Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Southern Charm and Elevator Speeches…

Have you ever noticed that most places, when you get into an elevator, there is NO eye contact, no hello, just an unwavering focus on the NUMBER.  Which is so interesting when you think about the concept of the Elevator Speech.  And, of course, the endless questions and guidance…

Do you have one?  How long is it – 30 seconds? a minute?  two minutes (GASP)!?!?!  Do you have a business card that reinforces or supports it so they won’t forget you?  Does it cover every single scenario that could potentially need to be addressed?  Try and Google ‘Elevator Speech’ or ‘Elevator Pitch’ some time.  There are pages of tips, outlines, templates, secrets, and must-haves to sham-wow just about anyone.  Yet what happens when you get in an elevator?Exactly.  When is MY number going to be next?  Is some idiot going to stop this elevator and impede my progress further?  How much longer can this possibly take?  I HAVE NO CELL SERVICE – ARGH!!!

But one of the things I love about the South is just how darn friendly we can be…I can tell you that the Recruiter Chicks have never met a stranger.  We get in an elevator, on a plane, waiting for a table, or at whatever game or event is happening — it is an opportunity to smile, say hello, and figure out if the story we have instantaneously crafted in our head about you is anywhere remotely close to reality.

I was riding down the elevator today at my client’s office and sure enough, the elevator stops at the very next floor.  Within 10 seconds I know that my new elevator mate is actually an employee of my client.  Been there 10 years — working in an area of the business I have yet to touch. Next stop, two more join us.  The door shuts just as I start to tell my new friend what kind of work I have been doing with her company.  At which point, our newest elevator mate shares that the other person who has also just joined us, sings — and is amazing.  Random?  Yes…but…guess what?  My new client friend just so happens to really need a singer for an upcoming event.  Numbers are swapped, as is a promise to call this evening at 7pm.

And I have a blog post written in my head by the time I get to my car.  That was a very productive few minutes.

So…my point?  How many of us really ever take any one of the many chances we have to connect with others to do anything like this?  I have a hundred stories like this — and I know my blog partner, Teela Jackson, probably has twice that.   My question to you is — When are you planning on using that Elevator Speech?  Just sayin…

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24

10 2012

Job Search 101: How To Best Utilize Your Network

Some of you I have helped with a job search will have seen this before, but the advice is sage and certainly worth a post.  Time and time again I have seen this process work.  It happened again just this week –a friend called me and said he was ready to embark on a discrete search for a new opportunity.

“Hey Chris, I know you ‘re a Recruiter…can I pass you my resume?”

This is actually how most people utilize their network.  It could even be a blast from email or Linkedin.  And likely, it is probably not giving you the results you would have liked or anticipated.  If you really want to turbocharge your networking efforts, try these following steps — it will take some work on your part, but it will be worth it.

  1. Decide what you really want to do.  Ideally.  Not what you would be willing to do — but really what you would do and why.  Jot this down – the role you would love — and for what you are most qualified , have the most accomplishments doing, and where you’d add the most value.
  2. Decide where you want to do it.  Not just where you would be willing to work — but really where and why.  What is your pressing criteria — Industry?  Business Function?  Company Size?  Company Stability?  Culture?  Commute?  Benefit Package?  Travel?  Match that against companies that would find you the most valuable to them based on your background or past experiences.  Maybe it is a competitor?  A vendor?  A supplier?  You get the drift, right?  Jot this down too.
  3. Come up with a target list of companies that fit the criteria you outlined above.
  4. Check their company sites, Linkedin, Google, and/or external job boards (Monster, Dice, Careerbuilder) or aggregators (Indeed, Simply Hired).  Note any jobs you see that are open that fit your criteria.
  5. Use LinkedIn, your social networks, your email contact list, your neighbors, etc. to give people in your network direct, easily actionable tasks based on what you have outlined above.

I always push back on people to help me help them.  And what is helpful to me — and will be to the people you are hoping will help you — is to have this pretty solid idea of the type of role you want and your ideal target companies.  Thus the exercise above.  It will keep you focused and it will keep your network focused too.  And not just the why’s — know what you don’t want and why as well.  This will make it easier for you, me, and anyone else helping you, to take a targeted approach — that also just happens to have the benefit of showing you know who you are, what you are seeking, how you can/will add value, and why these organizations have to have you to take their teams or organizations to the next level.  It also can help you figure out who all can best help you and how — and then you can use your network accordingly.

I know this pushes some of the ownness back on you to think through all of this and do some research and footwork, but doing a job search is just like building a business — it needs to be focused and frankly you don’t want somebody else assuming what your vision, values, and goals are…or where you should work.

For instance, there is a big difference between…

“I am looking/open to new opportunities, here is a copy of my resume — Could you please keep your eyes and ears open?”

