Tag Archives: Networking

How To Network Like Jesus

This week I am attending a church conference. I am listening to great preaching, I am attending wonderful workshops, and I am extending my network.

The greatest networker in history was Jesus Christ. Beginning with a team of three close friends and a dozen followers, He created an organization that today has over two billion members.

As disciples of Jesus, we need to follow Him in all the ways of our lives including networking. In this post I would like to suggest three ways that you can network like Jesus

1. Build A Purpose Driven Network

Jesus networked for a single purpose: to introduce people to the kingdom of God. No product, service, or personal friendship can meet the needs of people more completely than ushering them into God’s rule.
Jesus used networking to deliver to humanity the highest level of service that anyone has ever offered.

The entire purpose Jesus networking was in line with His mission. His mission is the Great Commission as outlined in Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let’s face it networking is the linchpin of the great commission.

Regardless if you are networking for a job, or to keep a job or for making disciples. Knowing why you are networking will make all the difference.

2. Be Of Service To Others

In John 13:15, Jesus sets an example for us to follow. After washing His disciple’s feet — an act of love, humility and service — He encourages us to follow His lead and serve one another.

“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you,” Jesus says.

Jesus did not network just to gather business cards. From healing the sick to raising the dead, Jesus networked to be of service to others.

We can find more significance in our lives by ratcheting up the level and breadth of service we provide to others. Learning to network like Jesus will help you make the most of your life for God and for others.

3. Network With People Who Are Unlike You

Matthew 9:10 is one of the many examples of how notorious Jesus was for associating with people of dubious character

As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth. “Follow Me,” He told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him. Later, as Jesus was dining at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

If our network is only made of “upwardly mobile people” like ourselves we will miss the opportunity to be of service and to influence folks who can be actually of assistance to us.

Final Thoughts: Build A Better Network By Networking Like Jesus

Regardless of your line of work, adopting the Jesus style of networking can take your life and career to a new level. By networking His way, you can achieve greater success in your career or professional life.

You can enhance your personal life through building more and better friendships. Learning to network like Jesus will help you make the most of your life for God and for others.

5 Reasons Why You Are Still Unemployed

The Great Recession is over and while job growth is still not at the chart topping rates of the early 2000s, jobs are out there and employers are hiring.

So, why are you still unemployed? After nearly a quarter of a century of helping people to find jobs and helping employers to find talent; I realize that matching the right person with the right job is difficult.

However, as a job search candidate there are many critical variables that you can control. Here are five reasons why you might be still unemployed.

1. You refuse to relocate.

The job recovery has not come to all parts of the country. Job seekers who are willing to relocate stand a better chance of matching with an employer in search of their skills.

2. You are applying for jobs exclusively on job boards.

Less than 50% of all open jobs are posted on job boards. Job seekers with a diversified job search strategy have more options. My post How to Tap The Hidden Job Market will provide details on getting off of the job board treadmill.

3. Your friends and family are unaware that you are looking for a job.

If the Great Recession has taught us anything, there is no shame if you are unemployed. Therefore, job seekers should tell everyone they know that they are looking. Your friends and family can be your best allies; by giving you an extra set of eyes and ears for opportunities. If you’re worried about being a bother; stop it. People love to help when there is a need; especially family and friends.

4. You are ineffectively using LinkedIn.

Sure, you have a LinkedIn profile; but, is it really getting you notice by recruiters? Are you using the site to find companies and hiring managers; long lost, but influential classmates and most importantly, jobs? A LinkedIn profile must also include a comprehensive strategy to leverage the entire tool to get you notice; and find the people that can lead you to the job of your dreams. My blog How to Get Noticed on LinkedIn is a great read as you start developing a LinkedIn job search strategy.

5. You are not networking

A U.S. Department of Labor study confirmed that a staggering 80% of all jobs are acquired via networking. Networking is the key to finding a job. Personal face to face networking and follow-up is the number one skill I teach my job search clients. I believe in networking and the power that it can bring to the job search. I have written extensively about networking.

