Networking Wave#2: Targeting Attractive Organizations

Your Career CompassTurning Opportunities In To Interviews… This topic represents what most people call ‘active job search, but, as you can learn, the HOW –TO is what creates your success in networking. It professes strategies and tactics that will generate more effective networking.  In your ‘first wave’ of networking you had the opportunity to:

  1. Reconnect with people you already know or have cause to know…
  2. In a non-threatening environment, confirm your positioning and get valuable input to your assessment and objective setting…
  3. Broaden your networking base, and gaining confidence in the process–a neat by-product that will serve you well for the rest of your career…
  4. Identify attractive opportunities, and targeted organization!

Thursday, May 5th… Turning Opportunities into INTERVIEWS:  Representing your ‘second wave’ of networking IN TO an organization


Pilot OnboardYou’ll be the first to know when you’re ready for ‘wave 2’ of networking… which, simply put, is networking your way in to attractive opportunities.  You will focus your activity and time management to the business of creating INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION with employees, customers, and vendors–the “stakeholders”– within and surrounding any targeted organization.

THE BASICS

So what are those basics that will allow you to effectively network to identify appropriate opportunities, and then secure the requisite INTERVIEWS in order to “close the deal?”

  1. Practice your two minute drill every chance you get…. it’s the fundamental building material of your communication strategy–your verbal collaterals!
  2. Practice your exit and qualification statements… most all potential employers and networking contacts will want to know your current situation and why you are available.
  3. Practice answering both common and tough questions… including pre-offer negotiation tactics. The most asked question during career transition is, “Tell me about yourself.” Appropriate use of your two-minute drill and related verbal strategies, your “verbal collaterals,” is a key ingredient to personal salesmanship…
  • A verbal resume… A tightly focused, upbeat telling of “your story” told in a high impact two minute format. With practice, can be easily personalized to your listener.
  • An “elevator pitch”… A succinct summary of your qualifications for a specifically positioned function or opportunity. With practice, can become quite spontaneous.
  • A qualification statement that can be used in introducing yourself

Let’s not forget a couple of additional ‘collaterals’ that will help you round out your ability to ‘get the word out’ and serve as evidence of your qualifications.

  1. Brag bytes… Wordcraft various collections of words, phrases and sentences to capture memorable moments or accomplishments–the best you have to offer. “…saved 80% cost-perhire…” Used in MSWord, ‘Quick Parts’ can be quite efficient when building high impact correspondence as well.
  2. Personal Portfolio… Your collection of certificates, examples of work, reference letters, etc that can bring life and interest (not to mention PROOF) to your story.

RESEARCHING TARGET Organizations and Attractive Positions

Step six in our 12-step Process, first level research will help you to identify attractive trends and targeted companies.  But, in THIS context, I suggest digging a bit deeper in order to help secure an interview… Learn as much as possible about the company, the potential opportunity, and the hiring authority–the person who has the budget authority to hire you. This is usually your next boss, but could be even higher in the chain of command.

Your research goals ought to include developing information about the company’s products, people, organizational structure, successes (and failures), profits (and losses), capital spending, strategic plans, philosophy and labor climate. Showing your knowledge of some of this information can give you added credibility over other candidates networking to, and actually interviewing for the job.

  • Research the company web site, looking for information relative to your function and level… a company’s financial and annual reports can provide clues to their stability and market share. Don’t forget directories, trade journals, the “business press,” and databases of articles and other news.
  • As part of your ‘second wave of networking,’ ask a friendly recruiter, business acquaintance or stockbroker what they know about the company… and by extension, call people with whom you have networked and ask what they know about the company
  • Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
  • Call the company directly; request a sales brochure, annual report or other company information. Companies have to market themselves, too, you know!

Telephone and Networking Skills

On a scale of passive to assertive => to aggressive, let’s take a look at how we could communicate direct to contacts in and surrounding a targeted organization…

Email…safe, but too easy to be deleted before a relationship is established. Requires follow-up.

LETTER of introduction… also safe, but read more often. Paves the way for a first call to a referral… creates dialog. Requires phone follow-up.

Phone call…direct… often a cold call… requires risk. Establishes contact, interaction and, worst case, VISIBILITY.