…and what happened in my example from this week.  I had told my friend that reached out to me to do exactly what I have described above.  As it turned out, I didn’t know anyone at his target company — but I saw through LinkedIn that I had a connection there.  Because I had the information I requested, I was able to still send this email on his behalf:

“Hi _________!  I am trying to help a friend make a connection with someone at ____ .  I am reaching out to you as I noticed you were a second level connection to me via ___ and a fellow ____ member.  He is currently working so he was hoping to make a discrete inquiry regarding potential job opportunities in _____.  Through our discussions, it was clear has a strong respect for and interest in _____ as an organization.  He also has experience calling on the same customer base and your products are either linked to or used with the tools he currently sells today — which would make for a very easy transition and short learning curve if there are opportunities. He also happens to reside in the same area as your ______ division, headquartered in_____.   If there is an interest, I’d be glad to forward you, or anyone you deem appropriate, his resume and contact information.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks in advance for your attention — have a great rest of your week! “

And for those of you who favor the blast on email or social media, you could do the following…

“Hey Friends, do any of you have a connection at ________?  I’m looking for a Sales Manager position and would welcome an intro”

(please note I did not say reference/referral, save that for the people you have direct work experience with that you can ask personally/directly).

 

As for my example above, that very same day I received a response.  My friend sent his resume and the rest is now in his hands.  The best part is, he has done the work upfront to identify a great match — and he is prepared already for an interview.  And because I was armed with the information, I knew what to do when he sent me his resume.  No assumptions — and frankly not a lot of work on my end.  I was glad to help because I knew exactly how to help him.

Try this and I promise you, you will have a much greater chance for success in your job search.

 

 

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26

07 2012

Teela Jackson Dishes On Staying Employed in US News Careers

Recruiter Chicks very own Teela Jackson shared some great tips on the secrets to staying employed recently with US News Careers!

Teela describes how important it is to not only maintain a strong network, but to create and maintain an employer community network.  Most importantly,you shouldn’t wait until your unemployed to do this!!  She also goes on to describe some of the steps we should all be taking to make sure we have “Job Search Insurance”…

Be sure to check out the sage advice Teela shared with Miriam Salpeter in this fabulous blog post at US News Careers!

 

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01

03 2012

Network or Not(Work)

I recently had a one-on-one meeting with someone who is actively looking for a job and my first question to that person was “how often did you build relationships outside of your company while working there for 20+ years?”  The answer was one that I didn’t anticipate.  I planned to leverage those connections and ask that person to reach out to those individuals, etc.  This person stated several connections with individuals outside of their company, however the relationships were all affiliated with the previous employer through a formal partnership.  This person is in Talent Acquisition [whispering].

Networking is an important tool in a Recruiter’s arsenal.  It is an essential component to your value to an organization.  Great Recruiters are always on the prowl for great talent for their current organization and companies they’ve previously worked for.  Some even look out for their Recruiting friends in other industries and organizations.  It’s the fertile and golden ground of friendships, referrals and great experiences.

It’s easier these days to build and nurture relationships using email, phone and social media tools, with perhaps an occasional in-person visit.  Many of our Recruiting friends are always networking and giving back to the Recruiting community by speaking to job search networking groups, gathering referrals for others and sitting down one-on-one with a friend of a friend to provide free job search advice and counsel.  Those individuals are also a few emails or phone calls away from landing opportunities faster than lightening when they are looking for a new role.

Networking is the only constant for career success.  If you’re not currently networking outside of your organization, today is the day to start.  It’s not easy, but the people you’ll meet and those that you help along the way will enrich your life in a way that nothing else can.  And a few might even introduce you to your dream job/employer.

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09

06 2011

Networking: Laying the foundation

When speaking to job search groups about networking, I always start by drawing a logo on the board and asking one or two participants to tell me what that brand represents to them.  I usually use the Nike swoosh – it a global brand icon.  Through this exercise, I have found that the area where most spend the least time is crafting their personal brand.

Before hitting the pavement and kicking your job search into high gear, take some time to discover and create your personal brand.  Ask yourself where you excel, what environments have you flourished in and most important, where you see yourself adding value in the future.  Reach out to a few colleagues and ask them the same questions (about you).  These individuals should have previously shown a genuine interest in your personal and professional growth and experienced some level of success themselves.  Treat this process as though you are the founding executive at The Home Depot discussing and finalizing the brand message, products and target audience.  It’s important to determine what separates you from others in the marketplace, brand value and the size and scope of organizations that best align with your brand before kicking off your job search.  Take some time for self-discovery.

Creating your personal brand lays the foundation for your job search and career progression.  It sets the tone for all interactions and phases of your career.

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24

05 2011