Here are some posts that will turn you into the kind of networker that can find a job:

How To Network With LinkedIn

How to use LinkedIn to Build A Great Network,

The 10 Best Places for Career Networking

Fortune Favors the Prepared Networker

Thought Leadership

Final Thoughts: You Will Be Employed

Believe me. I have been unemployed and I know what it is like to mount a job search. The discouragement, uncertainty and lack of income can be overwhelming. However, I also know that no matter how long you have been unemployed, you can find a job. If you are guilty of one or more of the items listed in this post take heart. You can turn it around in an instant. How? A little understood fact about the job search process is that the candidate is really the one in charge. You can make it happen, and with God’s grace and mercy you will find a job.

©Copyright 2014 Marben Bland

Marben Bland is a professional speaker, writer and business strategist. Specializing in assisting business with the acquisition of human and financial capital along with the strategies required to succeed in the marketplace.

The 10 Best Places for Career Networking

Regular readers of my posts know the value I place on networking to building your career either while you are working or when in job search mode. Networking in the 21st century can be done on many different platforms, providing a wide range of options to meet people who can help advance your professional and personal goals.

21st Century Networking – Give of Yourself First

kids-sharing-ice-creamRegardless of the networking platform, many people make the same mistake. They start networking when they need something.  Keith Ferrazzi, the best-selling author of the premier networking book Never Eat Alone advises, “The worst time to network is when you are desperate and the best time to network is when you don’t need anything.” Notwithstanding your current need, always network with the idea of being of service to the people with whom you are networking. Ferrazzi councils, “If you give of yourself first you will be amazed by what you will get back for yourself in return.

21st Century Networking – Location, Location, Location 

Just like real estate, networking is all about location, location, location. Why? Because, the best networking plans in the world will not work if you are not meeting in locations online or off  where the people whose needs you can best serve – and vice versa – are hanging out.

Alison Doyle the great career blogger has explored the best places for professionals and job seekers to network. I have augmented her findings with some of my own and ranked our combined ideas into The 10 Best Places for Career Networking.

The 10 Best Places for Career Networking

 10. Panera Bread

Paraná BreadYes.  The coffee is always hot, the bagels are tasty and the “Pick 3” is always divine; but what makes Panera such a great place for networking is its inviting, business friendly atmosphere and free WiFi.  Panera Bread was a pioneer in realizing the value of giving the WiFi away in exchange for the customer traffic and sales it generates. On any given day the café is teaming with business people of all stripes; from large corporations to small firms. I have found the most effective way to network at Panera is to bring my laptop, a project, business cards and an open ear. (Many blogs have been written while eating a wonderful Panera salad.)  Typically, while working, I may overhear a discussion where I may offer a critical bit of information; or strike up a conversation with a person who I saved from losing an important document to a dead computer batter (I usually carry a multi outlet power cord).  At times, someone will engage me out of the blue; because I seem so engrossed in my work. Panera Bread has that comfortable vibe; because the smart networker knows it is a place where business is being done and connections are being made.

9. Chamber of Commerce Events

Chamber of Commerce associations hold a number of events that allow local business people to connect with other professionals and gain insight into business and government best practices. These events can range from social events like mixers and fundraisers to workshops and seminars. Attending these events will connect you with potential employers, clients, suppliers, and business partners.

8. Facebook

Yes, Virginia, you can use the social network Facebook for professional networking. You can “friend” professional contacts and post content relevant to your job search or career. You can also “like” groups, including company pages or groups related to your industry or interests. This will allow you to connect with an even larger network. However, be aware of how much personal information you include on your profile – if you decide to network professionally on Facebook, make sure to only include information in your profile that you would want business contacts to see. For professional job searching through Facebook, job seekers can also use Monster’s Facebook app Beknown.

7. Job Fairs

job fairJob fairs (also known as career fairs) are ideal places to meet employers and recruiters from a variety of companies. Whether it is an in-person event or an online job fair, the event will give you a chance to demonstrate your skills and experience to a number of employers, and learn about job opportunities at their companies. You can also network with the job seekers around you at a job fair. Share your contact information with people you connect with; you might be able to help each other find jobs or contacts in the future.

6. Corporate Alumni Networks

Corporate Alumni Networks are online networks for former (and sometimes current) employees in an organization. Some networks are provided by companies, but others are hosted by Facebook or LinkedIn. Staying in touch with your former coworkers gives you a large pool of people who can refer you to new jobs and even give you referrals. You can also use the network to talk with people about educational opportunities, industry trends and the latest best practices.

