Five Quick Tips to Rock Your Network® Online

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.

Networking Before, During, and After ASTD ICE 2012

I’m heading for the ASTD International Conference & Expo (ICE) 2012 and was asked to write a blog post for them. After writing the post, I though my readers could use these tips at any conference or event they have coming up. Enjoy! And I’d love to hear your tips.

Get fired up to attend this year’s ASTD International Conference & Expo! Here are some tips to help you get the most from the conference through networking.

Before: Plan Ahead

Have goals. Many times people attend events without a plan and that’s when it becomes a waste of time. Instead, plan ahead. Who do you wish to meet at this event? If you wish to meet speakers, name them. Who needs to know about you? How many new people do you wish to meet? (I recommend meeting at least three new people.) Plan ahead to ensure you connect and meet your networking goals.

If you’re shy, bring a friend. Introduce them first, and then introduce yourself. Sit at a table with one person you know – and at least three people you don’t. Get to know the new people.

You’ll remember to do these things if you have made a plan in advance. Set networking goals.

Use social media to schedule meetings and gatherings ahead of the conference. Check out ASTD’s LinkedIn page. You’ll see several people are already starting conference discussions. Follow the #ASTD2012 hashtag on Twitter. This will keep you up-to-date on pre-conference and at-conference happenings. Follow people using the hashtag who seem interesting. If they follow back you can direct message (DM) them, contacting them directly and set up a meeting at the conference. I once planned a guest-spot for my conference presentation using Twitter’s DM feature. It’s terrific when you’re not in the same state – or as many attending ASTD’s International Conference and Expo – the same country.

Pack/bring plenty of business cards. Yes, there are cool electronic tools, like Bump and Evernote Hello, however, most people still use business cards and are familiar with them. If you’re unemployed, create your own cards using or Have a tagline on them that brands you. Ensure you have all your contact information on the cards so people can connect with you. For those currently employed, have your staff order you extra cards. Bring at least 100 cards (more is better). You’ll use them for drawings as well as for networking. And, if you meet someone you click with, you don’t want to say, “Gee, I ran out of cards going for the iPad.”

During: Engage!

Have a sound bite ready. When people ask, “So, what do you do?” in a gathering of trainers, instructional designers, e-learning gurus, you want to stand out from the crowd. Do so by stating a benefit you provide your learners. (More tips can be found in my website’s newsroom:

Get a business card from those whom you meet. On the card, jot down at least one unusual or interesting thing you learned about each of the new people you meet on the back of each person’s business card. You can find out something unique about each person you meet by asking open-ended questions.

For example, “Is this your first meeting?” is not an open-ended question because the person will either say “yes” or “no.” Instead ask, “So, what brings you to tonight’s event?” or “What’s one thing no-one knows about you?” or “What’s one thing you’d like to take away from this conference and bring back to your employer?” And so on.

Also list the date and name of the event (or conference session) where you met.

Use social media during the conference. Twitter is one of my favorite tools for this. At last year’s ASTD ICE conference, Marcus Buckingham tweeted that you could see him at a specific hotel and that he’d be wearing a red baseball cap. At TechKnowledge, a fellow Wisconsinite tweeted that he’d be wearing an Aaron Rodgers jersey and where he could be found. Several Wisconsinites met up with him at the conference. And there’s the Red Feathers group who connected through social media, then attached red feathers to their name badges for easy spotting, and connected during the conference.

After: Follow Up

Follow up. On the back of the business cards you received, list the action you plan to take to follow up with your new connection. For example, you promised the person you’d send them an article on the topic you just discussed, do it!

I typically recommend you send this within 24 hours. If you’re at the conference, send it when you return. You’ll have made a note on the person’s business card, so you can remember and do what you promised.

Use social media to stay connected. Because ASTD has such a vast membership in their LinkedIn group, if you did miss getting a person’s business card, you may be able to connect with him or her using LinkedIn. Additionally, if you clicked with the people you met during the conference and want to stay connected later, LinkedIn is an easy way to do so. Plus, you can learn more about each person via their LinkedIn profile. (Note: if you haven’t updated your own LinkedIn profile in some time, do so before the conference!)

