Tag Archives: networking

Job search 2.010 – the value of your network.

In excess of 70% of job opportunities never make it to the public domain.  It’s not what but who you know when it comes to looking for a job.

Make a list.  Who do you know that can have a part to play in influencing a successful outcome for you?  Of those on your list, who might they know who can have a similar positive influence?  Play a game.  Start mapping, listing names, linking them to the people they know.  It’s all about degrees of separation.  You’ll be amazed who in your network is connected to who.

You’ll never truly understand the value in your network until you test it out.  See for yourself.  Grab a pen and paper and get started.  One name leads to another.  They all have a part to play in realising your goals.  Even if you don’t realise right there and then, how or why, you will have written that name down for a reason.  Don’t hesitate, take the first names that crop up in your mind and start building.  Even if it seems daft, it won’t be.  Write it down anyway.

Before you start connecting, consider that success in networking is unlikely if your approach is one of “what can I get”.    Think about what you can give.  Information, articles, knowledge, connections?  Is there someone in your network that can help them, that you can connect them with, that will create mutual value?  If you believe in the value you can add, evidence it to them.  Show them the value you can provide by giving that connection, the piece of information, that article.  If you want that relationship to strengthen over time, keep giving, keep adding value, keep helping.

Approach networking on the basis of “what’s in this for us”.   Your chances of success will be greatly enhanced.  Networking is all about what you can give,  not what you can get.  Give and keep giving.  It takes time, don’t expect immediate results.  What you put in you will get back, eventually.  Sure there will always be those who are happy to take and give nothing in return.  That says more about them then it does about you.  Don’t lose heart.  Reach out to those in your network.  Give, help, add value, connect.   You’ll be amazed what comes back to you.

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Social media is the opener, face time seals the deal.

The search for a job is a full-time pursuit.  In excess of 70% of vacancies never making it to the public domain and therefore networking is the key to career success.  I know this to be true not only from the statistics, but from my own experiences and indeed feedback that I have had from many a job seeker or hiring manager with whom I have worked.

Just being in the game when it comes to your online presence is a start but on its own is not enough.  Like anything, the more you put in the more you are likely to get out.

You need to be entirely clear as to what you want your online message, your personal brand, to say about you, to represent.  Once you have developed your online presence, and you are clear that this is a true representation of your values, views, beliefs, personality, ideals, aspirations, you need to communicate your message consistently and persistently.  It’s an investment and one worth making.  Don’t expect instant results.  The first new connection may not be the key to the job you crave, but if you value that relationship, invest time and effort in it, offer to help, add value, give, then you just never know where that may lead you.

Never underestimate the value of a new connection, for you know not instantly who they are connected to and where that may take you.     Every new connection if treated in the right way, with respect and courtesy, is a potential doorway.

If you approach social networking with the view “What can I get out of it” then you experience is unlikely to be a positive one.  Think instead “what can I give”.  It doesn’t matter how big or small you may view the value of what you can give, I can guarantee that somebody somewhere will attribute enormous value to your contribution.  The more you give, the more you will start to get back.  It’s a simple principle.

In the last few weeks I have met with some incredibly gifted people from a wide range of backgrounds from all four corners of the planet.  I was reflecting on how these new relationships have come about and what has made them work.  The connections have come from referrals from incredibly giving people in my network.  Social media is the doorway through which new relationships have come and will moving forward be maintained.  However, in every case the relationship has moved forward to the next level, to a transactional level, to a level where we are doing or at least talking about doing business together.  Whilst social media has been the facilitator, good old-fashioned face time has enabled these relationships to move on to another, mutually beneficial level.

We have so many platforms for non – verbal communication, text, email, inmail, IM, Facebook, Twitter.  People email a colleague across an office rather than getting up to pass on a message.  We hear of people who are more comfortable texting rather than speaking.

All of these forms of communication are invaluable, they have a place, but they are not the deal clincher.  Intonation of voice, facial expression, non – verbal communication, good old-fashioned face time is what sets you apart and seals the deal.  That is why the interview is the basis of the hiring process.  If you spend all of your time online, you run the risk of losing the skills you need to close.  Get in front of someone, listen, engage, ask questions, converse, communicate.  Ultimately, that’s what makes things happen.

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Filed under Careers, Interviews, Social Media

Game changer or fad?

It must have been incredibly exciting to have been part of the industrial revolution, but did any of those involved actually appreciate or even understand the magnitude of the advances they were making?

What about today? The pace of change and advance in technology is so incredibly innovative, fast paced, disruptive, challenging.  So many assumptions and business models are being challenged. Keeping up with let alone getting ahead of the curve is incredibly demanding.  Change is constant.  Doing what you always did will no longer continue to get you what you always got.  I suspect in generations to come this era will be looked back on and studied in much the same way as the industrial revolution was in my school days.

As a recruiter social media is one such innovation that has been a real game changer.  The recruitment industry has not changed its model in 80 years.  Traditionally a bricks and mortar model, these days I can reach an enormous range of potential talent from across the globe from my front porch.  I am a huge advocate of candidate assessment based on looking someone in the eye and getting to know them and (as yet) you cannot email a handshake.  However take Skype.  I can conduct an in-depth interview across the planet, record it (with the candidate’s consent of course) and play it back to my client if they so wish, for free.

I no longer need an office in London, New York, Paris, Milan or Middlesbrough for that matter in order to reach out to candidates in those areas.  We are a service industry.  Meet our customers at a time and location convenient to them.  They have a multitude of choice, if our level of service fails to meet expectations they have countless other routes to market and not all of them reside with us.  For the recruitment industry social media is a game changer.  It will evolve undeniably, but it is here to stay.

So what about the job seeker?  How can social media help you in your job search?  Is it really the game changer we thought it may turn out to be?  The excellent ExecutivesOnline recently conducted a survey on social media and its place in the job search.  Linkedin was the clear winner as most popular site amongst 60% of the 1264 Senior UK Executives polled, twice that of Facebook, with the other suspects barely making up the numbers.  What is interesting however is the mixed views of social media amongst those executives with respect to its value in the job search.  67% of those polled had never searched for a job on a social networking site.  Only 7% of those polled had ever found a job by such means.

I suspect however a significant number of those polled are underestimating the true value of their Linkedin profile.  In excess of 70% of vacancies never make it to the public domain.  Networking is therefore critical to your career success.   Historically this network would have been incredibly difficult to maintain and certainly to grow without an enormous amount of shoe leather, coffee, lunch, dinner and telephone conversations, an enormous physical undertaking.  The job search is relentless, social media takes the pressure off.

Managed well your social media profile keeps you in mind.  It manages that fine line between polite, courteous and consistent contact and being a pain in the proverbial.  It removes the need to think of a reason to call without appearing desperate.  It legitimizes the constant reminder that is required to ensure you stay at the forefront of your target audiences mind.  This is the real value of social media, not in the immediately quantifiable results it brings but in the platform it gives you to constantly ensure you are updated, upfront and in the frame.  This is where social media is the game changer. Embrace it wholeheartedly, it’s here to stay.

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Filed under Careers, Hiring, Social Media, Talent