16 Sep 2013 · Connect
Networking is as simple as approaching people to ask for their advice and to talk to them about your career aspirations. People like to share their tips, particularly with those just starting out, and a simple conversation can lead to opportunities for work experience and even jobs.
If you're shuddering at the thought of making small talk at gatherings and events, rest assured: you can network from your desk.
First, check what's visible about you online - is it what you want a prospective employer or professional contact to be able to see? Check security settings and update public profiles.
Search Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube and others - learn what platforms are used by those in your field. Many organisations and individuals are using Facebook professionally; but before you network on Facebook, research features such as the 'restricted' list to choose what you share with various people. Ensure you keep anything a prospective employer may see professional.
Join the platforms that you find useful - use a consistent username, image and text, and reference other platforms that you're using professionally to link them. LinkedIn is probably the most popular networking platform. Make sure you complete your profile in full, add contacts and seek recommendations. for more information, see Get Started With LinkedIn .
Network away - join relevant groups on LinkedIn to ask questions and see member details. Add new contacts to enlarge your network and search for more. If you're using Twitter or blogs, follow relevant people to read updates and feel free to ask questions by sending a message starting @username.
Share useful information you come across - networking is supposed to be mutually beneficial, so find ways to add information.
Ask for advice - sending CVs to people you've found online isn't networking. Most are happy to give help or advice initially, so ask questions and gain a useful understanding. Make sure you say thank you.
Follow up with further questions - follow up an initial enquiry by asking them for advice on taking your interest further - are there opportunities coming up or people they'd recommend you to contact?
Carry on networking - it can take a while to see the fruits of networking online, but as your network grows and your credibility increases, it will become more useful and even more so when you're in a job.
Showcase your online networking on your CV - this will highlight your technological skills as well as your flair for communication and willingness to learn.
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19 Jun 2013 · Connect
Not working can sometimes be a full-time job.
While it can be easy to fall into the trap of sleeping late and staying up all night, being idle can lead to depression and not just unemployment but employability issues.
It is true that it is taking some people longer than usual to secure meaningful employment, but there are still many jobs around, you just have to keep positive and keep searching.
Maybe it has been a while since you last had a good reason to rise early, but maintaining a routine is essential for mental and fiscal wealth.Early to bed and early to rise not only got the early bird a meal, but kept her gainfully employed.
Networking is your best bet for getting face time with potential employers and maybe even picking up a bit of casual or contract work. Networking is not just about updating your Facebook status or tweeting your troubles.
Your approach to networking may be as simple as approaching potential employers in your industry to ask for advice, or catching up with former colleagues to ask about the health of your industry or profession.
People more often than not like to share their tips, suggest contacts to graduates starting out or connect with old colleagues over a casual coffee.
Keep things simple. A casual chat can lead to opportunities for work experience, temp or contract assignments or unexpected offers.
It is not a bad idea to have a basic business card printed up or pre-written with your contact details including name, contact numbers and email address. A good stationary store will sell card sheets you can print on a home computer.If you’re yet to perfect your elevator pitch, a brief explanation of what you do and whom you are able to do it for, or you’re socially shy about small talk at gatherings start out at your desk-top.
- Social networking - learn what platforms are being used by those in your field. Many organisations and individuals are using Facebook professionally; but before you network on Facebook, research features such as the 'restricted' list to choose what you share with various people. Ensure you keep anything a prospective employer may see professional.
- Join the platforms that you find useful and relevant - use a consistent username, image and text, and reference other platforms that you're using professionally to link them. LinkedIn is probably the most popular networking platform. Make sure you complete your profile in full, add contacts and seek recommendations. For more information, see Get Started With LinkedIn. Offer genuine endorsements to your peers and they will usually reply in kind.
- Network away - join relevant groups on LinkedIn to ask questions and see member details. Add new contacts to enlarge your network and search for more. If you're using Twitter or blogs, follow relevant people to read updates and feel free to ask questions.
- Share useful information you come across - networking is supposed to be mutually beneficial, so find ways to add information. Adding a link on your Facebook page about industry news or professional development courses. An industry interest maintains your professional credibility.
