Tag Archives: networking

LinkedIn and the AggieNetwork

The value of LinkedIn has increased yet again.  Now that LinkedIn has partnered with colleges and universities to launch the “Alumni” piece, school connections and networking are skyrocketing.  As a Former Student (that is what we call ourselves) of Texas A&M University and a current Career Coach at this dear institution, I could not be happier to see this partnership blossom.  Texas A&M University knows the value of current and former student networking.  Our Association of Former Students does an amazing job keeping our Aggie family strong.  Anywhere you travel in the world, the Aggie Ring is easily noticed.  So why not take it virtual.  These types of partnerships between colleges and universities and LinkedIn are growing everyday.

Of course Texas A&M has a website for alumni which also provides opportunities to connect with fellow current and former students, but the partnership with LinkedIn has taken it to a whole new level.  You can now connect your LinkedIn URL and profile to your AggieNetwork account.  In addition, I can go to LinkedIn and find Aggies through this resource using their Alumni section.  My online Rolodex just got even stronger.  We still share business cards, but gone is the day of worrying about maintaining an up to date physical Rolodex.

There is a saying here at A&M that Aggies love to hire Aggies, and I’m sure other schools feel the same about their own schools.   When you become a student at A&M, you join a network that is thousands and thousands strong.  Tapping into the AggieNetwork for any current job seeker is imperative.  It is widely known that networking is the best way to find a job.  The AggieNetwork builds and strengthens relationships between current and former students.   This Network has proven time and time again that employed Aggies love to help current students achieve their career goals.  Let this Network work for you and return the favor once employed by paying it forward to our future students.

Before you stop reading my blog today, please do the following:

1.  Log into the AggieNetwork (or your collegiate alumni organization) and connect with your LinkedIn account if this feature is available.

2.  Log into your LinkedIn account, click on Network, and click on Find Alumni.

3.  Reach out alumni based on your interests and goals, connect for guidance and networking, and build your professional presence.

 

These Are a Few of My Favorite Blogs

You are going to spend the rest of the day humming this beloved song from the Sound of Music in your head like me aren’t you?  Today I want to say thank you to just of few of my favorite bloggers for their insites and inspiration they have instilled in my personal and professional life.

Diane Gottsman: Modern Manners and Etiquette Expert.   Diane is also the owner of the Protocol School of Texas and author of Pearls of Polish.  The devil is found in the details of life.  Diane’s excellent advice stomps the devil out of poor manners and elevates professional etiquette to help today’s career manager truly excel.   Diane’s guidance helps readers learn how to positively stand out in business by simply demonstrating respecful manners.  Please follow Diane via Twitter @dianegottsman

The Savvy Intern by YouTern  Anyone seeking an internship or seeking to hire an intern must subscribe to the Savvy Intern sponsored by YouTern.  I found this blog of resources by following a Twitter chat recommended to me by a colleague.  #InternPro can be found each Monday night.  In addition to the chat, please add this blog to your daily reads to receive targeted advice concerning the internship job search.  Please follow YouTern via Twitter @YouTern

Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter  Social media heavily factors into an effective job search.  In addition to reading Miriam’s blog, please search for her on the US News career blog.  Creating a professional and branded online presence has become a key strategy for a successful job search. In addition to her overall stellar career coaching accomplishments, Miriam provides the best social networking guidance for job seekers and career managers.   While visiting her website, please take a close look at the career books she has authored and co-authored.  You can also follow Miriam via Twitter @keppie_careers

Bottom Line Ethics by Dr. Michael Shaub.  Dr. Shaub is a professor here in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M.  This authentic blog catches the eyes and hearts of each reader covering numerous topics that center around the same subject: Ethics!  I invite you to read Dr. Shaub’s insights into the varying subjects and news events.  I am amazed at the numerous POSTIVE comments he receives for each blog entry.  His former students can easily be labeled as his fans.  I promise you will subscribe and look forward to the journey of each blog post.  Bottom Line Ethics will entertain you and teach you life-long lessons that you will never forget.  You can find Dr. Shaub on Twitter @mikeshaub

