Conference Networking Rock Star: Kamala’s Story

Kamala S. Robinson, M.S.Meet Kamala. She attended last week’s ASTD 2013 International Conference & Expo. She was in job seeker mode and came to the conference career center for some coaching where she was scheduled to meet me. Here’s what happened next – in Kamala’s own words – and I warn you – it’s super awesome!

Looking for a job is never easy, and it seems to be harder than ever these days.  Things have changed considerably and will continue to change, which can be truly difficult when you have always approached them in the same way.  This is where I was at when I decided to make a change in my career.  I had never had a problem finding a job before; how I did things had always worked for me.  Even though I thought I had adapted to the current ways of searching and networking for jobs, I was not confident that I had, so I was looking for expert advice.  When I looked into the Career Center at the conference, I found I could make an appointment with a Career Coach, so I did.  I had an awesome meeting with Wendy Terwelp on Monday, and highly, highly recommend Wendy and the Career Center.

Although I readily adapt to change, I found I was still approaching conversations from an awkward stance.  Wendy and I discussed how to have more natural conversations with people as people, as opposed to approaching them for what they may be able to do for you – hire you, refer you, connect you to their network, etc.

Later when I went to lunch, as I was approaching a table those thoughts were right there (bad habits!) as I saw the opportunity to meet a lot of new, potential contacts.  And I stopped.  I decided I would just have lunch.  When I made that change in my thinking, everything else began changing.  I met wonderful people, and had great conversations.  I made a lot of contacts, some of which now have great potential to become jobs.  This continued to happen throughout the conference as I had experiences I could not have dreamed of having.  I don’t believe this would have happened had I not relaxed and changed my thinking.  I met people that day at lunch and throughout the conference, not prospects, and they are priceless to me.  Thank you to Wendy, Pat Byrd from the Career Center and everyone else there.  They could not have been kinder or more supportive!  They are a great group, and I look forward to seeing them again next year.

Thank YOU Kamala for sharing your story! Just a tweak in thought pattern created big wins. Here’s a fave quote of mine from Wayne Dyer: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Kamala has proven this to be true and you can too.

Recruiter Secrets to What Employers Want

George_Blomgren_med - picGuest Expert, George Blomgren,
MRA, The Management Association

What are employers looking for in candidates these days? That depends a lot on the company and the jobs for which they are hiring. Here are two common trends:

The first won’t come as a surprise. Companies are hiring because they are swamped. They are so desperately in need of additional staff they have  limited resources to train new staff. With this in mind, employers look for candidates who can hit the ground running — or as close to that as possible. This means they aren’t willing to deviate much from the requirements defined in the job description or posting. It also means they are looking for evidence that candidates can adapt to change and to new challenges. (Today 20 years in the same job at the same employer is no longer viewed as a good thing!)

The second trend may come as a surprise. Employers aren’t looking to hire superstars – that is, candidates who distinguished themselves as star performers in previous positions. They assume those candidates have peaked and now it’s all downhill. Rather, they are looking to hire candidates who have yet to peak. The candidate who is really ready to take that next step in their career and take things to the next level. For candidates with diverse backgrounds, who may have felt defensive explaining how their background fits together, this can be especially beneficial. If you can create a compelling case to an employer on why your diverse work experience makes you uniquely qualified for the position, you may get the job!

As a recruiter, I look for evidence of these things in your resume and your cover letter, and of course during interviews. But first and foremost, I look for it on your LinkedIn profile.

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has 20+ years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting),  and operations experience. Prior to joining MRA, George ran the advertising and marketing department for a fast-growing network of local employment websites.

Five Quick Tips to Rock Your Network® Online

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1. Pick Three: There are MANY social networks online to choose from, I recommend picking three so you can manage them effectively. For career and business development, I recommend: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. As of May 2013, LinkedIn has more than 225 million members in 200+ countries and territories. In Dec. 2012, Twitter had more than 500 million members and Facebook topped 1 billion.

2. Create a branded bio: Tell a story in your social networking bios. Don’t regurgitate your resume information or company bio. Know that chemistry helps you land and KEEP new clients and jobs. Likability counts, so be interesting.

3. Know what you want: When you start networking online, it’s important to know what you want from the activity. If you want new clients, be sure your profile is on brand, professional, and communicates your value and scope of practice. Have a professional headshot as well.

4. Join a group: Know that in order to make the most of an online group, you’ve got to take an active role. If you’ve got a business, join groups where your ideal clients will be, including niche and specialty groups. For job seekers, where might your ideal employer hang out? People like to do business with those having similar backgrounds and experiences.

5. Be relevant and add value: Social networking gives you a chance to demonstrate your thought leadership and set yourself apart from your competition. As an executive and leader in your profession, it is even more critical to demonstrate your expertise online.

Take Action: Review your current social networks and identify at least three action items from the above list you can implement immediately. Make an action plan to effectively manage your online network and communicate with your contacts regularly. It only takes minutes a day to fuel your network and fire it up!™ That way, your network is there for you when you need it.

© 2010 – 2013 | Wendy J. Terwelp | All rights reserved.