There’s only two reasons to be on the phone during active job search…

  1. Reconnecting with valid contacts, seeking their advice and information, sharing your communication strategy, and seeking referral activity…
  2. Securing actual interviews

Cover NOTE and resume… Rather than mindlessly applying to countless jobs, playing the numbers game; develop your networking style to motivate a person to request your resume.  When requested, resume gets read more often. Establishes relationship. Requires follow-through. Face2face office visit!

Launching and SUSTAINING An Effective Job Search

Your Career CompassAs a contact sport, networking is about interaction between sender and receiver, buyer and seller… job seeker and potential employers. The great news is that you get to start from YOUR ‘sweet spot’ or middle ground where all this interaction occurs the easiest!


Thursday, April 28th… Implementation of your PMP:  Are you conducting an efficient and productive job search?  A good session to start or refresh your efforts!


In your “first wave,” you should start with people that you already know or have some connection to. If your ‘natural network’ doesn’t have a regular meeting—most do not, by their very diverse nature—groups of like-minded people are easy to identify and attend.

As you begin to reach out and broaden your ‘sweet spot,’ be selective in your attempt to create a supportive ‘community’ grouping close to your targeted marketplace.  Networking within your targeted marketplace, your unique, job search ‘community’ should play a critical role in your Personal Marketing strategies. It is an easy means to getting the word out about your business to people who may purchase and influence others to purchase your service or goods.

** Note:   But just as with any other job search activity, we get what we put into it.

Pilot OnboardThat being said, local networking events are seeing record turnouts lately, a sign that leads us to believe the networking is paying off. A Local Networking Group is any organization, which meets on a regular basis, to share and receive referrals and leads. Examples of formal Local Networking groups for small and medium sized business include: BNI (Business Networking International), Merchants’ Associations, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Associations.

Some of the largest local organizations devoted to supporting job seeker efforts are  Frisco Connect, Cathedral of Hope, the Southlake Group, Watermark Church… to name just a few. Many are associated with church support organizations… but are completely nondenominational in their approach, operation and outreach.

WHAT to start with if you have a huge personal contact network to start with… great! Start by prioritizing your list into three sub categories… Seasoned networkers with terrific phone and interview skills will undoubtedly start their networking efforts at the “B” and “SEE” list levels… but for the ‘normal’ job seeker this represents pre-mature activity.

Use the earlier preparation steps, practice time, and your first several ‘baby steps’ to develop your effectiveness BEFORE having to perform for your best contacts. “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.” Further, try to avoid the temptation to respond to your sense of urgency in securing your next employment, with lack of adequate preparation and planning— the first seven steps—don’t be guilty of… “Ready… FIRE… Aim” It is as easy as a-b-c…

YOUR DISTRIBUTION NETWORK

Steps six and seven of our 12-step Process M.A.P., initial research and pulling together your initial contact list are in place to create focus to your efforts… What are the trends in the market that are attractive to you, and which target organizations are most needy of your value proposition?

Your evolving contact list will take you through the A-B-C’s of networking and the development of your distribution channels…

  1. Start with people you already know or have reason to “should know,” as they are the most likely to be receptive to your initial efforts.
  2. As you develop your network, identify key bridge contacts that can give you specific information or introduce you to key decision-makers and hiring authorities.
  3. Critical to your success is building relationships with people who can influence your hiring. This ‘must see’ list of influential contacts and hiring authorities is the epicenter of your job search campaign!

Creating a GREAT Resume

Your Career CompassAre you challenged in finding the right words for your resume? LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for you to use in self-assessment. Access the LinkedIn Profiles of other professionals like you… experiment by searching for a person like you in LinkedIn. Modify and improve your Personal Marketing Plan’s implementation model as needed… “Listen” to the marketplace, learning from it and adjusting your PMP accordingly.


Thursday, January 21st… Evolving In Sync Personal Marketing Collaterals: Your resume, et al


As you move through your search, make adjustments as you would a business model. Ask for input from people you respect. In order to market yourself, you must first know yourself. The job search process is essentially a highly personalized marketing process. The process started with your candid self-assessment, often integrating feedback from colleagues and supervisors who know you best. Or consider ‘interviewing’ incumbent professionals, those who have positions and roles that are attractive to you.