Personal Branding by Dan Schwabel  If you struggle with answering the question “Tell Me About Yourself” then you cannot afford not to check out Dan’s blog and resources.  His book, Me 2.0, outlines a four step process towards creating an effective and results-driven brand for individuals.  You can find Dan featured in numerous networks and blogs.  Dan is a GenY expert; however, his message crosses generations.  Please follow Dan on Twitter @DanSchawbel

I could go on and on listing other blogs and resources, but I thought I would limit my list today.   This list of five excellent resources will provide information and guidance with etiquette, internships, social networking, ethical behavior, and branding.  Best wishes!

 

 

 

Discussing Salary in Information Interviews

I’m often asked by job seekers when it is an appropriate time to discuss salary in the job search.   Let me start by stating when it is absolutely not appropriate to discuss salary and that is during the information interview.  A job seeker gathers a great deal of information during the search and salary is included on that list; however, an information interview is an inappropriate time to discuss money.

The purpose of an information interview is to gather information about a company, industry, profession, etc.  While salary is an extremely important topic, it’s often considered rude when discussed too early.  Consider these reasons why you should never discuss salary during an information interview:

1.  Poor Marketing Message:  If you are working to increase your network and market your value  to potential employers, your message should focus on what you can do as opposed to what you want.   We all want to be paid adequately for the services we provide; however, salary is a very sensitive topic.  Your first order of business is to sell your ability to bring value to a potential company or profession.  Get the professional contact in your corner first based on what you can do.

2.  Lack of Authenticity:     When a job seeker asks networking contacts about salary, it sends the wrong message as to the authenticity of the reason an information interview was requested.  Salary information can be found through numerous channels including websites and HR representatives.  Information interviews should be used to gather information not readily available which might include best practices for navigating through a company or career.

3.   Barking up the Wrong Tree:  Most of the time, a networking contact is unable to tell you about salaries.  The subject of salary is a moving target.  Salary ranges can vary a great deal depending on industry, company, location and experience level.  More importantly, your reason for talking with a networking contact is for professional information.  Do not spend your precious time asking about salary.  It’s a question most networking contacts cannot and will not answer.

Do not confuse the goal of your job search with one of your desired results.  As a job seeker, and hopefully a professional job seeker, your goal is to secure a fulfilling position that provides you the opportunity prove your value.  Salary should always be discussed in the job search process, but an information interview is one of the first steps in the process.  It’s like discussing marriage on a first date.  You do not want to scare away your potential networking contacts.  People you talk with during your job search will hopefully become esteemed colleagues and mentors of yours in the future.  Don’t blow it!

Why Job Seekers Should Tweet

For those of you who think Twitter is the energy drink form of Facebook, please think again.   While I agree there are thousands upon thousands of people who “tweet” every thought that comes into their heads, business takes advantage of this Social Media site for an entirely different reason.  News, sports, and business organizations use Twitter to send information out to the public at a faster rate that any other source in the past.  A trending topic can go viral within seconds of release.   Twitter’s 140 character format has introduced an entirely different way in which we can gather information and, for that matter, communicate with one another.

Like many other naysayers, I created my Twitter account as soon as I heard about this new service.  I logged in for the first time and logged back out after five minutes.  I didn’t log back into my account for several months.  I was overwelmed and could not figure out how Twitter could be of use to me.  I had Facebook.  I had LinkedIn.  What more did I need?  Boy, was I wrong.

Facebook is our online family, high school and college reunion all wrapped into one.   Businesses are starting to take advantage of Facebook too which has added a whole new dimension to this form of Social Networking.

LinkedIn as I often call it, is our online Rolodex.  What a better way to stay connected with colleagues, carry on business conversations, and reach out to new people in business today.

