust and loyalty in relationships.

Gauge the pulse of the room. Because Is are often reflective and contained, they may be able to pick up on nonverbal cues Es miss. While the Es are chatting, Is are thinking or planning the things they’ll say at just the right time. Es who are able to slow down and analyze the situation before acting, won’t say something they’ll later regret, and the Is they’re talking with will feel respected.

A couple reminders for Extraverts about Introverts:

  • Just because Is aren’t talking doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun. Is preference is to think before speaking. When they want to speak, they will.
  • Is need their alone time, and this has nothing to do with Es. As much as Is may like going out (in small doses), they need quiet time to recharge in order to feel like themselves.
  • Be patient. There’s no need to pressure an I to speak. Take a few pauses, dial back the enthusiasm factor, and they will naturally open up and feel good about doing so.

I hope this helps!

-Edythe


It is self-evident that Extraverts can find networking challenging. It’s also true that Extraverts and Introverts have their own style of networking.

My webinar attendee makes a great point, however; why aren’t there more webinars–and for that matter, books, articles, workshops, etc.–addressing the struggles Extraverts have with networking?

9 essential components of your job-search marketing campaign: Part 2

If every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services, it figures that your job search requires the same. In part one of this two-part series, we looked at the written communications of a job-search marketing campaign. Four career-development pundits weighed in on research, the résumé and LinkedIn profile, and the approach letter.

woman on phone

Part two features five pundits, who address the verbal side of your job-search marketing campaign. To kick off this article, we’re going to address a very important part of you campaign, personal branding.

Personal branding

Erin KErin Kennedy specializes in personal branding for executive-level job seekers. She talks about the importance of creating a clear, strong brand for your verbal communications.

People sometimes get confused about what their personal brand is. What is it? How do I figure it out? But the fact is, we all have a personal brand already. It is entwined in everything we do i.e. what we are good at, what we are known for, what others come to us for, what we specialize in.

“Once job seekers look at it that way, it’s much easier to break it down and define what our “personal brand” is. One way to strengthen your brand is through your verbal communications. It is easy to confuse people about who you are if you are not crystal clear about your brand.

Job seekers need to realize that not properly communicating their brand in their job search can be a huge obstacle in finding the job they are qualified for…and are hoping for. Take the time to ensure you have a strong brand statement that shows your expertise and the value you can offer a prospective employer.

Every successful business requires a strong brand which is unique to its products or services. Taglines like, “Just Do It,” “Think Different,” and “I’m Lovin’ It” stand on their own because of the strength of Nike, Apple, and McDonald’s.


Networking

Nothing can be more effective to land an interview than networking. Many will agree that your résumé and LinkedIn profile are all important, but they would also agree that how you distribute them largely depends on networking.

AustinAustin Belcak’s LinkedIn profile tagline is: I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Let’s Talk. Austin is definitely a proponent of networking.

“When it comes to expanding your network, there are two rules I like to follow: first quality always beats quantity. People get scared of networking because they think they need to blast out a million connection requests or go to these meetups. That stuff doesn’t work.

“Real relationships are usually built in a small setting and they require a lot of work. Instead of spraying and praying, pick a handful of people you really want to connect with and focus in on them.

“Second, be relentless about adding value Don’t start the relationship with your palm out. Instead, research the person and work to find ways to add value. Send them a resource, offer some feedback, introduce them to someone, tell them how you took their advice and benefited from it.

“If you approach each relationship with a value-add mindset and consistently show up in a positive light, the reciprocation will be there. It takes time and it takes practice but it’s the best way to build strong relationships that pay dividends down the road.”

Whether you decide to go to large or small events or simply networking in your community, make sure you are equipped with personal business cards. Learn 7 reasons why personal business cards are important and what information to include on them.

Without networking, many companies would fail. Smaller companies often survive on word of mouth. Similarly, large companies need to create trust to close a deal. Your marketing campaign is similar. As Austin says, be selective in who you approach in your marketing campaign.


LinkedIn engagement

Although your LinkedIn engagement is accomplished through writing, I feel it’s important to note in this part of the article as a form of networking.

I tell my clients that their profile is important, but it’s also important to develop a focused, like-minded network and engage with those connections. Engaging with your network can be difficult if you don’t have the confidence and you don’t know how to communicate with them.

First of all, you have expertise in your field and, therefore, shouldn’t question your right to engage with your connections. Second, don’t start the relationship with “the ask.” I’ve been approached by LinkedIn users who want to connect, but instead of taking the time to communicate with me and build a relationship; they ask if I’ll review their profile. This is in the initial invite.

My clients often ask me how they can engage with their connections. The first and most obvious way to engage is through personal messages. You won’t reach as many people this way, but you can develop and nurture relationships.

