I often hear introverts say that they are poor networkers.  I completely disagree.  Introverts are some of the best networkers because they usually spend more time listening to what is being said in a conversation rather than waiting to interject his or her thoughts. 

Great relationships whether they are personal or professional stem from getting to know one another and building rapport. We, as people, want to be heard.  We trust people who hear us. I wrote a blog last year titled “Be Interested, Not Interesting” which proves my point in this blog.  If I’m intent on being interesting, I am concentrating on the wrong person in the conversation.  If I’m interested, then I’m focused on the right person because I’m listening. 

The reason introverts are so good at listening is that they are typically not the type of people to wait for the person talking to take a breath to interject with a story of their own.  Great listeners focus on the person talking and answer with questions about the story at hand rather than trying to trump that story with one of their own. 

How often have you talked with someone who focused on you and your story then walk away thinking you had a great conversation?  Of course you have.  On the flip side, have you ever talked with someone only to walk away thinking to yourself, “That person never shut up!”  Don’t be that person.  Use your listening skills to build your network in these three easy steps: 

  1. The next time you attend an event, focus your conversations on listening to what other people have to say and only respond with comments or questions directed to the person talking and not about yourself. 
  2. Send the person or people you met an email or hand written note the very next day and mention something discussed in your conversation as opposed to something about you. and….
  3. STAY IN TOUCH!  Don’t drop this potential contact.    

Be a great listener, and you will a trusted and respected colleague and friend.

Advertisements

Where’s the Beef?

March 28, 2011

Do you remember this series of commercials from Wendy’s in the 80’s?  The little old lady is standing next to her friends and they are staring at this massive bun, only to open it and find a little bitty beef patty.  What a disappointment!

Managing your brand is just like this.  You have to have a great package (hb bun), but the key is to also have a big juicy pattie in the middle. We don’t want to open the bun and find that there is no content, nothing to sink our teeth into, nothing to water in our mouths.  We want the real deal, flavors, thick meaty patties with all the fixins.

Job Seekers: It is great to be polished on the outside, but you have to know and understand the value of what is on the inside.  If I unravel that bow, I want to see something substantial in that gift.  Know yourself and what you have to offer.  It is great to be humble, but you still have to know what you have to offer. Know your skills.  If you don’t know your skills, ask people close to you what you are good at and see what they say. Take some professional or personality assessments to help provide the terminology to use to describe yourself.

And stop comparing yourself to other burgers. How could Wendy’s, Whataburger, and Burger King make it in the shadow of McDonalds’ success?  By not comparing, by being different, by differentiating themselves, but knowing what they have to offer and to whom they want to offer their product.

So I encourage you to not only package your professional image well, but really focus on what you have to offer a prospective employer.  Google a list of skills and circle the ones you think you are good at.  Then think of tangible examples of how you have demonstrated those skills within your professional or academic work.

And don’t forget…Always show me the beef!

SC

For your viewing pleasure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0

Not Go-Getter…GO-GIVER

March 23, 2011

In every encounter and every situation, think about ways you can help. And think of it in terms that do not directly benefit you. I read a book a while ago called The Go Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  This book was given to me as a gift from one of my mentors.  It is a short read, but it delivered such a profound message about how we should stop working for ourselves and begin working for the benefit of others.  In fact, this book delivers a method to begin doing just that.  I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, not just job seekers.

As a result of reading this book, I was able to reflect on my approach with my students, clients, family, and friends.  I have now given this book as a gift to many professionals and friends to aid in the development of their own professionalism and business perspective. Remember: it is through service to others that we find fulfillment and happiness.

SC

It’s that time of year in the life of collegiate intern recruiting.  In our current economy and latest trends in the job search, students in both undergraduate and graduate programs around the world are either interviewing for internships, seeking prospects or receiving offers.  As with every year, however, offers are not all received on the same day nor are decisions are all due from intern candidates on the same day. 

The topic of concern on the minds of our intern seekers hopefully transitions from receiving offers to making a decision.  Intern seekers all of a sudden become concerned with making a hasty decision in the event something better comes along.  Hedging their bets becomes the name of the game.  However, handing over one’s integrity in the game of the job search can get a person eliminated from competition immediately.  No one wants that to happen.  Remember that you are the only person who can give away your integrity. 

