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Archive for January, 2012

Your On-Line Presence – Networking and Image

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

On-Line Networking:

These days, over 50% of employers Google prospective employees before they hire them.  This means that you need to be paying attention to your on-line image.  So Google yourself! See what comes up.

Keep your private life private. You can still have personal information on the web. Just make sure that it’s only available to the people you want to see it.

Be careful what you write on your blog, or other people’s blogs or social networking pages. Don’t let the whole world see your personal information:

Build a Professional Brand both on and off-line.

Once you’ve made sure that your personal information is only viewable by those you want to see it, start building your professional brand. This will serve a couple of purposes. In addition to being information that showcases your talents for potential employers, it’s also information that, if created properly, will bump the not-so-good stuff down the list in Google. That way, any prospective employer who Googles you, should see what you want them to see – your professional branding.

Professional Branding Tools

  • JibberJobber – Use JibberJobber to keep track of those networking contacts and keep a log of how they have helped you.
  • LinkedIn – Create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting. Ask and answer LinkedIn questions to increase your visibility.
  • VisualCV – Create a VisualCV to share with contacts and prospective employers.
  • Write a Blog – I know everyone, almost literally, has a blog these days. However, a well-written blog focused on your area of expertise is another good addition to your professional branding package.
  • Create a Presence – Comment on other people’s blogs, write some articles, go to industry meetings, conventions, and events, and make contacts in your field. Be sure that all your endeavors are focused and relevant to both your skills and your career goals.
  • Build a Web Site – Consider a web site to create and showcase your brand. Many web hosting services have built in web building tools and it’s quick and easy to build a site that reflects your professional presence.
  • Get Your Name Out There – Try to meet, either online or in-person, the important people in your field. Send them an email or a message via their web site or networking profile. Over the years, I’ve met lots of the important people in the world of job searching and careers, many of them because I sent them a quick email introducing myself or vice versa.

 

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Networking your way into a job:

January 6, 2012 1 comment

Have faith that effective networking will result in helpful information about job possibilities. You also dramatically increase your probability of getting an interview if you have arrived at a job prospect through your own networking efforts than through other means. The personal contact involved in networking enhances your status as a candidate as compared with more anonymous application methods such as job boards, company web sites, and print ads.

Networking will often result in a job prospect that did not exist before you networked. Positions are sometimes created to accommodate a terrific person who contacts an organization proactively.

The reasons for this have to do with the nature of the job market and the way organizations work. The only jobs that are posted on job boards are those that have been identified as a need, approved by the organization’s bureaucracy, and posted. This is an arduous process in many organizations. Jobs may be at various stages of the HR process, from being written as a formal listing through approval of the personnel requisition. Often, managers do not bother to seek approval for a personnel requisition (“req”) until they have found a qualified candidate; this makes life easier for them. You may never even see those job descriptions.

Information Interviewing:

This can be an extremely important part of building your network and finding a job.  Often people are interested in a particular career or corporation but do not have any contacts.  By setting up an information interview, you can make a contact, find out more about the company and the career, and get a foot in the door for future job openings.

If you really do not know anyone, then setting up an information interview will start with some research on the company and the employees and will be followed by a cold call to the person that you would like to meet with.  As intimidating as this may seem, people are surprisingly willing to talk about themselves.  So you may be pleasantly surprised at the reception you receive provided that you preface the request in the right manner.  You need to ensure that you let the person know that you are a recent or soon to be graduate and are interested in a career in his/her field and would be grateful if he/she would have a few moments to talk to you about what he/she does and the pros and cons of his/her career choice. You do not want them to think that you are calling them to try and get a job.

When you go to meet for the information interview be sure to dress professionally.  Although this is not a job interview, the impression that you make on this person could be vital for the future.

Be prepared, have a short list of questions that you would like to ask and try not to take up too much time.

If you are meeting for coffee or lunch you should be prepared to offer to pay for the drinks/meal.  Basically, if you invite, you pay.

Have a resume in your bag, but do not give it to him/her unless she/he asks for it.

At the end of the interview you can give him/her one of your contact cards and let him/her know that if they do hear of any opportunities that you would be thankful if he/she would let you know.

Be sure to follow up with a thank you card.  This is extremely important and can make or break his/her impression of you.

It is important to keep a journal or notebook detailing sources you have consulted and thoughts or ideas you have had.  This way you will not have to worry about forgetting to follow up on a lead. You will also be able to pick up where you left off the next time you sit down to work, rather than inadvertently duplicating your research efforts. Perhaps most importantly of all, you will remember to follow up on leads generated by your networking contacts and to keep in regular contact with them as you continue your career exploration and/or development.

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