Networking

The Black Hole: You Aren't Alone

By Derik Abbott

One of the most common pain points we hear from candidates that come into our office is their inability to get responses to their resume submittals for openings online. While this might seem like something that is only affecting you, rest assured, it’s an epidemic that plagues all job searches out there. 

We, as recruiters, actually see this happen with a lot of hiring managers we work directly with (most we’ve met in person and have some level of relationship with). It’s something that everyone from job seekers to recruiters has been trying to solve for years now and with the current employment climate, it doesn’t see to be something that will quickly rectify its self. The good news is that there are some ways to try to get more visibility with clients. 

I am a firm believer that regardless of the outcome, people should remain steadfast in applying to roles that are in their area of expertise and interest. Once one or two interviews are requested it’s only a matter of momentum before something sticks. In order to try and help with that momentum, I think trying various tactics to get your name/face in front of people will really help make you stand out. 

Simple things like adding the Recruiter or HR Manager that is listed on the LinkedIn job postings is a good way to get your name in the back of their mind without causing too much interruption in their day. Sending them a note on LinkedIn often times could go 50/50 so I think going that far is something you have to individually weight your options on but adding someone is a pretty standard practice and could only increase your chances of at least getting them to think about you. 

Networking is also the number one way people still get jobs. Whether asking someone you know to pass along your resume to the right person within a company of interest or going to various local group’s networking events. There are a ton of people that you could get in front of or make contacts with that doesn’t require you to go out of your way. Remember, people, go to networking events for the Programming aspects but wouldn’t be there if they weren’t open to networking so it’s an open floor to get in front of people who may be able to introduce you to others. 

I think the best piece of advice we can give is to remain positive and diligent. Everyone else is having the same struggles as you, you aren’t alone. While searching and networking, it could be good practice to continue to work on at-home pieces for your portfolio or hone your skills because any extra things you can add to your resume/portfolio could be what helps tip the scales in your favor on that next submittal! 

Your Career: Five Common Job Search Mistakes

By Kristen Harris

Looking for work might seem like a fairly straightforward process but, in fact, it’s quite complex.

There are several steps, a series of interactions, and multiple people involved in your search. Each stage of the process is filled with nuance and details. One false move can take you out of the running, and you may not even know it. The job search process is challenging and stressful enough without putting barriers in your own way.

Check yourself...are you making any of these five common job search mistakes? Be honest, or ask someone you trust for feedback. Sometimes we’re so close to a problem that it’s hard to have perspective. Once you’re aware of an issue, it’s much easier to correct and avoid that mistake in the future.

  1. A mismatch between your skills and the role. It’s important to really know yourself. What are your strengths? Skills? Experience level? Interests? What stage are you at in your career? What you do you want from your next role? Once you’re clear on these things for yourself, then compare your answers to every role in which you’re interested. Do your strengths and skills align with what the company needs? Are you at the right career stage for the role? Does it align with what you want, personally and professionally? Do you like the company? Are you interested in what they do? No job is perfect, but if there is a significant mismatch in several areas, move on to the next opportunity. This is not “the one”.

  2. Cookie-cutter communications. We live in a customized world; don’t send the same message to every contact or in response to every job opportunity. Customize your resume to highlight the exact skills and experiences the company is looking for. Highlight how you’re a great fit for that specific role and company in your cover letter or introductory email. Technology means every communication can be specialized to the recipient, yet people rarely receive truly personalized messages. Make the person on the other end feel as though you’re speaking directly to them and their needs.

  3. Typos in your resume. Typos and bad grammar reflect poorly on you and your work. Resume reviewers will immediately make judgments, and often it’s a shortcut to the trash bin. Not everyone is a great writer or speller, I get it. But, even if you are, find someone to proofread everything for you–your brain often fills in the gaps, it’s easier for someone else to find your mistakes.

  4. Not being prepared for the interview. As an interviewer, there are few things more painful than trying to connect with someone who is clearly not prepared for your conversation. Research the company before your interview (actually, before you apply, otherwise, how do you know you want to work there?). You’ll know what to wear (if you’re still not sure, ask the person scheduling the interview), and you can ask about something they’re working on or a project that was recently announced. Have questions prepared; this is a two-way conversation, and you need to know if it’s a good fit for you too. Be interested and engaged, do your part to make it a good conversation.