So what about Twitter?  How can Twitter help a job seeker?  We see the people who use this platform for a place to share their unfiltered thoughts.  To each his own I suppose.  But, professionals use Twitter to share information.  Business also uses Twitter to share job opportunities.  Twitter is a great opportunity for job seekers to find out information at a moment’s notice.  And you can easily reply back to organizations without having to wait for your invitation request to be accepted.  Instant.  And you would be very surprised at the number of companies that respond back and even cross reference job applicants with those who communicate with them via social networking platforms.

Another feature of Twitter that is probably my favorite of all is the #hashtag search capability.  Twitter has created this capability not just to search for topics but also carry on conversations with those interested in the same subject.  Twitter chats have become extremely populary for job seekers.  These chats allow candid question and answer conversations.  #InternPro, #jobhuntchat, #careerchat, #genychat, #hfchat, and #internchat are some of my favorites.  Please stay tuned to my next blog when I will be discussing each of these Twitter chats in more detail.

Twitter provides a platform for job seekers to seek out the most respected advice, job opportunities, information on prospective employers and much more in just a few seconds.   The value of Twitter needs no further explanation.  Simply put, job seekers and serious career managers must use Twitter in today’s job market.

Never underestimate the power of Tweeting your way to a great job.

High Tech / High Touch Job Search

How many of you remember the first time you applied for a job?  If you are like me, you didn’t have the internet.  You had to leave your home and “pound the pavement.”  For my first job, I had to physically walk into a business and ask for an application.  If I was going to go out and look for a job, I had to also dress the part.  In addition, I wanted an office job, so that meant I had to wear a dress with hosiery and heels.  I will never forget how nervous I was to walk through the front door of that office building and ask the receptionist for an application.  After What a frightening and exhausting experience.

The reason for my walk down memory lane is not to bore you with my history but to set the stage for an illustration of how the “internet” has changed the way we seek employment.  Today’s job seeker does not even consider my “old fashioned” way of finding a job.  Today’s job seeker typically starts out in front of a home computer.

While I understand it takes a great deal of time to complete online profiles with the companies where you submit a resume, I urge everyone to only use the Internet to research and apply for positions only.  What sets today’s job seeker apart from the thousands who only apply online is good old fashioned human interaction or as we call it today, networking.

The High Tech portion of our job search should consist of research and submitting necessary documents for positions.  The element of High Touch in the job search closes the deal.  Reach out to those in your professional field, college alumni, or other networks to build professional relationships.  Ask for guidance and direction.   Reach out to professional groups through LinkedIn, blogs, and face-to-face meetings in your area.  Become known in your profession and help employers find you.

Technology has become a very important component for today’s job seekers, but its use should be to enhance your job search research.  An “apply online” only approach rarely closes the deal.  How often do you hear job seekers say they applied for multiple positions online and not receive one interview in return?  Technology’s role in the job search is not to replace good old fashioned interaction.   Technology and human interaction must go hand-in-hand in order to successfully conduct an effective job search.

 

21 Day Job Search Improvement Challenge

Happy New Year!!!!

As I sit down to write my first blog for 2013, my thoughts go back to the last blog I wrote for 2012.  Your Job Search Resolutions for 2013  In that entry, I talked about challenging yourself to resolutions that will improve your job search practices.  Please reread the suggestions I outline.  I hope a few make their way into your job search plan this year.

Studies show that you can create a habit if you continue something for 21 days — some good and some not so good.   Today’s generation uses the word “like” at least once in almost every sentence.  They didn’t start this habit overnight, and they won’t stop overnight either.  It takes time — 21 days.  I challenge you to take the next 21 days and change some of your bad job search habits.  Here are a few recommendations:

1.  Manage your jobsearch part time not in your free time.  Let’s face it, we do not have free time.  Saying that you will do something in your free time just doesn’t happen anymore.   Maybe you need to treat your job search like a class period or maybe you can just mark time on your calendar easily and stick to the schedule.  Whatever you do, you have to plan your work and work your plan.  You can’t just plan to work out and get in shape.  You have to actually work out.  So, schedule time for your job search and stick to that time doing something productive.  Do that for 21 days in a row.