- Ask for advice - sending CVs to people you've found online isn't networking. Most are happy to give help or advice initially, so ask questions and gain a useful understanding. Make sure you say thank you. It’s not a bad idea to send your CV to peers and colleagues asking for any advice or tips. You might be surprised what they offer. One client discovered his referee’s name was spelt wrong this way. Spelling errors can show poor attention to detail and might be considered a sign of sloppy work habits.
- Follow up with further questions - follow up an initial enquiry by asking them for advice on taking your interest further - are there opportunities coming up or people they'd recommend you to contact? Is there a course or study programme you could enrol on? Universities often host open lectures about issues of specific industry interest and can increase your circle of influence as you meet more people involved in your profession.
- Carry on networking - it can take a while to see the fruits of networking online, but as your network grows and your credibility increases, it will become more useful and even more so when you're in a job.
Success by association
Almost every industry and organisation has an association you can find quite easily on the Internet. Tertiary education providers also have Alumni Associations and every town has a Chamber of Commerce.
Think outside the square. There are numerous clubs, special interest groups and even political groups who might appreciate your talent. You may or may not receive offers of paid work, but you will definitely meet people. And the more people you meet the more chance you have of meeting the person who is going to hire you.
Art gallery’s host regular exhibit opening nights. Ask to be put on their mailing list and turn up ready to admire art, network and enjoy complimentary wine and nibbles.
Keep your Internet identity clean. As a rule of thumb, don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want your mum to see or read. Remember, once something is on the Internet is it there for life.
In next week’s blog we will take a look at online image management, but in the mean time I’d love to hear any of you networking ideas or success stories.
Feel free to post them using the comments section, or give me a call for a confidential chat about your circumstances, issues or ideas.
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08 May 2012 · Connect
When was the last time you spoke to the referees listed on your CV?
It is of constant bemusement to me, how many people listed on resumes as character referees are unavailable, contact information is out of date, or information is just wrong.
This week has been absolutely chaotic with over 200 applications for Home Care Support roles for a large social services provider.
But even when we have copious applications for a handful of roles we still take the utmost care checking each application and ensuring that every person who takes the time to apply receives full and fair consideration.
After eliminating obviously unsuitable candidates, often referring to other roles or retaining information on file, many hours are consumed checking references.
If we are unable to contact your nominated referee we will use all the tools at our disposal to find the person and try to speak to them. Often this involves international calls, internet searches and general skulduggery.
As a last resort we’ll call you for more information.
This too often reveals surprises with numbers listed incorrectly, emails that don’t work or old addresses long since abandoned.
However, we never abandon your file, or file in the too-hard basket, but incorrect information does tell us a lot about you.
Let’s be fair, people move on, change companies and roles, move, die, start new careers and even retire. It’s not unusual for information to change quite quickly without your knowledge.
Yet a litany of errors on your file will definitely undermine your efforts and ours.
Not only does it take us longer to process not only your application, but it also slows down the entire recruiting process.
You can improve your odds of success by regularly touching base with your referees, letting them know you’re in the job market and ensuring that their phone, email, title and company have not changed.
It may even be wise to send them a current copy of your CV. They may offer helpful advice, or even forward it on to colleagues looking for someone like you.
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17 Apr 2012 · Connect
I work with a selection of IT companies including web developers looking for skilled developers, designers and data jokeys.
I've noticed a trend job seekers are adopting. I'm recvieving a lot more creative approachs to CVs. In short, they’re using elements of multimedia—video, infographics, and social media—to bring their resumes to life.
While there are certain guidelines that you should always follow when submitting a resume regardless of mode of delivery, there are a couple of multimedia elements a candidate can tap into to get that extra ommph into his or her resume:
Adding a Face and Voice with Video
By replacing a cover letter with a quick video pitch, job seekers can showcase skills and abilities lost in translation in a traditional resume. As Bruce Hurwitz of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing says, “Video can increase my confidence in a candidate’s ability to successfully interview–Is she professional? Is he articulate?–or eliminate a candidate from consideration.” Of course, time is money, and candidates need to give recruiters a reason to keep watching. My advice: personality is great, but don’t get too cute. Balance is key.
Bringing Flat Resumes to Life with Infographics
Breaking out of the traditional resume template isn’t easy without a degree in design. But presenting a recruiter with a more visually stimulating overview of experience and qualifications can go a long way in setting a candidate apart. Thankfully, it doesn’t take an Adobe Illustrator savant to turn a boring old resume into an interesting infographic. Not only are these easy to create, but they’re easy to share across multiple channels.
