Entries tagged with “networking”.
Did you find what you wanted?
Thu 25 Feb 2010
By Jennifer Cohen
(c) February 25, 2010
So I was at the gym the other day and on the back of a shirt, I saw the phrase:
Running is a metaphor for life. You get out of it what you put into it.
Naturally I sped up on the treadmill and ran an extra mile…
So I started thinking how true that statement is and how it really does apply to everything we do. If we simply exist, we will exist. Things will happen, but nothing extraordinary if we aren’t doing anything extraordinary.
My feelings were solidified when I met a woman at a networking meeting the other day. The woman was laid off a few months ago and was starting a new job the following Monday. We made jokes about being unemployed and how we went through a lot of the same troubles. We both went through the motivated stage, then the disappointment phase, and then got right back into the motivation (those phases–shaped like a dip–seem to be more common then you’d think).
We also spoke about how she was able to make looking for a job like a job. She spent at least 8 hours a day doing research, creating a marketing piece for herself, sending resumes and attending networking meetings. In addition, she spent some time volunteering and joined a few industry associations, in which she become a board member. These efforts helped her meet people, work on her skills and, ultimately, land a job opportunity.
I guess sometimes we prevent ourselves from putting out the effort because we can’t identify the rewards or don’t think they are possible…but really, they will never be possible if you don’t try, and if you don’t try your absolute hardest. So why not? Why not try just a little harder and put a little more into it? You might be surprised with how much more will come out of it!
“Fired…Four Times” is a monthly column written by 20-something Jennifer Cohen, chronicling her experiences being fired, four times, and ultimately reinventing herself in a new and successful career as a marketing and social media consultant.
Fri 8 Jan 2010
Guest Column By Marni Hockenberg
(c) January 8, 2010
A job search can easily be put on the back burner during the holidays, especially if the search has lasted six months or longer.
It’s good to recharge yourself during the holidays to avoid job search burnout. But, like allowing yourself just one more holiday cookie, the temptation to play now and pay later can be dangerous. Moderation is the key.
Hopefully during this holiday season, you enjoyed your down time while also taking some simple and practical steps to jump-start your 2010 job search. But even if you didn’t, it’s not too late to boost your efforts now that the first days of the new year are upon us.
Reflect on your 2009 job search.
Write down five activities you did that successfully moved your job search in the right direction. Keep doing them in 2010. Then write down five activities that didn’t provide traction and discontinue them in 2010.
In other words, make a resolution to be intentional and use your time wisely.
Find an “Accountability Buddy.”
Job searching can be lonely—but with a buddy, you don’t need to be the Lone Ranger anymore. Write down and review your daily, weekly and monthly job search goals with your buddy. Ask him or her to hold you accountable. When you achieve your goals, your buddy can celebrate with you!
Flashcards will give your interview “flash”
Remember flashcards? I used them in school to learn math (where are they? I still need them!). Buy a pack and write down the tough interview questions that stump you.
Formulate your answers and ask your Accountability Buddy to participate in a mock interview with you. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.
Preparation is key in a job interview!
Attend job search educational workshops, forums and meetings.
Even if you learn one tip that will propel you toward achieving your goal, it will be worth your time.
For example, I’m offering an interactive Interview Workshop on January 12, 2010, titled “How The Hiring Game Is Really Played: Experienced Recruiter Reveals 9 Interview Secrets!” from 8:15-10:30 a.m. at the Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka, Minn. For those of you in the Twin Cities area who’d like to register, visit my Web site at www.hockenbergsearch.com/calendar. For those of you in other parts of the country, seek out workshops that will help you build your skills to become a more confident and prepared job-seeker.
No matter what you do, the simple steps you take now can pay dividends as the new year unfolds!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Guest columnist Marni Hockenberg is principal of Hockenberg Search, a professional and managerial recruiting firm based in Minnetonka, Minn. With more than two decades of recruiting and business consulting experience, Marni Hockenberg has a proven track record of providing focused, personalized search services to small- and medium-sized businesses to help them find, recruit and retain top-tier talent.
Mon 4 Jan 2010
Guest Column By Marni Hockenberg
(c) January 4, 2009
As a professional trained recruiter and interviewer, I had enjoyed a long and successful career working for other people—including working as an award-winning senior search consultant for an agency that would become part of one the largest staffing agencies in the U.S. and serving as a founding member of an information technology training company, where I focused on business development initiatives.
It was a successful and exciting career by most accounts—but even so, I’d always held on to the hope that one day I would pursue my dream of entrepreneurship and start my own company. And, in 2002 I finally had the opportunity. I dreamed, I schemed, I planned and I just decided to “go for it.” Joining forces with a longtime colleague of mine, I co-founded The Hiring Experts, a search firm focused on providing recruiting and search services for companies of all sizes and in most industries.
