NETWORKING: “I’d rather cruise Craigslist…

…than beg friends and friends-of-friends for referrals,” said one job seeker in a LinkedIn group.

If you’re begging for referrals, you’re not networking.

Here’s what networking is, and how you can use it proactively and positively:

Networking is…

– being of service

– helping a friend move

– having a conversation with friends

– talking with people in the waiting room

– talking with others standing in the same line

– talking with a fellow fashionista about cool shoes

– chatting to fellow parents at your child’s soccer game

– sending links to great websites or articles your friend will find helpful

– sending a thank you note

– congratulating someone on a job well done and the contribution he or she made

Networking is about building relationships so that your network is there when you need them. While in job search mode, you can do many of the activities above to reconnect and rebuild your network as well.

When it’s appropriate, make the ask. Do not make it general. “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?” is not networking, it’s begging.

Instead, “Mark, I’m looking for a public relations position. One of the things I do best is get amazing local media coverage through staged events. They’re authentic and generate a lot of buzz. In fact, one event I did recently got me coverage on WXYZ radio, Channel 4, and The Business Journal. Plus, we used a social media element that helped with attendance. Three companies I’d love to get to know more about are….”

See how specific this is? You can do it too!

Want more tips? Check out: http://rockyournetwork.com. If you have more ideas, please share them!

Networking: Party of One? No fun! How to network with a friend.

Designed by Snap Happy Creative

Networking can be tough. People tell me, “I feel like I’m imposing.” or “I’m shy. I won’t know anyone there.” or “I hate to sound like I’m begging.”

All right, stop right there! Networking does not have to be a party of one! If you have a networking event coming up, bring a friend. Here are some tips, when you share the load:

1. Plan your networking goals prior to the event. For example, you can decide who you wish to meet at each event together or you can set a goal to each meet three new people. That means there will be six new connections for you both at the end of the event.

2. Craft your sound bites or elevator pitches together and rehearse them before you go to the event. This instills confidence.

3. Introduce your friend first, then introduce yourself. This tactic helps alleviate any awkwardness, because you didn’t have to go first.

4. Do you see a small group having a conversation? Break the ice with your friend and join in the conversation.

5. Each of you can sit at a different table during the meal portion of the event. Then you can meet up later and share the new connections – and of course you can take action at the event using tip No. 2.

And finally, you can share your ideas on how you will follow up with each new person you met during the event. Then take action!

Want more networking tips? Click here to check out Rock Your Network.

I don’t kiss on the first date – LinkedIn Tips

Graphic courtesy of DryIcons.com

“I don’t kiss on the first date,” one LinkedIn employee said to my friend G, when he asked to connect with her on LinkedIn.

G’s mouth just hung open. “I didn’t ask you to. I just wanted to add you to my LinkedIn network.”

“Right. It’s like kissing on the first date. I don’t even know you. I just met you at this conference, and you want access to all my hard-won connections on LinkedIn,” she explained.

G had never thought about it like that before, he told me when relaying this story.

And most people don’t.

Many are going for LION or one million connections. Maybe it works for them. Typically, it doesn’t.

Think about LinkedIn invitations like this:

1. Is this person someone you know personally or would like to know personally? If it’s someone you’d like to know, schedule a time to talk with him or her to get to know the person better. Find out how you can help each other. After you do, ask yourself, would this person be an asset to your network? If so, ask them to join (or accept his or her invitation). If not…

2. Is this a person you already know, like, and trust enough to refer to all your other connections on LinkedIn? He is? Ask them to join your network.

3. Does this person have a strong LinkedIn profile, which includes a professional picture, solid recommendations, and a decent-sized network that adds value? She does? Accept her invitation (after you’ve talked of course).

4. Does this person provide value to his or her network already? You can check this out from reading the updates.

5. Does this person have a blog? Facebook? Twitter? She does? Great – check it out. Heck, people do background checks before dates, why not before accepting LinkedIn invitations?

6. Google him or her. What else comes up – besides his or her LinkedIn profile? Has he got digital dirt?

7. Know that LinkedIn is a professional network. Are the people you’re asking and who are asking you professional? Are they on brand for you and your business or career goals?