This explorative step allows you to gain a thorough and workable understanding of who you are in product marketing terms. Especially if you are starting a resume “from scratch”, or if you are truly unsettled on next steps along your career path, this becomes a necessary first step in the process. What YOU Do Best, and are motivated to do for a future employer… What do you do best? What are your strongest transferable skills? Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here. Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.

Pilot OnboardYOUR STARTING POINT

A GREAT RESUME REALITY THERAPY:

  1. There is no such thing as a perfect resume.
  2. If you seek editorial advice from 100 trusted colleagues, HR folks, or even highly skilled and experienced Career Consultants and resume writers… You will get 100 different pieces of editorial ‘advice.’
  3. Books and The Internet will allow you to choose between hundreds of ‘excellent templates,’ formats, and example resumes to FIT your positioning and targeting (read chaotic choice, here)
  4. The ideal resume CAN BE created for any JOB that posts a realistic set of requirements and an accurate job description.

However… A lesson that the marketplace has taught us over the years is that realistic requirements and accurate job descriptions are elusive, moving targets. That said, a GREAT resume, then, is a journey that SMART professionals choose to pursue for the rest of their career… NOT a destination sought before entering the marketplace during active job search.

Look at your “journey” like your own personal marketing LABORATORY—one in which you’ll spend significant time during active job search in order to develop an effective communication strategy and tactics. Be your own best Marketing Department… know the time tested, vital ingredients and components that you will need for your laboratory…

CONTACT INFORMATION

This component sounds like a ‘no brainer;’ however, even this basic requires some experimentation and choices. A great resume is written for the reader, not to please the writer. So, even YOUR NAME requires that you select exactly how you want your reader to access your background and credentials… Their ‘offer criteria.’

Your choices…

  • FULL legal name, including recognized credentials… or,
  • Your full name, including middle name or initial… or,
  • The name that you are usually called, potentially including… or,
  • A nickname (a rare choice for a professional resume)

YOUR MAILING ADDRESS also requires some choice. Does it potentially create a discrimination based on your ‘neighborhood’ or geography? In today’s digital world of recruitment, your actual residential address is rarely used until hired. So, you may elect to use just your city and state… or simply use your email address as a preferred method of contact. If hired, however, be prepared to give your employer more complete and accurate mailing address.

Make a choice of which PHONE NUMBER you want to use. The traditional stacking of home, office, and cell numbers gives you little control. Rather, select the single best number to reach you during normal working hours— remember your are writing for the reader. An alternative is using a number that can be forwarded to you, where-EVER you are.

…And what about your EMAIL ADDRESS? Please be aware that while your family and friends might enjoy communicating with you at ‘happymom@aol.com,’ you will be more professionally received at ‘JaneDoe1@gmail.com,’ one of your FREE alternatives. Google allows you to forward from an email address that you can create to present a more professional “brand” for yourself—for example… ‘QCPro@printmedia.com,’ an opportunity to express your positioning and targeted industry. You’ll want to create and control for accessibility during active job-search.

You thought these were going to be EASY choices?  Remember that, in the digital world of recruitment, your contact information is your best ‘unique identifier’ of who you are in the mega-databases out there.

POSITIONING STATEMENT

When a reader makes it through your contact information, in the top portion of a great resume they must have a clear picture of what you are motivated to do for them. In today’s digital world of optimized screening and recruitment, THE Careerpilot encourages a very simple, straight-forward approach—one example…

DISTRICT OPERATIONS MANAGER

Business Development | Operations Analysis | Project Management

Process Improvement | Quality Assurance | Staff Development

Note the ‘defining keywords.’  It would be ideal to edit your resume template to precisely FIT each job or employment opportunity’s title and requirements. However, this professional’s more generic template might start with the following positioning…

GENERAL MANAGEMENT

Strategic Planning… Operational Analysis… Manufacturing Process Improvement… Multi-unit Leadership… Customer Service

YOUR QUALIFICATION SUMMARY

Pardon this metaphor, but if the readers are attracted to the title of your story, isn’t it natural for them to look at the ‘table of contents’ or the chapter headings?  In a great resume, you make this reader’s choice EASY by supplying a high impact presentation of your qualifications.  As was the case of your positioning statement and keyword definition (above), your qualification summary can be presented in several attractive formats.