Other ways to engage with your connections include: sharing and commenting on articles that will add value to them (just be sure to tag the writer of said articles); writing long posts in which you express your thoughts and expertise; contribute to other’s long posts; share photos and thoughtful captions; and ask questions. These are a few ways to engage with your connections.

Many successful businesses are using B2B networking, as they can reach more potential partners. The idea of using LinkedIn is similar; you, as a business are reaching out to potential employers and quality networkers.


The interview

Maureen McCann is a job search strategist and executive résumé writer. Who believes that first impressions are the first part of the puzzle. She relates her story to demonstrate the importance of first impressions.

One of my first jobs was as executive assistant to a general manager of a pharmaceutical company. Anytime he interviewed new members of our growing sales team, he’d immediately close the door after the candidate left and ask me what I thought of the candidate.

You see, all of the candidates would be selling products to medical professionals (think: plastic surgeons, dermatologists). To get the attention of the doctors, the salesperson would have to first connect with the person at the front desk (the gatekeeper) before scheduling an appointment with a busy doctor.

The GM of my company knew this and so he paid close attention to my first impressions of candidates. Those that did not strike up a conversation and simply waited to talk to the GM missed an opportunity to sell me on their candidacy and have me advocate for them following their interview with the GM.

It’s time for the interview. Are you ready? Sarah Johnston feels not only strongly about the importance of doing your labor market research (as she explains in part one of this article), she also feels strongly about assessing the big opportunity.

“When you are interviewing, make sure that you evaluate the company, your future boss, and the actual opportunity carefully to make sure that it’s a good fit for you. In researching a company, some of my favorite tools include:

  • “LinkedIn to review the credentials of the people that you are interviewing with. By looking at their profile, you can often gather where they’ve worked, how long they’ve been in a role, groups that they are apart of and where they went to school or received training.

  • “If you are interviewing with a publicly traded company, it’s a good idea to review their annual report to learn more about their profitability, biggest challenges, and their corporate responsibility. To access free reports, visit: http://www.prars.com/about.php.”

Along with assessing the company and people who will be interviewing you, it’s important to be prepared to answer tough interview questions. There are interview questions you know you will be asked. And you should have answers in mind.

Madeline Mann is the founder of the YouTube channel, Self Made Millennial, which delivers outstanding job-search tips. When asked what her number one tip for interviews is, she says, “Know your stories.”

“My top interview tip–the one that clients have most tightly correlated to getting a job offer–is what I call a “Story Toolbox.” It allows you to answer any behavioral question, and many of the other questions typically asked in an interview.

“What most people do when asked questions like, ‘What’s your greatest strength?’ or ‘What’s your leadership style?’ is they describe themselves. They say, ‘I am hard worker, team player, highly skilled…blah, blah, blah.’ But none of this gets down to: So what did you do?

“According to American psychologist Jerome Bruner: ‘stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.‘ Therefore, telling stories will help you to be memorable and are a great way to show your character through describing situations you’ve been in, rather than simply stating characteristics.

“So what I recommend is to make your own story tool box. You go into every interview with a set of planned stories and you frame it in a way that answers whatever question they are asking. Trust me, your stories will be effective for a wide variety of questions.”

Closing the sale is how I look at the interview. Here’s where your ability to speak of your value comes into play. For established companies it’s similar to attending conferences, trade shows, meetings, and other opportunities where they can deliver their value face-to-face.


Follow up

The final element of your job-search marketing campaign is one that people feel to complete. One of my valued LinkedIn connections said it best, “When you don’t follow up, you were never there.”

Some job seekers believe the interview is over once they’ve shaken the interviewer’s hand and left the room. “That went well,” they think. “Now, it’s time to wait for the decision.”

Perhaps it went well, but perhaps one or two other candidates also had stellar interviews. Perhaps those other candidates followed up on their interviews with thoughtful thank-you notes.

So when is the interview really over? Not until you’ve sent a follow-up note.

If you don’t believe sending a follow-up note is important, one source claimed:

  • 86 percent of employers will take your lack of a note to mean you don’t follow through on things;
  • 56 percent of employers will assume you aren’t that serious about the job; and
  • 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire you if you don’t send a follow-up note.

What Goes in Your Note?

  1. Show Your Gratitude
  2. Reiterate You’re the Right Person for the Job
  3. Cite Some Interesting Points Made During the Interview
  4. Do Some Damage Control
  5. Suggest a Solution to a Problem
  6. Assert You Want the Job

Lastly, follow up a week after the interview for no more than three consecutive weeks.

A company that fails to follow up will lose the sale or fail in attaining the bid. This reminds me of a plumber who doesn’t return my call. I’m on to the next person.


If you haven’t read part one of this series, I encourage you to.