Pick up the phone. Sometimes we can get so busy or so used to using social media, we forget to make it personal. Picking up the phone for a brief call does wonders in solidifying business relations with your new connections.

For those wishing to connect with me at the conference, I’ll be in the career center and presenting “Rock Your Network®,” an interactive networking presentation where you’ll learn how to create an effective sound bite and apply what you learn immediately. Follow me on Twitter @wendyterwelp, use the hashtag at the conference #ASTD2012, and be sure to check out the ASTD group on LinkedIn. See you there!

©2012 | Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved. | Graphic design:


Your Career Brand: Who Are You? Employers Want to Know.

The legendary rock back The Who posed the immortal question: “Who are you?” They aren’t the only ones who want to know. Potential employers and network connections will ask you the same thing and you need to be ready with an answer that makes you look good and stand out from the crowd.

Here’s what typically happens at networking events. I was the keynote speaker for a group of financial leaders, primarily Chief Financial Officers (CFOs). Before my presentation, individuals were asked to introduce themselves briefly. The introductions sounded like this:

“Hello, I’m John Smith, and I’ve been a CFO for 25 years…”

“Hello, I’m Mike Miller, and I’ve been a CFO for 17 years…”

“Hello, I’m Fred Jones, and I’ve been a CFO for 22 years…”

While I’ve changed the names and varied years of experience, the introduction phrases are real. If an employer wanted to hire one of them, they’d sure want to know more information.

Sometimes when we’re in a group or working with fellow professionals, colleagues or students, we fall into the “group think” mode: “Well, John said his name, title, and years of experience, that’s what I should do.”

Instead, think about what sets you apart. When all things are nearly equal (like years of experience, education, job duties), it’s your personal brand, who you are, that sets you apart, and those are the reasons an employer will hire you.

As one Staffing Industry CEO told me, “Companies want to know what kind of contribution you can make to their success – not how many years you’ve been working.”

Not only do your achievements with quantifiable results set you apart, soft skills do too. One Labor Relations Director told me she hires for attitude over skill every time. “You can always teach a skill, but never an attitude,” she said. And she is not alone.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to help you identify your differentiators:

• What makes me a star? Translation for employers: “Why should I hire you?”

• What are my greatest strengths? If you’re not sure, go on an Attribute Treasure Hunt™. Survey your closest friends, family, and colleagues and ask them what they feel are your greatest strengths. Then ask them what three words come to mind when they think of you. Their feedback will give you a great head start on identifying your brand attributes and differentiators.

• What are my top five greatest achievements of all time? What are the skills, abilities, and values used to achieve them? What’s the common thread running through each?

Answering these and similar questions can help you identify your personal brand. By knowing who you are, what you want, and what makes you unique, you will be able to clearly communicate your goals and unique value to people in your network and to potential employers. (For more questions to help you uncover your brand and other job-getting tips, check out “Rock Your Job Search™”.)

As for my group of finance executives, luckily, my presentation was about how to create an effective sound bite (elevator pitch). Needless to say, attendees took action. I look forward to hearing about the personal branding action you take next and your results. Go get ‘em!

® 2011 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Job Action Day: Start Up – How to Network

For this year’s Job Action Day, I’m contributing to “Start Up.” According to Quintessential Careers, “Start Up” refers to the whole mindset of being the CEO of your career; having a portfolio of portable skills, a great network, flexibility, a project-mentality; not sitting at the computer visiting job boards, but getting out there, meeting people, and knocking on doors.

Get ready to take action.

In any economy, good times and bad, it’s important to take control of your career search and not rely on the “spray and pray” method—spraying your resume all over internet job boards, and praying someone calls you. By taking an active role in your career, you land a job by choice, not by chance. Won’t it be nice to control your career destiny?

While there are many methods to search for a job, the No. 1 method is to network. You will see networking tips for “getting out there, meeting people, and knocking on doors” below.

Additionally, you can contact companies directly via their company websites or via direct mail. Send your resume and cover letter to key decision-makers for your job target. Better, of course, is to network your way into the company through your personal contacts.