One of the more common and effective is a narrative paragraph the covers the depth, breadth, uniqueness, and a glance at your work ethic and personality FIT… all in 4- 5 tightly word-crafted sentences. For example, following the positioning above…

Successful general management professional with over fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in the (targeted) XX industry. Fully accountable roles have demonstrated consistent leadership in strategic planning, business development, operations analysis, multi-unit responsibilities, project management, process improvement, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction. Uniquely valued for team-building and staff development commitment. Solid reputation as a customer’s business partner and staff’s respected leader—listens, responds and implements effectively.

…more to follow

“Adjusting Your Sails…” Re-Charting Your Course When Faced With ‘the challenging waters of career transition.’

Have you ever had to take a step backward in your career, perhaps accept a lesser position or lower compensation? Or a step backward in the marketplace-deferring a near-term opportunity in favor of a longer-term one? The path forward isn’t always a straight line.  If you’ve ever gone backward in life you’ve probably found it difficult at best.


THIS Week’s session, Thursday, November 5th... Implementing Your PMP, including a look at LinkedIn Networking.  Remember that when you significantly change your positioning and branding statement (adjusting your sails) you are essentially re-starting your campaign.  Your ship can only follow one charted course!


As most of us are achievement oriented, we push forward, not backward. We look for ways to make progress, not digress. We don’t like the thought of giving up ground. Psychological studies confirm this.

  • We place more value on what we have than what they don’t have.
  • We will spend more money to keep something than to replace it.

Yet sometimes digressing or giving up something along our careerpath, at least temporarily, is exactly what we need in order to grow and succeed in the long-term. If we are currently in or approaching an unsustainable set of circumstances, we may need to stop and take a step backward.

Going backward can be a trivial decision or a life-changing one. It can involve a minor inconvenience or a major overhaul. It can be a brand new career or a slight role change.  The key is that it be OUR decision and not one thrust upon us by a soft job market.  When faced with the decision to keep forging ahead or taking a step backward, the first decision is “can I make what I’m currently doing work by continuing ahead?”

If your informed answer is “no” then the next question is “how far backward do I need to go?”  You generally wouldn’t need to go back to the very beginning or want to give up any more ground than you have to. Any amount of going backward can be tough, but starting over can be overwhelming.

You don’t need to build all new skills if you have existing skills you can leverage…can you spell transferrable skills and strengths?   Starting over may seem attractive, but it can create as many new problems as it appears to eliminate. While it may seem like the easiest option, it can be the laziest which is rarely the best.

When confronting difficult issues, address the source of them without creating unnecessary new ones. Keep what is working. Only go backward far enough to learn what needs to be learned and do what is needed to get back on track. Once addressed, refocus on going forward. Let go of your prior concerns. Accept that you had to take a step backward. It’s alright. It was actually part of a bigger step forward. As the cliché goes, just don’t throw out the baby with the dirty bath water… Keep the baby!

Consider what part of your life – professional or personal – may no longer be sustainable. Are you dealing with a chronic issue that is so debilitating that you can no longer ignore it?  Are conditions so challenging that you need to rechart your course… getting so difficult and complicated that the effort is no longer justifiable? Are your habits moving you further away from your desired future instead of toward it? Have the ‘next steps’ along your careerpath become so dysfunctional that you can no longer handle it?

Consider the following nautical wisdom…

The PESSIMISTS complain of challenging conditions…

                              The OPTIMISTS expect the conditions to change soon…

                                                          While the SKILLED Sailor simply adjusts his sails!

Back to ‘real life,’ now,  Ask yourself:

  • Has this situation gotten to the point that the effort is no longer justified for the return I am getting?
  • Would the time, money, and effort of going backward be repaid in a reasonable time frame if I chose to stop and go backward?
  • If I keep doing what I’ve been doing, will it merely exacerbate the situation?
  • Am I putting another temporary fix in place that doesn’t address the real issue?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your situation is a candidate for stopping whatever you are doing and taking a step backward. Rather than perpetuating your difficulty another day, release, cycle, or occurrence, accept responsibility for making a change.