  5. Not using your network. Go beyond searching job boards, it’s important to utilize your network. Start with people you already know, personally and professionally, in your community or school, through alumni associations or industry groups. Connect with people online through platforms like LinkedIn. Attend events where people in your industry would be, catch up with people you know and ask them to introduce you to someone new. Then follow the cardinal rule of giving before asking. Even though you want someone’s help, first ask what you can do to help them. By giving first, you’ll establish trust and truly build a relationship; people are much more likely to help or recommend people they know and trust.

Whether looking for your first job, next job, or dream job, eliminating these five mistakes will help you get out of the way of your own success.

 

Networking for Introverts: 10 Tips to Survive and Thrive at Events

By Kristen Harris

NETWORKING. Just the word can send a chill down the spine of an introvert.

When someone says, “do you want to go to this networking event?” I envision everything I hate—walking into a room full of strangers, an overload of social chitchat, needing to interrupt others to get a word in edgewise, shaking hands and handing out cards to everyone in the room, pitching my business or myself a thousand times—ugh. Let me just go home and curl up with a good book instead. If this is how you feel, you’re probably an introvert too.

I have some good news for us! Networking events don’t have to be painful. They can productive, useful, and maybe even fun.

Here are 10 Tips to Help Introverts Make the Most of Networking Events:

  1. Go with a friend. It’s intimidating to walk into a room full of strangers. Invite a co-worker or friend with similar interests. Go together, or arrange to meet at or near the event so you can walk in together.

  2. Give yourself a goal. When you’re considering whether to attend an event, think about what you can and want to get out of it. Assuming it’s a good fit for you, set a goal before you get to the event. It could be to meet three new people, get to know members of the board, or accept your award without tripping on the stage. It’s your goal, embrace it.

  3. Set a time frame. Before attending the event, decide when you’ll arrive and how long you’re going to stay. If you’re having so much fun that you don’t want to leave, that’s great! But if your “exit” time rolls around and you’re ready to go, leave without guilt. You met your commitment.

  4. Get to know a few people well. Introverts tend to gain energy from fewer, deeper relationships. If you meet someone you like, spend a little time with them. Getting to know a few people well can be more powerful than shaking hands with everyone but not being remembered by anyone.

  5. Ask for introductions. Look for someone you already know, and ask for an introduction to the person they’re talking to...now you know two people! If you go with a friend, introduce each other to people you know. If you meet someone that you like, ask them to introduce you to someone else. Introductions build your network and relationships in a meaningful, memorable way.

  6. Have fun. Yes, events can be stressful. Focus on the parts that you enjoy…meeting a couple of interesting people, delicious food, a cool venue. Introverts really hate feeling embarrassed, and often think they did or said something awkward that EVERYONE noticed. Believe me, no one noticed or will remember, they’re all too focused on themselves. Just enjoy yourself. One note—if there are drinks involved, know your limit. People often drink more when they’re nervous, which can lead to those embarrassing moments.

  7. Reward yourself. After the event, spend a little time doing something you really enjoy, and congratulate yourself on stepping out of your comfort zone.

  8. Follow up after the event. Within a day or two of the event, reach out to anyone you met and want to maintain a connection. Send a LinkedIn invitation, or link them with a resource they might find useful. If it makes sense, invite them to meet for lunch or coffee soon.

  9. Get involved in the organization. One of the best ways to not walk into a room full of strangers is to be part of the organization hosting the event. Become a member, attend regular meetings, or volunteer for a committee or the board. Working together on a common interest is a great way to get to know people more deeply.

  10. Don’t over-commit. If you are an introvert, events and large groups of people will drain your energy. Pick and choose the best events to help you achieve your goals, and don’t feel like you have to attend everything all the time.

By applying these tips, I’m able to not only survive, but actually thrive and enjoy events. If you nodded along through this whole article, you’re probably an introvert. If you’re not sure, take this quick quiz: http://www.quietrev.com/the-introvert-test/