5. College Networking Events

Graduation 2013Colleges often sponsor networking events for college students and/or alumni. These events range from cocktail parties to workshops to alumni information panels to athletic events. (Don’t overlook the networking power of Homecoming.) The goal of these events is to network with alumni and employers who might be able to help you develop your career or improve your job search. These events are often run by your college career services office or your alumni office.

4. Professional Associations

A professional association is a group of people with similar careers or career interests (finance, education, recent graduates, etc.). Joining an association allows you to make a number of professional contacts within your industry. These contacts can give you professional advice as well as potential job leads. Professional associations typically hold events such as conferences, seminars, and job fairs; which allow you to look for jobs and develop professionally.

3. Trade Shows

Trade shows (also known as trade fairs or trade expos) are exhibitions in which companies in a specific industry showcase their products and services, and learn about the latest market trends. Whether you are actively looking for a job at a new company or simply hoping to learn more about current industry trends, trade shows are great places to meet industry insiders from any number of companies.

2. Volunteer Associations/Community Service Groups

Volunteering is a great way to not only work for a good cause; but, also, meet and network with like-minded people. Fundraisers and other volunteer events can connect you with people from a variety of industries. When you connect with someone at a volunteer event, you have already demonstrated your charitable interests and cast yourself in a positive light. You can network with people through participating in individual volunteer events or by joining a community service/social group like the Rotary Club.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn BlueOn LinkedIn, the number one professional networking site, you can connect with a number of people from a variety of companies and industries. When applying for a job, use your LinkedIn connections for advice and/or referrals. You can also join LinkedIn groups that relate to your industry, alma mater – or even your favorite hobbies – as a way to connect with people with similar interests and skills.

 Honorable Mention:

 Diversity Groups

There are a number of diversity groups based on gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation (for example, the National Association of Professional Women). Sometimes, these groups are also focused on people in a particular industry (ex., Women’s Council of Realtors). These groups typically hold a number of networking events that allow members to connect with people in their industry. Group seminars, lectures, and social events are also great networking opportunities.

Not Quite in the Top 10:

 Google+, Job Clubs, Holiday Parties, Religious Groups, College Career Fairs, Meetup.com, Classes and  Twitter

The Bottom Line:

 To Network is to Serve

Networking is no longer a luxury confined to those professionals who have the time or are in a job search. Networking is necessary for any professional who wants to get ahead and stay ahead. Lucky for all of us there has never been a better environment for turning networking into a way of life. Why? Because, not only are their wonderful social media tools and face to face interaction opportunities available; but, as humans, we were created to serve. To network is to serve; because you put the needs of others before your own.

Now Go Forth And Network!!!

 

 

 

How to use LinkedIn to Build A Great Network

Lately I have been helping clients with something I call Greatness Strategies. Simply put, these strategies are a number of actions that, when taken together, move us from being good to great. Networking chiefly to help other people achieve their goals is a tactic we employ as part of a Greatness Strategy.

 

Great Networking

Many of my clients thought of LinkedIn as merely an online tool; however it can greatly benefit our face-to-face networking.  Here are three strategies I continue to use with my clients because it makes their networking great.

1. Meet Great People: Review LinkedIn Profiles

Before your networking event review the guest list then look up the LinkedIn profiles of people you want to meet. The best way to impress someone is to know about them and take an interest; the information gleaned from the profile can accelerate the process. Get LinkedIn mobile for your smart phone for instant access.

Key Tip: Remember this look up thing goes both ways so keep your profile updated.

2. Make Great Impressions: Read LinkedIn Content

Networking is all about making the right impression — and well-versed people make great impressions. If you haven’t noticed, LinkedIn is more than just profiles. It has become a content powerhouse, hosting insightful business-oriented blogs, video, and slide shares from really smart people from around the world.  The next time you are stuck in the coffee line whip out your smart phone and check out the content available on LinkedIn.  Most content is quick and easy to read. Typically you can finish an article by the time you get to the head of the line.

Key Tip: Use your idle time to keep informed and follow thought leaders (including me)  on LinkedIn

3. Keep Great Contact: Stay In Touch with LinkedIn

Within 24 hours of a networking event send the people that you met a LinkedIn invitation. I strongly urge you not to send the generic invite, but rather write a few lines recapping the conversation you had. Now that they are in your network LinkedIn has developed several handy reminders to help you keep in touch easily. I advise my clients to perform these quick and easy activities daily to keep in touch.