Admit that maintaining the current direction isn’t sustainable. Rather than continue to treat symptoms, decide to address the source. Rather than maintain the troublesome status quo, identify what needs to change. Is it you? Probably. Is it also someone or something else?  Probably. Accept the need for change and rather than cover up, cope with, run from, or overlook the inevitable, decide to address it.

Once you have decided to stop and back-up, solicit the feedback and help of others… return to an informational networking approach in your job search, seeking wise counsel. Have the conversations that need to be had. Involve your key stakeholders. Do the research and analysis needed. Identify the issues to be addressed, learn any lessons to be learned, agree on the solution that solves the issues, and edit your Personal Marketing Plan to be implemented. Do what is needed to start heading in the direction that enables the future you desire.

Adjust your own sails!

Take heart. Most every great advancement was preceded by a step backwards. Most every success was preceded by a failure. Most every self-improvement was preceded by adversity. It is through mistakes and obstacles that we gain experience and grow.

OPTIMIZING Your Use of LinkedIn in Building Your Network

The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…  Where to begin?


Thursday, September 10th… A Linked-In Primer, Part II: Task #2, Building your network


The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions. That choice is LinkedIn.

Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and with more than 380 million users worldwide (110 Million + in the US), it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s how to build a network, leveraging your available time… and put it all to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.  I call this critical, rest of your career activity…

TASK#2: Building your network

Goal 1: As a beginner in LinkedIn, you’ll want to achieve your “tipping point” as soon as possible.  This is that magical ‘dotted line’ in your ‘connections’ count where you begin to benefit from organic growth of your network, with professionals you don’t already know inviting you to connect.

After you’ve created your profile, it’s time to begin to connect to others. LinkedIn will allow you to search for people you know to see if they’re already members. But once you connect to someone, you can also look at the profiles of anyone they know, and in turn anyone those people know.

Because of these three degrees of separation, your network can grow rapidly. Before you begin connecting, decide who you want to connect to. The low hanging fruit are people you already may have in your MSOutlook or Gmail contacts, alumni from your school, and employees of your current and past employers… Prioritize those who you feel are quite connected themselves, or influential in their profession or industry.

Goal 2: When you’re ready, begin to create and maintain your focus in developing your network.  Are you a gifted and available professional… or a motivated job seeker?  Stay focused.  Only connect with others who share your professional interests or are related to those interests in a complementary way… and can help you meet your goals.


I started with twenty contacts from my MSOutlook.  My first line has grown to well over five hundred by accepting and sending out INVITATIONS to people I know, are likely to be interactive within our network, or who could provide resources to me or the Candidates I serve… what’s really impressive is how this translates, numerically, into my second and third lines of contact… we’re talking, WOW!!! – The Careerpilot


Goal 3:  As you grow in confidence, and use of your social media network, consider the following…

  1. Check in on “Network Updates.” Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing.
  2. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. Connect with those who have viewed your profile if their might be mutual interest.
  3. Export connections. Transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system. LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and then scroll down and click “Export Connections.” You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file.
  4. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn. Speaking of connections, the “LinkedIn Companion for Firefox” is a great plugin that helps you identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who are emailing you. It also enables you to easily access other LinkedIn features via your browser.
  5. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Some groups have their own job boards.  Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities. Don’t forget to engage in the Discussions of a group… your activity will enhance your search ranking.
  6. Take advantage of advanced search options. LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you’re connected to anyone that works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then sort the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first or second degree connections to any employees.
  7. Link your Twitter acct to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account in your “settings” area.

THIS Week’s Session: A LinkedIn Primer… 8:45 AM On Thursday, August 27th at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison

Your Career Compass The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…

Where to begin? The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions. A terrific launching site for such an effort is LinkedIn. Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy…However, it can be accomplished  without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.


Thursday, August 27th… A LinkedIn PRIMER (back by popular demand!)


In this week’s session we will explore LinkedIn in general, getting down to the business of developing a high-impact Profile… Your TASK#1  … 

Pilot Onboard While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It becomes the core of this high tech-high TOUCH, written collateral.