And finally, job boards. Job boards are the most passive way to search for a job. Per CareerXroads Source of Hire Report, March 2011, 24.9% of candidates are sourced through job boards.

My recommendation when using a job board: Use your professional organization’s job board first, like the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD’s) Job Bank ( or the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA’s) Job Center ( Oftentimes jobs posted in a professional organization’s job bank are not posted elsewhere. If you wish to use the major job boards, I recommend doing a little investigative work. Read the job posting, and then see if you have a connection at the company or a contact whom you’ve identified has a connection (two degrees away). In this way, you will learn more about the organization through your connection and be able to create a warm referral to the appropriate decision maker. Do follow the job postings’ requirements and procedures; just use your connections to take your application to the next step.

Get Personal

Networking is simply the No. 1 way people land new jobs. In fact, according to CareerXroads Source of Hire Report, March 2011, “27.5% of hires are attributed to referrals. Referrals are the No. 1 Source of External Hires.” The study also states that “50.3% of all openings are filled through internal movement.” Internal movement counts as a referral. That means 77.8% of people are hired through people they know—their network.

How to Choose a Networking Group

When deciding upon joining a networking group, ask yourself the following questions: Who needs to know about you to help you reach your goals? Does this networking organization serve your target audience for your career goal? Does it have members who are your audience? If not, it’s probably not the group for you.

What groups should you join? Join at least three types of groups:
1. Peer group for brainstorming, education, commiserating, and more importantly for creating referral or alliance partners;
2. Prospects: a group that is your ideal target market or knows your ideal target market;
3. Professional business group or leads group, including professional associations, such as ASTD, PRSA, ISM, and others. Hiring decision-makers often Google your name before meeting with you. Being associated with a professional organization can boost your online presence.

Now that you’ve chosen your top three groups for in-person networking, make a plan. Take five minutes before each networking event to:
• Rehearse your sound bite
• Identify key players whom you would like to meet
• Make a goal to meet at least three new people

What to Say at Networking Events

Have at least three open-ended questions you can ask any person at the networking event.

Here are open-ended questions that encourage conversation:
1. What brings you to today’s meeting?
2. What one or two things would you like to take away from this event?
3. What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you all week?

Never ask: “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?”

Your goal is to create real and helpful connections, NOT close the deal on a job offer or try to collect the most business cards in the room.

Let us know how this works for you and share your story! Good luck!

Want more help taking your job search to the next level? Check out “Rock Your Job Search™.” This program includes proven strategies including: How to Network Effectively Online; How to Ace the Interview; How to Negotiate the Offer and Get the Salary You Deserve, and much, much more. Includes: workbooks, audio, and extra bonuses. Enjoy!

® 2011 | Wendy Terwelp | Opportunity Knocks™ | All rights reserved.

What to Say at Networking Events

Tongue-tied at networking events? Here are some tips to start a conversation.

Have at least three open-ended questions you can ask any person at the networking event.

Here are open-ended questions that encourage conversation:
1) What brings you to today’s meeting?
2) What one or two things would you like to take away from this event?
3) What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you all week?

NEVER ask: “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?”

Your goal is to create real and helpful connections, NOT close the deal on a job offer or try to collect the most business cards in the room.

Want more networking tips? Read, “Rock Your Network®”

Job Searching Sucks

I’ve been listening in on several LinkedIn groups of late and there’s a common theme, job searching sucks!

Comments have included: “No one hires older candidates.” “I don’t know how to communicate transferable skills.” “I know I sure don’t want to do what I did before…but…” “I hate networking.” “Who do I talk to?”

It’s true that many of the above are perceived obstacles. Let’s talk about some solutions that work in overcoming them.

1. Know what you want. If you don’t, it’s much harder for your network to help you. “Know anyone who’s hiring?” is not an effective networking opener. Plus, it is not the hiring decision-maker’s job to tell you what they have open or what position you may be good for. One HR director from Hallmark told me, “Help us out a bit. We’re not career counselors. Tell us what you want!”

If you’re making a change and are unclear of your new direction, I recommend completing career assessments to help you gain focus. Use a real person to help you, not just online assessment tools. A career coach or counselor can help you narrow down your choices and determine the right path for you. It’s a team effort, because your coach is objective, and sometimes a person needs help in defining goals (and a little prodding as well).

