Cracking Open The Door Of Your Next Potential Employer

Cracking Open The Door Of Your Next Potential Employer

You’ve been researching companies in your field and you’ve found the one you really want to work for. You jive with the company culture, you believe your skills and experience would be a perfect fit for the employer. One problem. They aren’t currently hiring.

 

Create your own opportunities

You may not be able to snap your fingers and create a job out of your profound desire to be there, but you can certainly track down the contact information of someone who currently works there. Or a recruiter with a relationship with the organization.

 

Open a dialogue

Step one contact the person and ask them if they’d be willing to have a coffee with you to talk about the company. Let them know you are not specifically looking for a job (even if you are) but that you are simply looking for information. Most people are willing to give half an hour to an enthusiastic (not obtrusive) seeker. In general people like to help others, even strangers when they can.

 

Ask specific questions about the company. Inquire into their career trajectory. See if they have any advice regarding things you can do to expand your career potential in general and specifically within the context of this particular employer. Have a list of questions ready before hand so you don’t waste the opportunity.

 

Thank them for their time

Following your discussion thank them for their time and leave. Follow it up with a thank you note and leave it at that. Don’t follow up or pester them. You got what you needed from them and left a good impression of your go-getting self.

 

If something comes up they will likely contact you to let you know. Your career search is all about connections and networking. Leave a likeable, professional impression. People want to work with people they like!

Open Big for Successful Small Talk

Open Big for Successful Small Talk

Are you one of those people who can’t wait to get to a party so you can meet all kinds of new people and talk away the night? Do you relish networking events because you delight in the challenge of speaking to as many people as possible? If so, then this not for you.

 

If on the contrary, small talk and conversations with strangers in general make you want to dive as quickly as you can back under the covers, then carry on.

 

Open the door for conversation

If you’re not big on small talk, but you’re at a party or networking event, questions are a fairly painless way to ease into a conversation. If you can get someone talking then chances are you’ll eventually find something you can join in with. However, not all questions are created equally. Depending on how you phrase the question you could hear an extended detailed answer or it could come in the form of a single word.

 

Open-ended vs. closed-ended

Let’s say for example you know the person you’re talking to was at an interesting lecture the day before. You could ask the question in two general ways:

 

Did you have a good time last night?

Or

How was last night?

 

The first version is a closed-ended question, meaning there’s a good possibility you’ll get a yes or no answer. “Yes, I had a good time.”

 

“How was last night?” Is an open-ended question, meaning it opens the door for further elaboration.  “Last night was really interesting. The speaker had a lot to say about this that and the other. I would recommend her lectures to anyone.”

 

Go through the open door

From here you have options to continue the conversation. You could talk about this, that or the other or other lectures by that speaker or another.

 

Do you think this is a good idea?

 

Wait, better question: What do you think of this idea?

A Networking System For Introverts

a network system for introverts

Most industries are more reliant on network connections than you probably realize. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. If there’s an opening somewhere, of course everyone wants to bring in someone they know and like rather than a stranger. This is where networking comes in.

Taking advantage of  your network is great if you know people, but the issue is getting to know people. If you don’t have some other kind of connection to them, this often comes down to pure and simple schmoozing at events and hoping they remember you later.

Just because we know how important networking is for our careers, it doesn’t mean we are all prepared to enter networking situations with a big smile and a ready handshake. Networking is one of those things that either comes naturally to you and can even be considered pleasant, or feels so unnatural it’s about as pleasant as getting stuck in a snowstorm without a coat. Here’s a system for people for who prefer the word never to networking

If you’re introverted, it can be hard to even will yourself out to those network-y events, let alone actually make any valuable connections.

A system for introverts

Here’s a system for the introverted among you to try out. Go to every event you are invited to even if you don’t want to. That’s step one. Once you’re there, make a point of talking to three people you wouldn’t normally see.

Just approach them, no matter how painful it may be, say “Hello, I’m so-and-so,” and carry on a conversation for as long as you can stand.

When you want to leave, just say you’re going to get a drink or you see a friend or something. Then onto the next one.

 

A system of threes

Do it three times and you are free.

Don’t get discouraged if it’s hard or scary or nothing comes of it right away. You’re not promising to do anything beyond saying hello and your name and possibly a couple of things about yourself. You might find yourself feeling comfortable with the person you’re talking to and without realizing it, actually find yourself in a full on conversation.

 

Each person you speak to, makes speaking to the next one a tiny bit easier. If you’re nice and make a good impression, eventually someone will remember you, or one of your conversations will be enlightening in a way you wouldn’t have come up with on your own. There are many possible outcomes. Short of spilling your drink on yourself, they’re all good.

It’s unfortunate that networking has to be like pulling teeth for some people, but it still has to be done! Hopefully having a system helps!

Networking Through Mingling

Networking Through Mingling

 

Whether we’re looking for a job, trying to get a creative project off the ground or have discovered the new greatest thing that’s going to change the world, we all know how important it is to build a network. Even so, if you’re starting from ground zero the thought of building that network can seem a little daunting.

 

Have you thought about getting yourself to events with like minded individuals and mingling?

 

Make Google your new best friend

Don’t even try saying you don’t know where you might find these individuals or these events because anything you want to find is as findable as your nearest computer. Google what you’re interested in and you will find seminars, events, lectures, meet-ups, all kinds of things you can join and participate in.

 

Pick three

Once you find a few of these, pick at least three you’d like to attend. Only going to one is the same as putting all your eggs in one basket. You’ll feel stressed out like it’s your only chance to build your network and you won’t be able to genuinely engage. By going to several different events you can relax and build authentic relationships without all the pressure.