As you proceed, keep your goal in mind…

  • Do you want to have that fully optimized, SEO-centric magnet that attracts interested parties TO you?…Let’s call this PULL Marketing  -OR-
  • Do you want that terrific, user-friendly home page and profile that is easy for a reader to navigate?… Let’s call this PUSH Marketing  -OR-
  • Do you want your profile and homepage to be appealing to both?

A checklist of things to include:

  1. A picture. It’s been said that, “People do business with people.”
  2. A specific and high impact “headline” with keywords relevant to your industry… your headline follows you around through several of the interactive applications.
  3. Preferred contact method and data… At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone.
  4. Desired information, networking “targets… What you want to be contacted about… At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities. Be sure to update your profile to stay in synch with your career.

…and don’t overlook the “power” of recommendations… start thinking of who you might want to encourage to endorse you and your services.  Job seekers: your references are a great start to a powerful, influential network!

You’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

POSITIONING Yourself

Just like on a GREAT RESUME, directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you. Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry? Then a simple, title-oriented headline like “Senior Product Development Director at The XYX Corporation” is best.

Are you seeking to branch out into other areas? “Leader of High-Performing Engineering Projects” alerts others quickly to the value you would bring to an organization. Regardless of how you phrase your headline, make sure to use keywords that will help others find you.

… BE CLEAR on What You’ve Done, and What You Want to Do…

Whether you are an active job seeker, or simply using LinkedIn to extend the reach of your personal marketing plan, POSITIONING yourself clearly is the epicenter of efficient networking… just as if you were beginning to launch an active JOB search to implement your Personal Marketing Plan!

When listing your past job experiences, use verbs as much as possible. Show what you’re passionate about, and what you’ve learned from each job. Consider listing “non-jobs” you’ve done, like chairing a conference or leading a panel.

THIS WEEK’s Workshop: Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan… Thursday, August 20th, 8:45 AM @ The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison

Your Career CompassNETWORKING

Building a network is a vital part of today’s strategic career development. Each planned contact can lead to others if you ask the right questions and explore the possibilities.  Networking is a two-way street, sometimes with you, the information seeker, being able to provide information to the same person from whom you are seeking it, and at other times being a source of information to other people. In order to get information from others, we must be a good source of information. All it takes is being willing to share information, ideas and resources.  It’s the INTER-ACTIVE, front-end of relationship building.


On Thursday, August 20th, we will be taking a long look at developing an effective PLAN… Your Personal Marketing Plan.  Our focus is on effective time management to create focus and efficiency in job search efforts.


To put it another way, “What goes around, comes around.”  A network is not something you establish overnight. It requires work and time, but the rewards are incalculable.

Pilot Onboard  If employed, be aware of confidentiality issues and scale down your efforts accordingly (There is an excellent article inside of LinkedIn: Conducting a STEALTH Job Search).  If you are unemployed and in active job search mode, and do not have a good network already in place, there are several ways you can begin to build one.

  1. Start with people you know from previous employment.    However, most jobs are not found at the first level of networking.  In fact, very few jobs are found simply by calling the people you know.
  2. Constantly build the layers of your network.  Even at the second level, the number of job openings you will find is still modest. Networking does not usually start to pay off until about the third level, and sometimes even beyond that.
  3. Attend professional association meetings and network.   Most of us probably work in a line of work that has a national professional association to which we could belong, and most of these associations have local chapters.Get the Most From Networking…

Remember TIME MANAGEMENT…

Allow for regular time in LinkedIn in order to direct and focus your networking activity.

Make networking calls in a block of time.  Each call is more comfortable than the one before. Do not call people and ask them if they have any openings at their company… This is almost always totally non-productive.

Be sure to ask the person if they have a minute to talk to you, and when finished talking thank them for their time.

Who Should Attend this value-packed Workshop?

