I get that a lot. When I tell clients that one of the key facets of their plan is meeting people, I see the dread and apprehension rise to their eyes. Introverts, especially, would rather hide at home and send online applications.
I try to break the news gently. Then I give them some tips to make it easier. I will share some of those with you! I attended a lunch-n-learn this afternoon and heard two people I greatly respect - Hannah Botkin-Doty and Chad Draheim, attorneys at Artz, Dewhirst and Wheeler - talking about this topic to a group of law students. Here's some advice from them and from me:
1. Set a goal before you go: how many people you will talk to, how many cards you will collect. When you meet the goal, you're free to go.
2. Ask the other person some questions about them. People love to talk about themselves. And they probably will ask you questions about yourself.
3. Save the cards you collect and write on each a few notes about the person so you don't forget who they are! If you don't exchange cards, then get on LinkedIn right there at the event, and mutually connect.
4. Bring a friend to the event. It will help you feel less conspicuous and give you someone to default to if you find yourself standing alone for a minute.
5. Tell people you're looking for work. You don't have to shout it to the room, or even make it the first thing you say. But at some point, let it be known. Because if you don't tell people, they can't help.
6. Don't talk too long. A few minutes is enough. If you need to, jump in to thank them for the chat and tell them, "I'm going to circulate now." Then step away.
7. After the event, message the people who met. Tell them how nice it was to meet them, and suggest having coffee.
For 1:1 networking:
1. Know the person before you meet. Look them up online, find out what they do, what their interests are.
2. Start the conversation by asking what they have been up to that day, or what they thought of the football or hockey game - or some other light topic. Then let the conversation flow from that. Ask them about how they got into their current professional role.
3. Answer their questions. Talk a bit about yourself and what you've been doing. Tell them you're looking for a new role, and for any recommendations of organizations you should be involved in, or people you should know.
4. Keep the meeting to an hour or less. Afterward, thank them in person, and later, via email or with a personal mailed note (ask for their card!).
5. Keep in touch by offering value: sharing an interesting article in their field area; congratulating them on a business award or promotion; etc. Don't overdo it, but don't merely abandon the connection, either.
6. Ask them if they can let you know if they hear about any openings in your area. This could lead to news about an opening at their company! You never know...
I hope this helps! Networking can be enjoyable. And you never know where it will lead. You could help someone else as much as receiving help.
You found your dream job.
For a while, it was wonderful.
Then a new boss took the helm.
A bully boss.
At first, you didn’t believe it could be true. But as time wore on, you realized that the way this person spoke to you, the judgment you received, and the demands on your time were beyond reason.
You tried to figure it out. You scheduled meetings with your boss. You asked for clearer direction.
Things got worse.
It wasn’t easy, but you quit.
Now, you’re looking for something new, a fresh start, a place to contribute your talents. The sky is bluer and the outlook sunny.
Or so you’re told.
But you still feel awful.
Everyone tells you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get your resumes out! Only, you feel completely discouraged and even though you smile and look busy, deep down, you feel that no one will hire you; that they will see what your boss saw and laugh at you.
What you’re feeling is normal. It’s the sort of PTSD that those of us who have lived through workplace bullying experience after leaving a toxic situation – and it’s real. Here’s some advice from the Workplace Bullying Institute that might help you recover:
I get this question a LOT. It seems that over the past several decades advice on the topic of resume length has varied. I've had clients absolutely insist that they must not exceed three pages. Others jump right in and write a novel
The truth is that length isn't the issue so much as quality. Your document should be a cohesive and succinct overview of your greatest accomplishments and most valuable skills. It should declare briefly and compellingly what you are known for and how you have demonstrated that in the jobs you've held.
Your resume needs an easy-to-read format. It should contain bullet points, used judiciously. The font should be easy to read. There should be enough white space to ensure it doesn't look cluttered.
It should say enough to communicate your point, without going on too long.
Keep in mind that you are in control. You can decide what to include and how to phrase it, and where to place the information. The goal is to ensure the reader can instantly see that you fit the company's needs and why. The goal is simply this: To show you as a candidate worthy of an interview.
It's not as complicated as you think. Give me a call and I can give you additional pointers.
One of my clients is an executive who is used to dwelling in the details. His whole job is about numbers and what they say and what that information can lead him to improve. So when he talks about himself, it's natural that he thinks of the details of all of his various jobs. When asked to describe his work, he talks about the individual decisions he has to make each day and the way he works with other departments to make those decisions, and the earnings that various decisions led to.
That's how his mind works, and it's a valuable skill in his line of work. In fact, it's the core of what the companies on his list are looking for.
Still, I find myself asking: Okay. So what do all those decisions mean? What's the big goal? Why did you make the decisions? Where was it all leading? What happened?
Will the interviewer be able to see who he actually is, and not just a spreadsheet of information?
Everyone who applies for his line of work will have the same core skills. He, and they, could walk into that company tomorrow and be equally as proficient at identifying problems and recommending solutions.
The differentiating factor will lie in how the company views him as a whole person. Most companies will hire based on "fit" with the culture. They already know that you can do the job. They are looking for that special something that defines how you behave with others; how your mind works; how you fit into the big picture.
The answer is Story. He has one. We all do. They are all different. That's why I told him it's critical that he decide what it is and how to tell it.
What do I mean by "story?" I mean that we all have core values that govern our decisions, and those values play out at home and at work. They are our motivations for choices we make; for paths we take.
In his case, it's his drive to find reasons why something isn't working, be it a process, or a machine, or a policy - but it's also his respect of others. He solves problems, and he does it by engaging people to help. He doesn't micromanage. He inspires. This information can help him stand out among other detail-oriented leaders who don't take the time to value their people.
He has many stories showing how this has worked in his many leadership positions. I coached him to pick one. When asked to talk about himself, he can use it as an introduction.
I also coached him to find stories that illustrate other aspects of his "super powers" in his industry. He will use those to answer other interview questions, as examples of how he has been able to rise to the occasion, recover from missteps, and other aspects of everyday professional life.
The process was energizing for us both. I learned a lot about why he's so good at his job, and why his way of thinking is so valuable for an organization. He found a different way (a more engaging way) to frame necessary information.
Interviewers like stories. Stories follow trajectories. They contain human details. They are so much less rote (less boring) than what's on a resume. They also showcase a candidate's ability to frame information in various ways.
My client's serious expression lightened. It was good to see. The job search can wear anyone down. He left our session eager to find more ways to talk about his value.
Don't you deserve a new way of looking at your value?
Contact me at 614-746-4587. Let's write your story.