2.  Emphasize a high touch / high tech balanced job search.  If you only apply to positions online, your chances of failure are extremely high.  You must network your way to key hiring managers in the organizations to succeed.  It is difficult to find the right person who knows about the position in which you applied and can get you to the right hiring manager.  But, you can’t ignore that the number one way vacant positions are filled is through inside direct referrals.  Does it take a long time to complete the online application?  Yes.  Does it take time, effort and perseverance to network effectively?  Yes.  Does it get frustrating?  Absolutely.  Nonetheless, you have to measure your career goal against the time you are willing to put into reaching this goal.  Maintain this balance for 21 days.

3.  Stop sounding desperate.  When you have bills piling up, getting a paycheck is the goal.  When you need a job, you need a job.  But, keep in mind that hiring decisions are made the same way you shop.  Have you ever purchased something because the vendor needs your business?  Would you hire a chef to rewire your home for electricity because that company needs your business? Of course not.  You would hire a company that specializes in fulfilling your needs.  Be very careful in marketing yourself as a jack of all trades lest you be known as an expert of nothing.  We purchase and hire excellence.  If you find yourself telling people you can do anything, then I challenge you to redesign your job search marketing plan.  Do this for 21 days.

In order for you to break your old job search habits, you must first accept your plan in the past isn’t working for you.  Maybe you have been able to apply online and get a job in the past.  Maybe you are from cultures that focus on placement as opposed to personal branding to succeed.  Whatever your past experience, anyone wanting to climb the corporate ladder must accept that with a more advanced career will come a more advanced process in managing your career.

Are you up for breaking your old habits and taking the 21 Day Job Search Improvement Challenge?

 

 

Your Job Search Resolutions for 2013

I’m sure anyone reading the title of today’s blog is thinking, “Cindy, my job search resolution is to get a job plain and simple.”  Maybe you’ve got me there, but I’m talking about something a little different.

We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.  Ask yourself if you have fallen into “insanity” when it comes to your job search.  Are you are continually applying for jobs online and receiving no response or reaching out to create a professional network with no success?  Will people connect with you on LinkedIn but never respond to your messages?

Before restarting your job search for 2013, follow these suggestions and stop the insanity.

Online Applications:  Too often job seekers, and yes some recruiters, use this resource as the only step in seeking employment or job candidates.  Please do not only apply online.  The probability you will be noticed and receive a call for an interview is slim.  Yes, please create a profile online and submit a resume for a position online, but also be sure to tap into key people within the organization and department.  LinkedIn Groups, company pages on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as professional associations provide options for real networking that will help you introduce your resume that is sitting in the company’s online applicant tracking system.

Creating an Effective Professional Network:  Younger job seekers probably do not have a close professional network of hiring managers.  What they probably have instead is an indirect network of people in these positions that come from family members, bosses and professors.  Let the “six degrees of separation” concept work for you.  Who do you know who might know someone who knows people in the areas of your interest?

No One Will Return Your Messages:  Before you say that reaching out to people through LinkedIn or other similar resources doesn’t work ask yourself a very basic question.  Could the email or message you are sending need some editing?   Are you asking the right question? Are you saying the wrong things in your message?  Do you have any errors in your message?  Did you research to make sure this is the best way to connect with a person?  I always tell my students and clients to look at a person’s LinkedIn profile before expecting a response.  If your target contact doesn’t have a photo on their page, updated information or a connection list of more than 75-100 then you can about bet this person does not use LinkedIn very often.  LinkedIn won’t be a good resource for you to use in connecting with this person.  Think insanity here:  don’t do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.  If someone does not use LinkedIn, then they probably won’t respond to your LinkedIn messages right?  On the other hand, maybe this person uses LinkedIn and not email.  Just like the Boy and Girl Scouts, BE PREPARED for anything.

As 2012 closes, ask yourself if you have been doing the same things with your job search with no success.  Just like any resolution, did you start out start and fizzle quickly?  Could something be missing from what you are doing?  Could you be doing something wrong?  Look at the basics and create a new plan to start 2013 and have a successful job search.