Key Tip: Use LinkedIn to turn your contacts into valuable relationships

The Bottom Line: Great Relationships takes Great Work   

brother interviewFor me networking is all about meeting great people that I can do great things for – and they can do great things for me, too.  However, all this greatness does not happen without great work.  LinkedIn can assist in some of that work — setting up opportunities for the greatest networking tool of all – conversations.

 

Start the Great Work with LinkedIn Simplified

If you are looking to do great things with your network, I would be pleased to help you achieve your goals.  My seminar, LinkedIn Simplified is designed to give you the tools to take your networking to the next level.

 

Linked Simplified Seminar

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cambria Suites Pittsburgh Downtown at Consol Energy Center

1320 Center Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

 Register Now

 Beginners LinkedIn Simplified Seminar

 $99.00 ● September 18, 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon

 Advanced LinkedIn Simplified Seminar

 $99.00 ● September 18, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

 General LinkedIn Simplified Seminar

$99.00 ● September 18, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Would you like our LinkedIn Coaching Team to hold a seminar in your city?

 Contact Marben Bland 608 358 1309

 

 

 

 

6 Tips for Working the Room at a Networking Event

Social Media TagsWhile social media has changed the landscape of personal networking nothing  is better than face to face contact.  Conducting  a job search based exclusively on job boards, LinkedIn and other social media actually
will reduce your chances of finding that job.

 

Move Beyond The Computer

You can’t hide behind your computer screen anymore. Now is the time to build your network’s size and effectiveness by getting out and meeting new people face to face. According to Harvard Business School, between 65 percent to 85 percent of all jobs are filled because someone knows someone else. Turn off your computer and get “out there.”

Find A Networking Event

Many professional organizations, common interest groups, companies and colleges run events clearly marketed as opportunities for networking. Scan your local newspaper or business journal, LinkedIn groups or Meetup.com to find them. Or simply run this Google search: “‘networking event’ AND ‘[insert your city]'” and tweak it to fit your needs.

Get Comfortable Networking  

Some people feel like a fish out of water in a room filled with strangers. If you are like this, just remember that all those other people are there because they are just like you: they want to meet new people and build new relationships. You might know something that they would value. You might be the answer to another networker’s needs.

Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM.  Annie and her coaches are super at helping mid-career job-hunters land their next job.  She has come up with a list of 6 Tips for “Working”   a room full of other networkers; allowing you to get the most out of your next networking event.

1. Be Your Real Self

Of course you’ve created your perfect branding statement and elevator pitch. You have it down pat, ready to recite at a moment’s notice. And you’re anxious to share it with anyone who will listen. But be careful not to launch into a nonstop monologue lest you come off sounding either robotic or like an MP3 player without a pause button.

Stay in the moment and observe carefully what kind of reception you’re getting. Pay attention to the eyes and body language of the person with whom you are speaking. Does the person you are with want to break in and ask a question or respond? Be prepared to share your story, but also be nimble enough to abbreviate or adapt it to suit the circumstance.

 2. Be Subtle

Most people like to help others. At the same time, you are quite likely to turn people off if you come off as a nonstop commercial touting yourself. Blatant self-promotion makes the networking experience all about selling you, like a TV infomercial, rather than all about building a personal relationship with another person.

3. Be Attentive

Networking is about active listening to learn about other people. Ask about how they got to where they are today, their accomplishments, current situation, challenges and needs. When you pose these kinds of questions, you will likely get strong cues about how you can best relate to your new acquaintance. You will learn what knowledge or experiences you can share that would be appreciated, what connections you can help establish, and how you can be a valuable networking partner. When you make the effort to assist someone else, they will be much more motivated to hear about you and how they can be of assistance.

4. Be Focused and Brief

When you are at an event, focus intently on the person with whom you are speaking rather than letting your eyes wander the room to see other potential targets. At the same time, recognize that networking situations are generally not the right venue for extended conversations. When there is a natural break, make sure to exchange cards and ask when it might be convenient to follow up or go into greater detail. Then go on to the next person. And of course, do follow up.

