Easy 5-minute Tips to Make Your Network Thrive

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No time to network? Have you got five minutes?

Here are some quick tips to stay top of mind with your network and make it thrive.

1. Get Social: Set a specific purpose and time limit for your social media activities each day. This helps you avoid overwhelm or distraction (hey check out this link, which leads to that link, which leads to …). In your specified time frame, take a moment and tweet a reply to one of your followers. Have you read a great post on LinkedIn or Facebook? Hit the “like” button and share it with your connections.

2. Repurpose: Are you reading a great blog post or article you feel would benefit your network? Tweet a link or post a link to the story with a brief descriptor on LinkedIn or Facebook. Or if it’s relevant to only one or two people in your network versus the entire group, send a link to the story in an email: “Saw this article and thought you might find it helpful.”

3. Align networking with things you’re already doing: Going to a football game? Whether it’s the pros or your kids, game time is a great time to network. You’re sharing a common interest, which makes starting a conversation easy.

4. Make a plan: Going to a networking event or conference? Set a goal to meet at least three new people.

5. Create a dynamic, branded sound bite: Doing so helps you quickly address, “So, what do you do?” Check out chapter 5 of my book, Rock Your Network®, for a quick three-step formula to create a sound bite that helps you network with ease and confidence. Got a business? Shark Tank’s Daymond John says, you better be able to distill your brand down to two to five words. Are you ready for your next big gig?

Now that you have your networking plan, sound bite, and goals, you’re prepared for networking anytime, anywhere, I’d love to hear your networking stories and tips. Feel free to share in the comment section. Go get ’em!

© 1998 – 2014 | Wendy Terwelp . All rights reserved.

 

 

Do Employers Read Online Portfolios?

bar_biz[1]Web or online portfolios have been around for years and are now back in the news. Passe or vogue?

In a recent story by The Wall Street Journal, employers stated they don’t have time to read online portfolios. Per the story, “One big problem: Few employers are actually looking at them. Polls suggest employers might be interested in the sites—83% of respondents to a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey said an e-portfolio would be “very” or “fairly” useful in ensuring that job applicants have requisite knowledge and skills. But basic human-resources software don’t allow such links in the first round of application submissions, and many hiring managers are simply unwilling to carve out time to dig into the digital showcases, they say.”

Online portfolios work on interviews: While employers may not have time to look at a portfolio in an initial resume scan (employers receive 200 to 300 resumes per day 7 days a week according to one recruiter), candidates may be able to showcase their skills with an online portfolio during an interview. Candidates can back up interview question  responses with examples from their online portfolios. Additionally, time for portfolio highlights also depends on where the candidate is at in the interview process – such as a second or third interview. Type of job, company culture, and the interviewer’s personality will also play a role. Web portfolios can demonstrate proof of performance. And employers say that “past performance demonstrates future productivity.”

Old school: Mass Communications / Journalism grads like me had to build a portfolio of clips and send them to employers with our resume in some cases or bring them to  interviews as leave behind proof of our ability to write news stories. And that was in the late ’80’s.

New tools: Now, LinkedIn allows you to post proof – you can add links to videos, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, white papers and more.

Boost your personal brand: This all helps boost your personal brand. According to one poll, 86% of people use a search engine like Google before ever meeting you, the web portfolio gives people information you WANT them to see. As LinkedIn typically lands on page one, start there.

Readers rock! Hat tip to Thomasina for sharing the WJS story with me via Facebook. What’s your take on web / online portfolios?

Comments welcome: Have you got an opinion or story to share? Feel free to leave comments.

Is your LinkedIn bio lost in translation?

Lost in Translation

How many times have you read someone’s LinkedIn bio and wondered, “What in the world are they talking about?” It’s full of jargon, terms, and acronyms foreign to anyone outside the bio subject’s industry.

“The Curse of Knowledge” is what Chip and Dan Heath call this “symptom” in their book, “Made to Stick.” To an industry insider, these terms are common, used daily, and understood by all involved. So much so, that to anyone outside the industry, it’s confusing and just plain gibberish.