Showing Off with Blogs and Personal Sites
Blogs are an excellent platform for candidates to showcase their hobbies, writing and communication skills, and general interests. Think they’re just for marketing candidates? Think again. Even a meat cutter at Whole Foods can run a successful butcher blog to establish expertise and share experience with an avid audience. And who said blogs are just for writing? Techies can demonstrate their ability to build WordPress templates, too, or simply prove they know how to find and add plug-ins to build websites. And candidates for artistic positions can showcase their portfolio of work.
The employment market is exceptionally tough right now and thinking outside the traditional cube may give you the edge you need to succeed to secure a desirable position.
Please feel fre to use the comment link below to offer sugestions, ask questions, critique or comment.
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03 Apr 2012 · Connect
A lot of my recent work has involved looking at employee engagement within companies I work with.
While checking out relevent research on-line I discovered this insightful article.
This article sets out to illustrate a simple approach to increasing employee engagement.
The formula for raising engagement levels is simple and it works, says John Laurent. Develop leaders who value finding out from employees what is wrong, and help leaders to help employees fix what is wrong.
According to a Towers Perrin study of 90,000 employees in 18 countries conducted in 2007-2008, “companies with the most engaged employees had a 19 percent increase in operating income during the previous year, while those with the lowest levels had a 32 percent decline.”
Studies also show that only 20 percent of employees are fully engaged, 40 percent are capable but not committed, and 40 percent are disenchanted and disengaged.
With the right toolkit and with support from the top, a facilitator can apply the process and, where it is followed to its conclusion, a measured increase in employee engagement will occur.
Leaders who are interested in finding out from staff what they really think is wrong and then acting on this are relatively rare.
Too often, workforce perceptions are dismissed as “vague and woolly”, “not relevant to improving the bottom line” or “critical of the leader or others and therefore embarrassing, contagious, hurtful, spiteful, disruptive, etc”. In my opinion these leaders are misguided.
This also means that the majority of leaders and professionals operate to some degree in a more defensive mode.
Coaching and training will be required to move them in the direction prescribed by the ideal leader model. It is not my intention to explore leadership development in detail except to point out how problem-solving facilitation supports leadership growth.
The orientations of the most effective leaders are:
•High Achievement meaning motivated by own goals, seeking problems to fix and wanting to understand problems before deciding, seeking excellence, acting to improve things.
•High Self Actualising meaning non-defensive about self and wanting to understand what is real rather than phoney.
•High Humanistic Encouraging meaning sees best in others, seeking to develop others and involve others in decisions that affect them.
The following examples are typical of problems that were sitting under the surface in actual teams.
Once these were put on the table the teams were able to implement solutions that made a lot of sense and moved the organisations forward.
A manufacturing company supervisory team identified a pattern of misunderstanding in the communication between the schedulers and supervisors. When remedied, this lead to savings of half a day per month in production set up times. Opportunity grasped.
An inwards goods store team were concerned about the number of times they rejected consignments from a supplier owing to their own company’s changing schedules. When they measured the frequency of the problem, they found it didn’t happen as often as they thought and when they shared this data with their supplier they were told they were one of the more reliable customers. Problem disappeared.
A team identified the behavior of one member as their biggest problem. The resulting uproar was uncomfortable at the time, but the disrupter left the company and performance improved significantly. Problem solved.
A senior team followed the process of dealing with their problems right through a long list. Not only did their own team’s engagement (as measured in a survey) increase substantially, but their change had the effect of substantially increasing the entire firm’s measured engagement levels—an unforeseen benefit.
Some points to note
•Emphasis needs to be on team members, not managers, implementing the actions wherever possible.
•Some problems, after discussion, are unable to be solved (eg, world economic conditions). However, sometimes just recognising this helps get the problem into perspective.
•I am always surprised how creative teams can be when they brainstorm solutions to seemingly intractable problems. In large complex organisations, many problems stem from the actions of other departments. This is not to say that teams are helpless victims of others’ actions. Often the solutions involve simply talking to the other department, involving them in solving the problem or recording statistical data and providing feedback.
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