Simply put:  make a decision and live with it.  The grass is always greener.  For every decision you make, you also make a sacrifice.  If you receive an offer and decline hoping something better will come along, you run the risk of not receiving another offer.  If you accept an offer, you run the risk of a better offer coming down the pike.  For every decision you make, you also make a sacrifice.

How often have you heard in networking workshops that successful job search networking is all about who you know?  While that statement is basically true, I argue that it is really who knows you that define successful networking.

I am so fortunate to be a part of Keith Ferrazzi’s Relationship Masters Academy (RMA) right now and am learning so much about not just building my network but cultivating and strengthening my relationships.  This program has really made me reflect on the art of networking.  For job seekers, it is not about asking people for a job or asking for contact names of hiring managers.  Networking is about learning and not about increasing the list of people you know by leaps and bounds.   

I remember when I first built my LinkedIn profile.  I went out searching every person in business I had ever met.  I wanted people in my LinkedIn network.  The same can be with business cards.  Attending an event only to gather as many business cards as possible is a great way to build contacts and names, but how many business relationships have you really cultivated with that group?  How many of those people would even remember you if you called or emailed today? 

If you have not built a reputation with your network, then no one is going to remember your name when the right opportunity comes along. 

I challenge you today to think about those you would say are in your job search network.  Would these people remember you?  Do these people know you are searching for full time employment or an internship? Do they know your strengths, goals, or current status in the job search process?  If the answer to any of these questions is no, then the first thing you need to do after reading this blog is take the necessary steps to changing the answer to yes.

I have friends and family who live for Black Friday.  They love getting up at 2:00 a.m. and fighting the crowds for those amazing sales.  I don’t know about you, but I am still in my Turkey coma at that time and want to sleep.   For me, this experience rates right above my dislike for rush hour traffic and grocery shopping after work.  CROWDS!  I want to shop when the stores are quiet, the selection is great, and the odds of me receiving great service are high. 

If you are anything like me when it comes to shopping, then ask yourself if you prefer the same experience in your job search? 

Job boards are great, but think of the volume of people sitting in the comfort of their homes surfing the Internet and applying for jobs?  It’s mind-boggling.  And be sure to not forget about the number of people applying for these jobs who aren’t even qualified. 

Serious job seekers are shopping for something very targeted and want great service—they want to be noticed.  How do you expect to be noticed in the crowded database of applicants if all you do is just apply for jobs online? 

The solution for a high selection and high service job search experience is to do it the old fashioned way:  personal interaction.  Talk to people, and I mean real people with your voice.  In our technology age of texting, this concept might seem a bit foreign, but it’s tried and true.  Pick up the telephone, share a cup of coffee with a subject matter expert, attend a reception, it doesn’t matter.  Just get in front of people. 

Online resources should primarily be used as a research tool when it comes to seeking employment. Speaking with people and building relationships render the best job selection and best service. 

Quality, Service, Selection = Time, Relationships, Networking = Succesful Job Search Experience.

Just say yes…

December 22, 2010

As we grow up, there are many people who offer their words of wisdom; some of it is helpful, some of it is well…not so helpful. 🙂 So, of all the wonderful advice I have received, there is one piece of advice that sticks out that I would like to share with you.  I have heard this from numerous people over the years and have put it into practice many, many times.  My advice to you is…

Say yes, that’s it plain and simple, just say yes.

When asked for help, say yes.  When asked if you know someone who could help, just say yes. When asked for advice, just say yes.  This is how we leave our mark on others.  Now, I am not saying we can be all things to all people, and just saying yes doesn’t mean you have to be everywhere all of the time.  It simply means making a commitment to say yes when asked to stay late.  Say yes when asked to help with a project, not because you are paid  but because you want to help. In addition, you can say yes even before you are asked to do something. Offer help when you see someone in need. First recognize they are in need (pay attention), and then offer to help.

We all leave a legacy when we cross paths with others in our lifetime. What do you want your legacy to be?