In the above picture, you see typical everyday terms used by human resource professionals (HR), eCommerce, Accounting, Marketing Communications (MarComm), and Chief Executives (any Chief-level role is considered a “C-Suite” professional). Were you lost in translation looking at the picture? While Google can help define the terms, people wanting to hire you won’t take the time to Google it. Instead, they’ll move on to the next bio whose writer makes things easy to understand.

How can you avoid the “Curse of Knowledge?” Have a family member or non-industry friend read your bio BEFORE you put it on LinkedIn or other social networks or your book jacket or use it as a speech introduction. (Can you imagine a person introducing you who is not familiar with the jargon?) If your mom has no idea what you’re talking about, you’ve got “The Curse of Knowledge” and need to reword the bio.

If you must use some jargon, spell it out first, then use the acronym afterword. Like this, Full-Time Employee (FTE). This is actually a cool benefit, because you’re using good keywords (think search terms) twice. That way, depending on who’s conducting the LinkedIn search, you’ll have a greater chance of getting the call.

Don’t want to try  this at home? Check out my LinkedIn bio-writing service. I’ll do the work for you.

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.

Received referrals? Act fast!

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

When you are networking and receive additional names from your networking connections, treat those referrals like gold.

Here’s why: Let’s say I shared the names of a couple of trusted colleagues with you after meeting you for the first time. It’s important you follow up with those referrals quickly. Chances are good, I’ll reach out and let that person know you will be in touch.

If you wait to contact them, you lose the advantage and make yourself look bad. Plus, if you don’t follow up, and I reach out and find you haven’t acted, you dropped the ball. I invested some of my reputation in you by handing over a friend’s contact info, and now I regret it. Nothing good can come from that!

Should you reach out quickly and professionally the opposite happens: you look responsible and professional, plus everybody is impressed.

One more reason to act fast: A great salesman once told me that there’s always a temptation, after closing a big sale, to go home early and celebrate. He advised me to do the opposite. That’s the perfect time to keep making phone calls. You’re on top of the world and everyone can hear it in your voice. The same applies here. You just had a good networking meeting and landed a couple of fresh leads – strike while you’re feeling good!

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.

Recruiter LinkedIn Secret: Follow Companies Where…

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

The other day, a recruiter colleague shared a tip with me. He told me that when a candidate applies for a job with his company, if that candidate otherwise looks qualified, he looks to see if the candidate is following his company on LinkedIn. If not, he won’t consider that candidate.

Rather an extreme attitude, but it illustrates a best practice. Recruiters assume that the main reason you follow a company on LinkedIn is that you want to work there. Smart recruiters use their company’s followers on LinkedIn as the “low hanging fruit” for their hiring needs. Take a moment to follow the companies you want to work for!

Editor’s note: Great tip George! The same holds true if you want to get on a company’s radar for your business. And if you’re running a business and want to attract great employees, ensure your company has a company page on LinkedIn.

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has 20+ years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting),  MarComm, IT, and operations experience. 

How to Work with Executive Recruiters: Interviews

Guest Expert, Pamela Atwood,
Executive Recruiter

Part 2 of our executive recruiter series: How to prepare for recruiter-coordinated interviews.

  • Do your Homework.   Research the Company including all people you will be interviewing with.  Linked-In and Google are good resources here.
  • ALWAYS over prepare.
  • Communicate freely with the recruiter.  Phone them immediately after ALL interviews to share feedback.
  • Listen intently and learn from your recruiter’s coaching and feedback.
  • Plan for your interview just as you would a sales call. Interviewers notice when candidates are well prepared (and when they’re not!).
  • There are three parts to an interview: 1) Rapport Building (the opener); 2) Conversation (the middle).  You MUST prepare questions beforehand you can ask during the interview; 3) The Close.  Ask for the position if in fact you are truly interested.

Relationships are built on trust and communication over time. It’s important to keep recruiters up to date on your interviews to ensure they can negotiate the best deal for you.

Pamela Atwood, MBA, is President of Atwood Associates, an executive recruiting firm.  She brings more than 20 years’ experience in the healthcare arena, including recruiting, management, marketing, and business development. She is also serves as adjunct professor in Upper Iowan University’s Health Care Services and Human Resources degree programs. Pamela chairs the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” Executive Leadership Team.