8. Check out your own LinkedIn profile with fresh eyes. Does your profile convey your personality? Do you have a professional head-shot? And NO, wedding pictures do not count here. Did you complete the entire LinkedIn profile? Are you providing more details about your employment background or only listing names and titles? Do you have recommendations from those in your network? Do you already add value to your network?

9. If you’ve answered NO to any of the above, beef up your profile. Answer questions from those in your network. Join groups. Provide recommendations to others in your network – that’s the easiest way to get them for yourself too.

10. Need more help? Check out Rock Your Network.

If you’ve more tips you’d like to add to this list, please share your thoughts!

© 2010 Wendy Terwelp

Personal Branding: Do you have what it takes to become an icon?

Recently word on Facebook from my group was all about a local icon, the Pepperoni Cannoli guy. Someone spotted him and posted it on her Facebook page. Well, comments started rolling in. People said how glad they were to know he was still around and memories were shared about other sightings and personal experiences dealing with Pepperoni Cannoli – and his magic cooler.

Who is he? He’s a local Milwaukee icon. A tiny, grey-haired Italian guy, who, every night at bar time, would go from bar to bar on the East Side, carrying his cooler and yelling  to all remaining patrons, “Pepperoni? Cannoli?” Holding them up so people could get a good look at his wares.

You could count on him. You knew that if you simply waited around long enough, you could get a pepperoni or a cannoli or at least watch others take a bite. (I recommend watching…)

So, do you have what it takes to become an icon? It’s not all about the food, the thick Italian accent, or the cooler. What Pepperoni Cannoli guy has, that others can emulate, are the following very good brand attributes that make him memorable:

1. Consistency – You knew that if you stuck around until bar time, Pepperoni Cannoli guy would stop by. He was consistent. He made the rounds roughly the same time, every time. What can you do that is consistent? Have you got a newsletter that you send out when you feel like it? Put it in your calendar that you’ll now send it out every two weeks, like clockwork, like Pepperoni Cannoli guy. How’s your job search going? Were you taking the summer off? Guess what, Pepperoni Cannoli guy never skipped. Get back on track and schedule regular time in each week for your search.

2. Constant – He was everywhere, it seemed. The locals just knew it. Pepperoni Cannoli guy got around. Are you visible? If not, create a blog. Create your own Facebook Fan Page. Post on others’ blogs. Write a white-paper. Get known.

3. Recognizable Image – Pepperoni Cannoli Guy always wore the same jacket and brought along the same cooler. He was recognizable. Jackie O had the sunglasses, Pepperoni Cannoli guy has his cooler. The Situation has chiseled abs. What is your signature piece?

4. Brand statement: You knew that when you saw him holding up that cooler, he’d say, “Pepperoni? Cannoli?” And it would be loud enough for all to hear his cry. Donald Trump says, “You’re fired!” What’s your tag line? Have you got a brand statement that communicates what you offer?

5. Memorable experience: Because of the traits above, the timing (bar time), stories abound about the Pepperoni Cannoli guy. He’s memorable. People love to share stories about him and their experiences. They become his unpaid sales reps. Richard Branson has his own island where he takes VIPs. Pepperoni Cannoli guy arrives at bar time. What can you do for your business that is a memorable experience that drives your clients to tell others about you? How about your job search?

And finally, the Pepperoni Cannoli guy has his own Facebook Fan Page! Yeah, he gets with the times, no matter his age. Here it is: Frank, the Pepperoni Cannoli guy. Are you up-do-date with your skills? Time to get with it. Even Betty White landed Saturday Night Live through a Facebook campaign – and she was 88-and-a-half.

Want help with your brand? Want to be a memorable icon? Check out Rock Your Career® and give me a call.

Got your own local icon story to share? Please do!

(Note: Links about the Pepperoni Cannoli guy are to OnMilwaukee.com’s local icon article and to Pepperoni Cannoli guy’s own Facebook page. Enjoy!)

UPDATE: Frank, Milwaukee’s famous Pepperoni Cannoli guy died Feb. 2012. Here is an ode to his memory: RIP Frank “Pepperoni Cannoli” Pecoraro.