5. Be Positive

Networking events are not for venting. No matter how jaded or jilted you might feel about a past employer, boss or co-worker, keep your negative thoughts to yourself. Every time you denigrate someone else, you cause your listener to wonder if you did something to bring your woes upon yourself. It is easy to become viewed as someone unable to shake the past, rather than as someone who is potentially a valuable asset for the future. Don’t take time away from establishing a healthy relationship with a new person by burdening them with negativity.

6. Be Well Mannered

Don’t monopolize the conversation. Don’t text or check your phone for email when you should be interacting with others or listening to an event speaker. Be respectful of other people’s precious networking time. Recognize that they too want to work the room. Don’t let yourself become perceived as a desperate hanger on who can’t be brushed off easily.

You can use networking events for multiple purposes: to gain information about what’s going on in your field or industry, to catch up with fellow alumni, to gain new acquaintances and to move your job hunt forward. Rather than being afraid of participating in networking events, it is well worth your time to make them a part of your regular routine. If you attend with a positive, pay it forward attitude, you will surely be viewed as the admirable professional that you are, and you will earn the respect and trust of others.

Happy Networking

Marben Bland is a Writer, Speaker and Strategist focused on working with emerging biotech and high tech companies. He writes the weekly How to be a LinkedIn Ninja blog, in addition to the Weekly Job Report and the Friday Commentary blog.  A popular speaker at trade shows and seminars Marben is available for strategic consulting engagements or speaking at your next event; give him a call today at 608.358.1309

Comment on this post at marben@marbenband.com .

 

 

5 Ways to Power-Up Your Networking in 2013

Finding a job in today’s economy can be tough, but there are opportunities if you know where to look. And the best way to find these opportunities is not through online job boards, the classifieds, or employment agencies– they are found by networking.  A survey from the top end job search site ExecuNet reveals that 80% of all jobs are obtained via networking.

Hesitant Networkers

Unfortunately, many job seekers are hesitant to take advantage of networking because they’re afraid of being seen as pushy, annoying, or self-serving.  But networking isn’t about using other people or aggressively promoting yourself—it’s about building relationships. Tapping the hidden job market will take more planning and nerve than searching online, but it’s much more effective. Adopting a networking lifestyle—a lifestyle of connecting and helping others in good times and bad—will help you find the right job, make valuable connections in your chosen field, and stay focused and motivated during your job search.  Power-up your 2013 networking with these 5 tips from some of the best networkers I know.

Tip One: Figure out what you want before you start networking

Networking is most effective when you have specific employer targets and career goals. It’s hard to get leads with a generic “Let me know if you hear of anything” request. You may think that you’ll have better job luck if you leave yourself open to all the possibilities, but the reality is this “openness” creates a black hole that sucks all of the networking potential out of the connection.  A generic networking request for a job is worse than no request at all, because you can lose that networking contact and opportunity.  Asking for specific information, leads, or an interview is much more focused and easier for the networking source. If you’re having trouble focusing your job search, you can turn to close friends and family members for help, but avoid contacting more distant people in your network until you’ve set clear goals.

 Tip Two: Want to expand your network? —- Reach out to the people you already know

You may think that you don’t know anyone who can help you with your job search. But you know more people than you think, and there’s a very good chance that at least a few of these people know someone who can give you career advice or point you to a job opening. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

Tip Three: Make a list of the people you know

Your network is bigger than you think it is. It includes all of your family members, friends, of neighbors, co-workers, colleagues, and even casual acquaintances. Start writing down names and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the list grows. Think about people you know from former jobs, high school and college, church, your child’s school, the gym, social media, or your neighborhood. Also think about people you’ve met through your close connections: your sister’s co-worker; your best friend’s boss; your college roommate’s spouse; friends of your parents; your uncle’s business partner. Don’t forget to include people like your doctor, landlord, accountant, dry cleaner, or yoga instructor…..Yes, you do have a job network, and it’s more powerful than you think.

Tip Four: Reach out to your network

All the connections in the world won’t help you find a job if no one knows about your situation. Once you’ve drawn up your list, start making contact with the people in your network. Let them know that you’re looking for a job. Be specific about what kind of work you’re looking for and ask them if they have any information or know anyone in a relevant field. Don’t assume that certain people won’t be able to help. You may be surprised by who they know.