2. Age. You are the age you are. Trying to hide your age is going to be an eye-opener when you show up and appear older than 40. Rather than hide your age, demonstrate your value to an organization. What do you bring to the table BESIDES years of experience? A CEO of a staffing firm told me, “For people with 20 or more years of experience, DO NOT write that into your resume. Put a BENEFIT STATEMENT into your resume – something that speaks of how you 1) made the company money, 2) saved the company money or 3) streamlined procedures. Years of experience is immaterial and may indicate that you are just “old.” Companies want to know what kind of contribution you can make to their success – not how many years you’ve been working.”

I have worked with clients 50 and older. One 58-year-old client was very concerned about this. I must say, I had no idea she was 58, and only guessed she was older than 50 because I worked with her daughter previously. She was smart, savvy, dressed young – yet very professionally – and had modern glasses and haircut. This is important for interviews. Another, 62, bought a fitness club and runs this. All of my clients have “young” attitudes, are willing to learn, many are very physically active. You can talk about your marathon, bicycling, etc. on your interview if it comes up. If it doesn’t, know that you can mention relevant hobbies on your resume. I do not mean golf and reading. These are BORING. I do mean, if you ran a marathon in Prague, cool. Mention it. I did this for a client who was transitioning from being an experienced hospital staff nurse to pharmaceutical sales. She got the gig.

3. Transferable skills. Sure you’ve got them. It’s your responsibility to help employers connect the dots. It’s not an employer’s responsibility to do it for you. How? a) Demonstrate your thought leadership online – blog posts, tweets, article links, commentary all help you achieve this. BONUS – doing so shows you “get it” and are hip to online social media. b) Build your LinkedIn network. You are who you hang with. c) Read things outside your industry as well as inside. This gives you a broad perspective. Then communicate your new thoughts online, in white papers, and at your next industry gathering (professional network, etc.).

According to a Microsoft survey in 12/2009 about social media and hiring, 79% of interviewers said they Google candidates before meeting them. In another survey, 45% of employers said they would eliminate candidates based on what they found online.

Let’s help them find some good (not scary) stuff.

Want more ideas? Visit my newsroom here:, subscribe to this blog, and subscribe to my e-zine ( – check out the sign-up box).

Job Action Day: Create Your Own Opportunity

While Job Action Day is officially Nov. 1, I thought the topic was terrific and needed a few more posts.

I recently spoke with a job seeker who told me, “Why can’t I just go to work? Why do I have to go through all this job search process. It’s really annoying.” She had been downsized and looking for the past year. Zero interviews thus far.

She was going to send me her resume for a free review, but I’ve yet to see one. Typically, if there are no interviews, it’s likely a resume issue. It can also be a search strategy issue.

The job search process itself can be pretty discouraging. So, how about making a change? Instead of spraying your resume all over the internet and praying someone calls you, create your own opportunity! Yes, you can still do so, even in today’s economy. That’s what Job Action Day is all about.

The Story of George

George is a professional with a solid background in information technology and talent management. He came to one of my Rock Your Network events, where I had some presenters from a local company sharing their expertise in how to use job boards effectively, including networking your way to the right decision maker.

This gave George some solid ideas about how he could make a positive contribution to this organization. He took the initiative to talk with the presenters after the event. He got names, specifically, the name of the owner of this organization.

George then set up a meeting. He prepared in advance, outlining what he could bring to the table. The meeting went well. Then came the wait. It was a long one.

He asked me about this, “What should I do?” Of course, I asked if he’d had a chance to follow up.

So, he followed up a few times, professionally, adding value each time.

A few months later, George was hired – in a brand new – created-just-for-George – position at this company. It was a management role AND paid well.

A few years later, George created another opportunity for himself with a new company. He networked his way in, and as before, conveyed his value, and was hired.

Was it instant gratification? NO. Was it proactive? YES. Did it take some courage? YES.

Can you do this? YES.

Go on, take a chance! And please do share your experience!

Graphics: Created by SnapHappy Creative LLC