 

Remember Rome

Don’t expect to come out of your first few events with an entire network built and humming with activity. These things take some time to build and evolve. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your network be.

 

A few people at a time

Concentrate on finding a few really great people to befriend, and go from there. If you keep up a healthy communication with them, you’ll eventually meet some of their colleagues and associates and your circle will grow from there.

 

Mix it up a little

Don’t just go to places where you’ll meet a bunch of people on your own level. These can be valuable, but much more so are places you can meet professionals who have been in the field for years.

 

Find an event with a speaker you really admire, or you know will have a large attendance of seasoned professionals. These are the people who can mentor you, and help you on your way now.

 

If you snooze you lose, but if you schmoose you can win!

Job Fact: Job Search = Full-time Job

“Searching for a job is like a full-time job.”

We’re sure you’ve heard this phrase at some point, especially if you’re on the job hunt. The fact of the matter is, that it is true. Studies show that in order to be employed, one must treat their job search as a full-time job.

Now you might ask: “How do you expect me to sit in front of the computer for eight hours from Monday to Friday and look for jobs?” Here’s a wake up call. Treating your job as a full-time job does not mean sitting at your desk firing away resumes everyday – that’s just a portion of it. Another chunk of your day should be spent either volunteering/interning, attending industry seminars/events, mingling with professionals and making connections.

Last year, 1054 companies were surveyed and 58% said that all of their hiring was internal. This was either through employee referrals or company portals. Either way, making strong relationships with the right people (especially people who are in a position of power) will make a difference in your career path.

Source: U.S. News

Landing a Job as an Introvert

You’re an introvert and probably prefer to be in a company with a few people than a company with many people. You’re not the type to come away from loud, busy situations feeling stimulated. You may not be the first to voice your opinion (which is not to say you don’t have as strong opinions as anyone else). But does that mean your job search is going to be harder or less successful than your extroverted contemporaries? Not at all – it just means you’re going to take a different path to your destination.

Can introverts find it in themselves to network?
An extrovert might find him or herself the center of attention at a party. But the key to networking is building one-on-one relationships where you articulate what you’re looking for and ask for guidance and help. An introvert has just as much chance of making that connection as an extrovert.

Should introverts forget about being a leader?
Does being introverted mean you shouldn’t have leadership ambitions or desires? Absolutely not! Although extroverts and introverts have different management styles and relate differently to the people they work with, neither one is any better or worse in leadership positions than the other. In some situations, the management style of the extrovert will produce better results in others than the introvert. For example, people who like a lot of direction will do very well under an extroverted leader. However, people who prefer the chance to explore alternatives and experiment with new ways of doing things feel more empowered by a more introverted leader.

Can introverts be a strong salesperson?
At first glance you might be inclined to think a personable, engaging extrovert would be miles ahead in the sales game compared to a quieter and more reserved individual. Well, think again. Neither introversion nor extraversion will be an indicator success as a salesperson. The best sales people are the ones in the middle. They don’t turn others off with all the loud blustering and neither do they get ignored in the quiet. For sales, the best road is the middle road and that’s where introverts and extroverts need to meet.

Famous introverts:
Albert Einstein and Warren Buffet was an introvert and so is J.K. Rowling, just to name a few. They were and are still very much in the public eye who are leaders and unafraid of success and game changers. When it’s your turn at bat, the real question isn’t whether you prefer to wear a brightly colored shirt blazoned with “I’M HERE!” or you prefer more muted attire. The question is what you do once the ball has been pitched.

Social Media Series (Part 2): Best FREE Job Apps for Your Phone

Most things are mobile friendly these days and people take their phones with them wherever they go. So why not use it to apply for jobs? Download these free apps and apply on the go!

Job Board Phone Apps
Known job boards that are now mobile friendly.

Indeed: The biggest job search engine in the world right now and it’s very user friendly on your mobile device. Receive job alerts straight to your phone and you can also upload your resume from there. If you see something suitable to your friend, there is a button for you to email it to them, again, through your phone.

CareerBuilder.com: The great thing about this app is that you can search jobs by description, keywords or salary. But that’s not all! It also allows you to search for job openings nearby with GPS capabilities.

BeKnown: A professional networking site launched by the popular job board, Monster. BeKnown is an app where you can view individual profiles, connect with them and see their recent updates. You can also use this app to search for jobs on Monster.com/ca

Social Media Phone Apps
People use LinkedIn so often that they may not think that it could be a very useful tool for job hunting.

LinkedIn: If you’re a LinkedIn user, you already know that there is a job board section       on their website. If you download the app, you can search jobs like you normally do on your computer. You can also save jobs to apply to them later and obviously connect with others wherever you go.

Twitter: Using proper hashtags (NOTE: Please hyperlink “Using proper hashtags to blog title “Social Media Series (Part 1)”] will narrow down your job search. A list of positions will appear in the “discover” section of Twitter on your phone. Use hashtags such as #jobs #hiring or #[position name].

Other Awesome Phone Apps
Primarily used on mobile devices.

TweetMyJobs: The cool thing about this app is that it uses the GPS to locate where you are on the map and automatically populates the map view with current jobs nearby. It then gives you the option to view it “as a map”, “street view” or “list view”. You can also select the “search range” for jobs, whether it’d be a 3 or 20-mile radius from your location.

Proven: Allows you to search and apply for jobs on Craigslist and Indeed on your phone and you can also upload your resume and cover letter. The app also attracts applicants.

JobServe: Your job search can get very specific by using this. You can search for jobs with a number of filters: how long the job has been posted, salary, industry, permanent, full-time or contract, location and keyword.