Tip Five: Improve your communication skills

Effective communication is a cornerstone of job networking. As simple as communication may seem, much of what we try to communicate—and others try to communicate to us—gets misunderstood. Effective communication combines a set of learned skills, such as: attentive listening, recognizing and using nonverbal cues, managing stress in the moment, and understanding your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with. Toastmasters is the best place I know of where you can both enhance your communication skills and build a network.  Go to www.Toastmasters.org to find a club near you.

The Bottom Line: Focus on building relationships

Networking is a give-and-take process that involves making connections, sharing information, and asking questions. It’s a way of relating to others, not a technique for getting a job or a favor. You don’t have to hand out your business cards on street corners, cold call everyone on your contact list, or work a room of strangers. All you have to do is reach out. It may take a while but having a networking mindset will pay off.   Good luck with your 2013 networking efforts.

 

Because There was “No” Room

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

We all know the story of Jesus’ birth as told in Luke 2:1-20.   The Roman emperor Augustus ordered all the people to be counted in a census.  As part of that count, all males had to return to their ancestral homes.  Joseph, a descendant of King David, traveled from his home in Nazareth to Bethlehem with his pregnant fiancée Mary in tow.  While in Bethlehem, the time for baby to be born came.  With the town teeming with people for the census, lodging was not available.  The only place Joseph could find for the birth was a manger “because there was no room at the inn.”

“The No’s” 

The word “No” is a constant in the lives of those seeking employment.  Think of the many times and many ways you have experienced “The “No’s” during you job search.

…”No – We don’t have a job for you.”

…”No – You are under qualified.”

…”No – You are over qualified.”

Relentless and persistent, “The No’s” can sap our strength, our confidence and our will during the job search.  Learning how to take “The No’s” with the confidence, grace and humility demonstrated by Mary and Joseph that day in Bethlehem can make all the difference in successfully weathering the “The No’s” in the job search storm.

3 Ways to Fight “The No”

Career expert Molly Cain, writing in Forbes Magazine, says that with the employment rate hovering around 7.5%, competition is at its highest right now, which means there can be lots of reasons you were told “No” about the job.  Molly recommends 3 things that we can do to fight “The No”.

1. Your Resume

Take a look at what you gave your prospective employer. If they’ve got any sort of head on their shoulders, they can typically read through lies, they can read through “elaboration” and they can read where you’ve panicked and tried to insert just about anything to lengthen the word count. Consider these resume “No No’s:”

  • Sticking your entire 20 year career on 1 page – Forget what your college career counselor told you – 2 or more pages is commonplace and is expected.
  • Failing to adequately explain breaks in employment – Due to the Great Recession, long breaks in employment is the new normal.  In my e-book the Smart Job Search, I show how savvy job seekers use the resume to highlight job productive things they have been doing while out of work.  List volunteering, freelancing, classes taken and other industrious stuff you have done while you have been unemployed.
  • Nonprofessional email address – An email address saluting your favorite Justin Bieber song is charming.  However, the email address on your resume should reflect the seriousness that you are bringing to the job search.   So while it is much more boring, use your name in your email address, such as: marbenbland@gmail.com.  It will be far more effective.

2. Your cover letter

Take a fresh look at the cover letter you sent.  Does it have typos?  Was it addressed “To whom it may concern?  Or, was it not captivating enough to get perspective employers to open the resume attachment?   I have an admission to make– I hate cover letters–they are filled with potential to bite you–but we have to do them.   Alison Doyle, the brilliant job search and employment expert, says that there are 3 general types of cover letters:

  • The application letter which responds to a known job opening
  • The prospecting letter which inquires about possible positions
  • The networking letter which requests information and assistance in your job search

Go to Alison’s website: www.about.com/carrers for examples of the cover letters listed above. I did. and now I have taken the “No” factor out of writing cover letters.

3. Your Networking

Are you getting “No’s” when submitting resumes to online job postings?  Well, you are not alone.   With nearly over 1,000 job seekers for any one job, it is easier to win Powerball than to get a call back from an online posting.   Now, I’m not trying to dissuade you from posting for jobs online, however a survey from the top end job search site ExecuNet reveals that 80% of all jobs are obtained via networking.   The vast majority of job openings are never advertised; they’re filled by word of mouth. That’s why networking is the best way to find a job.  Unfortunately, many job seekers are hesitant to take advantage of networking because they’re afraid of being seen as pushy, annoying, or self-serving.  But networking isn’t about using other people or aggressively promoting yourself—it’s about building relationships. Tapping the hidden job market may take more planning and nerve than searching online, but it’s much more effective. Adopting a networking lifestyle—a lifestyle of connecting and helping others in good times and bad—will help you find the right job, make valuable connections in your chosen field, and stay focused and motivated during your job search.  Several of my best networking friends have given me these 3 tips to pass along:

  • Figure out what you want before you start networking – Networking is most effective when you have specific employer targets and career goals. It’s hard to get leads with a generic “Let me know if you hear of anything” request. Asking for specific information, leads, or an interview is much more focused and easier for the networking source.
  • Improve your communication skills – Effective communication is a cornerstone of job networking. As simple as communication may seem, much of what we try to communicate—and others try to communicate to us—gets misunderstood. Effective communication combines a set of learned skills, such as: attentive listening, recognizing and using nonverbal cues, managing stress in the moment, and understanding your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with. Toastmasters is the best place I know of where you can both enhance your communication skills and build a network.  Go to www.Toastmasters.org to find a club near year. 
  • Focus on building relationships – Networking is a give-and-take process that involves making connections, sharing information, and asking questions. It’s a way of relating to others, not a technique for getting a job or a favor. You don’t have to hand out your business cards on street corners, cold call everyone on your contact list, or work a room of strangers. All you have to do is reach out.

What are you saying “Yes” to?

Clearly as a job searcher we are going to hear the word “No”…. repeatedly. However, we have plenty to say “Yes” to and those “Yeses” can be parlayed into a job.  Your days of unemployment should not be idle time. There are only so many episodes of “The Price Is Right” or “Sports Center highlights” one can endure before your mind turns to mush.  This may sound strange, but your time of unemployment should be a joyous time, a time of personal growth, a time of rejuvenation, a time to get your groove back, or a time to discover a new groove, or a time to give your groove to others.

In my e-book The Smart Job Search, I profiled Leslie Ross, a truck driver by trade, but out of work due to the post-traumatic stress caused by an accident where a young mother was killed.  Leslie, who was not at fault for the accident, couldn’t drive any more.  However, she had a broad and impressive, almost encyclopedic, knowledge of topics that ranged from the Dalai Lama to the origins of Honky Tonk, gained from hours listening books on CD’s in the cab of her 18-wheeler. After a year of job searching “No’s”, Leslie said “Yes” to a volunteer gig at her local library reference desk.   In the weeks that followed, Leslie assisted a struggling author with an obscure factoid from a book that she heard on an early morning drive from Modesto to L.A.  She helped a young student with a term paper about molecular biology, a topic that Leslie happened to hear about one day while listening to the leading expert on the subject interviewed on a late-night, call-in show as she drove from Destin, Florida to High Point, North Carolina. And, she astonished an executive with her insightful knowledge about his company gained through years of overhearing conversations at the loading dock of his company’s main factory.

Saying “Yes” to the volunteering proved to be Leslie’s eureka moment. She didn’t need to volunteer for the library…. she needed to work for it. Leslie the trucker reinvented herself into Leslie the librarian.  She enrolled in the library science program at the University of Pittsburgh. There, she thrived in the environment of knowledge, discovery, and arcane facts, and in two years, this former trucker from Indiana became a librarian.  Today, you can find her in the streets of Indianapolis serving the city’s neighborhoods.  With her newfound confidence, Leslie, the librarian, has started driving big rigs again. Only this time, instead of the books being on CD’s, they lined the shelves of her new 16-wheeler — the city’s bookmobile.  Leslie, our hard-driving, trucking librarian, found her new gig through the magic of saying “Yes.”

You have experienced enough “No’s” in your job search…..what are you saying “Yes” to?

The Bottom Line – Jesus said “Yes” to us

The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

Luke 2:8-11 NLT

Jesus’s birth in a manger was “No” accident.  He was born in these humble circumstances to demonstrate to us that the word “No” should not deter us.  If the king of kings, our Lord and Savior was told “No”, what should being told “No” mean to us?  Instead, Jesus said “Yes” to us. He said “Yes” to our sins so we can live lives of significance, lives of dignity, ….and “Yes” lives of work in service to Him.

My gift to you in this joyous season is the hope you will be like Jesus and say “Yes” to not being defeated by the “No’s”

Merry Christmas