  1. Anyone who wants to create a strategic plan for the rest of their working life… job changes will occur!
  2. Job seekers who find themselves in a rut…rapidly crashing into the black hole of depression
  3. Any job seeker looking to create focus within their search efforts
  4. Any professional to give substance to their next steps
  5. Newcomers to DFWCareerpilot… including tire-kickers

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Turning Opportunities Into INTERVIEWS: TARGET ORGANIZATION NETWORKING

Starting with your ‘offer criteria’ created in Step Two of our 12-Step Career Transition Process, let’s assume that your research and early networking efforts have allowed you to develop your INITIAL Target Organization List. Some of the more common reasons for an organization to make your initial List are:

  • They ‘do’ what you are good at and find to be desired employment
  • Their size and culture make them a good careerFIT for your future years of employment and location
  • They are ‘geographically desirable’
  • They’re involved with a trend in the marketplace that you find attractive

Because the approach described below will involve networking with people that you do not know YET, the dreaded ‘cold call,’ Let’s further assume that you have already created some visibility in the marketplace (see ‘wave one,’ personal contact network development) and have gained confidence in your networking skills.


This week’s session: Turning Opportunitities Into INTERVIEWS.  8:45 AM at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison


Your next step is to begin to identify key individuals in and around your target organizations that can influence the success of your approach to those organizations.  Remembering some of your lessons learned in your initial personal contact network development…

  1. Your “A List” of people you already know (or have cause to know), have worked with, or in any way have interacted with in ‘real life.’
  2. Your “B List” is comprised of those people who can refer (or Bridge) you to more appropriate contacts in and around your target organizations.
  3. Your “C List” becomes that select network of people who can influence your getting hired, individuals that can hire you… these are individuals that you must connect with, must interact with… must build a relationship with, in order to get hired. Think of them as your MUST SEE List!

In the interest of time, phone calls are your best approach to a person.  Take the time to be prepared for a well-received, productive call.  A bit more passive approach, but often eliminating the ‘black hole of voicemail.’ Is a two-step approach. First, send a LETTER of Introduction or email, and then a few days later make a follow-up phone call. Who is it that you want to speak with?  Consider what level of connection you have (if any) to the people you want to inter-act with. Did someone give you their name, or did you research or find it online yourself – and if so, how?

The absolute best level of connection is a personal referral. If you meet with someone who gives you a name in a target company and says “use my name” – then you’re golden! The higher up the food chain your referring contact is, the better your response is likely to be.

The next best level of connection is a common group or association – for example, you both belong to the same LinkedIn industry-specific group or Professional Association, or you both went to the same college, etc. (By the way – joining LinkedIn Groups specific to your niche is a great way to find people on your target list!)

The third level of connection is simply that you share a common industry or profession. The two-step approach is essentially the same for all levels of connections … but the opening section would be modified according to which level of connection you are approaching.

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THIS Week’s Special Event: A LinkedIn PRIMER… 8:45 AM, Thursday, July 2nd at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison

If you have already set up your basic “footprint” in LinkedIn, your TASK#1 is to make a simple decision… do you want to use LinkedIn…

  • To PUSH your story out to the marketplace?… PUSH Strategies can help you harness the power of direct marketing. Or
  • To PULL interested individuals and potential employers to you?… PULL Strategies will help you to optimize your SEO, using concentrated keywords to draw people to your Profile. Or
  • For BOTH Push and Pull strategies to get the best of both worlds of personal marketing and branding activity. Draw people to your Profile with focused used of keywords, but keeping it narrative and interesting enough to make your story more ‘reader-friendly.’

TASK#1

Your FIRST task is to set-up your basic profile information… note that in our twelve step process, this comes after developing your (initial) Market-Ready resume and validating it by ‘coaching’ your References.

For your first pass at a Profile, go to the top navigation bar and select Profile/ edit profile… all editable elements will have a pen icon that lights up when you move your cursor over…

  • Your Headline… THE Prime Real Estate that search engines look at first, and that follows you around everywhere you go in LinkedIn. Start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume’s contact information and Positioning Statement (including defining KEYWORDS)
  • Your Qualification SUMMARY… the place search engines look second (are they in the right neighborhood?) Again, start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume text.
  • Your Professional Experience… This is the ‘meat’ of your story and is easily centered on your KEYWORD strategies. Once again, start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume text.
  • Your formal Education and Training… Again, start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume text.

AS A START, Yes, your LinkedIn Profile is a direct reflection of your resume!  DEVELOP YOUR DIGITAL BRAND by making the PUSH/PULL decision mentioned above and adding to your basic communication strategy appropriately.

TASK#2

How do I use Linked-In for my job search? LinkedIn is a powerful search engine. Last year over 5 billion searches were done Linked-In.

To get started with digital search for the right employment, go to the tool bar on top with the Linked-In logo; there is a search box, a magnifying glass on a blue tab and an advanced tab. Click the advanced tab and it opens a screen with the option of searching for People or Jobs, the default setting for people. Using the advanced tab allows you customize your search. In the keywords filed, enter your search terms, for example, “mortgage underwriter,”  your zip code and 25 miles from your zip code (generally the distance most people are willing to commute to work) it returns a list of people with those terms in your network.  If you click on the jobs tab and enter “mortgage underwriter”, your zip code and 25 miles from your zip code it returns a list of all the jobs posted on Linked-In within 25 miles of your zip code.

The dropdown menu at the top left allows you to further customize your search by a person’s name, title, company and other search criteria. On the jobs tab, simply listing a company, your zip code and 25 miles, if will return all of the positions posted on Linked-In at that company.

One last point on searches: once you have run a search, and it’s one you want to save, click on the “save search” next to a gear wheel in the upper right corner of the search screen. Name the search & select the delivery option – daily or weekly – the saved search becomes a search agent that will return any new jobs posted since your last search on a daily or weekly basis. And it’s possible to have multiple saved searches & search agents with different search terms.

Stay tuned to this blog for Task#3

NEXT WEEK: A Special Event, A LinkedIn PRIMER… 8:45 AM, Thursday, July 2nd at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison

LINKED-IN – Who, What, Why, How?

What is Linked-In? Linked-In is a part of the vast social media available to us all, and is the preferred professional site. LinkedIn is about your personal BRANDING, as seen in a well-developed profile or it can be used as a business page; Where Facebook is about connecting and identity (connecting with family and friends and sharing ‘life’); and Twitter is about events (…and sharing ‘life’).

Who is on Linked-In? Over 288,000,000 members worldwide and that number grows DAILY!!  You can participate as an individual or as part of specific Groups.

Why should I use it? LinkedIn is the best way to connect with people and organizations who could potentially hire you. A recent survey indicated that over 75% of Linked-In users indicated it helped them learn about people & companies. This is useful before making contact with someone for an informational interview or in preparing for a job interview, since you want to know about the person interviewing you. It’s helpful for finding connection points on areas of common interest.  In a single word, it’s like your ROADMAP to efficient networking activity.

If I am not on Linked-IN, how do I become a member? Enter www.linkedin.com in your Internet browser and register as a new member. If you have already set up your basic “footprint” in LinkedIn, your TASK#1 is to make a simple decision… do you want to use LinkedIn…

  • To PUSH your story out to the marketplace?… PUSH Strategies can help you harness the power of direct marketing. Or
  • To PULL interested individuals and potential employers to you?… PULL Strategies will help you to optimize your SEO, using concentrated keywords to draw people to your Profile. Or
  • For BOTH Push and Pull strategies to get the best of both worlds of personal marketing and branding activity. Draw people to your Profile with focused used of keywords, but keeping it narrative and interesting enough to make your story more ‘reader-friendly.’

TASK#1

Your FIRST task is to set-up your basic profile information… note that in our twelve step process, this comes after developing your (initial) Market-Ready resume and validating it by ‘coaching’ your References.

For your first pass at a Profile, go to the top navigation bar and select Profile/ edit profile… all editable elements will have a pen icon that lights up when you move your cursor over…

  • Your Headline… THE Prime Real Estate that search engines look at first, and that follows you around everywhere you go in LinkedIn. Start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume’s contact information and Positioning Statement (including defining KEYWORDS)
  • Your Qualification SUMMARY… the place search engines look second (are they in the right neighborhood?) Again, start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume text.
  • Your Professional Experience… This is the ‘meat’ of your story and is easily centered on your KEYWORD strategies. Once again, start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume text.
  • Your formal Education and Training… Again, start by simply cutting and pasting from your resume text.

AS A START, Yes, your LinkedIn Profile is a direct reflection of your resume!

DEVELOP YOUR DIGITAL BRAND by making the PUSH/PULL decision mentioned above and adding to your basic communication strategy appropriately.

Stay tuned to this blog for TASK#2