After The Hiring Experts closed, just last year I formed a new company, Hockenberg Search. Some of my clients call me a “professional matchmaker” or an “ambassador.” Whatever the terminology, my job is to help small- and medium-sized businesses find, recruit and retain top “A List” talent.
Throughout these years of entrepreneurship, including this most recent business venture that is mine alone, I’ve learned three important things that I think are fundamental to success, no matter what business venture or industry you’re considering. What’s interesting is that these tips also can apply for those of you who may be considering a new career opportunity rather than self-employment, specifically.
1. Passion for your business is the key.
If you have a burning desire to take your product or service to market and believe in your ability to succeed, you will stack the decks in your favor to “make it.” Your friends and family will sense the passion in your voice when you talk about your business; your customers and prospects will know that you take your business seriously; and every morning when you wake up, the passion for your business will propel you to forge ahead and put in many hours that will be a labor of love. If you don’t have a passion for your business, don’t even bother to start it.
2. An ad hoc “advisory board” of trusted friends, family or service providers that believe in you and your business will get you through the dark days of doubt and fear.
Find people who are optimistic, have high self-esteem, have business experience, a track record of achievement and success, and who will tell you the honest truth (even if you don’t want to hear it). These are your cheerleaders, and you don’t need to be the Lone Ranger when you start a business.
3. Attend networking events and become active on social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
You will begin to build your personal and business brand to the outside world which will differentiate you in the crowded marketplace. This is the beginning of building a referral network for your business. People generally need multiple exposures to a product or service before they buy it – your brand is the beginning of creating this awareness. What do you stand for? What is your value in the marketplace? What business problems or personal problems will you solve for your customers? Ensure that people will feel proud to recommend you or your business to others.
Now…Good luck and go for it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Guest columnist Marni Hockenberg is principal of Hockenberg Search, a professional and managerial recruiting firm based in Minnetonka, Minn. With more than two decades of recruiting and business consulting experience, Marni Hockenberg has a proven track record of providing focused, personalized search services to small- and medium-sized businesses to help them find, recruit, and retain top-tier talent.
Mon 14 Dec 2009
(c) December 14, 2009
A month ago, my husband and I became the proud “parents” of a miniature dachshund, Lazarus, whom we adopted after he was rescued from the pits of neglect.
He was in tough shape, having scratched or bitten off his fur after a severe flea infestation and subsequent allergies, and his ribs stuck out after being without food in an empty home for about a month before he was discovered. Frankly, he looked pretty pitiful, but we fell in love with him anyway. And while our dog brings a very sociable and clever dynamic to the household, he also brings a litany of health problems that we are still working with our vet to treat.
What’s been particularly interesting to me over these past few weeks, though, is how much we have to learn from these little creatures—even a “sad sack on the mend” like Lazarus. (And, frankly, don’t we feel like sad sacks ourselves far too often?) No matter how rough things get, that tail still wags. So, if you are feeling the “dog days” of unemployment or career transition like so many, take a few lessons from your friendly Fido.
The more friends you make, the more treats you get. (Or, the benefits of networking.)
Ben and I have lived in our condo in D.C. for three years. In that time, we have met one neighbor, maybe two. Then we bring home a dog and suddenly everyone knows Lazarus. By name, even. They stop to greet him in the entryway, they yell “Good morning, Lazarus!” from down the hall, they come up to him on the sidewalk to give him a treat. I’ve observed that the friendlier he is to our neighbors, the more he gets from them in terms of attention, affection and treats.
Sure Lazarus is impossibly cute. But the real skill is that he enjoys making friends. The tail wags, he prances over, he makes a big fuss of saying hello. In short, he demonstrates that his friends—old and new—are important to him. In fairness, I couldn’t recall the last time I acted so interested in seeing our neighbors. Lesson learned.
When’s the last time we ever greeted a friend or new acquaintance so enthusiastically? And why haven’t we? Start today. Challenge yourself not just to say “hi” but to actually have a conversation with someone new. You never know what new doors will open or friendships built. (Just, please, no barking.
Wag more, bark less.
Lazarus is pretty happy-go-lucky. He’s in the business of being hopeful—hopeful that a treat might fall into path, hopeful that you will tickle his belly, hopeful that someone or something interesting is just around the corner. In effect, he prefers to “wag more and bark less.”
I saw this phrase on a bumper sticker over the weekend. So true. It’s easy to let the chips get you down—and in this current economy more chips seem to be down than up. But you’ll be happier, healthier and more content when you focus more on the good things in your life and dwell less on the things that are less-than-ideal right now. It’s hard to do, but it’s important to try.
Respect the boundaries (but do challenge them when necessary).
Lazarus is not allowed in the kitchen, but this doesn’t stop him from trying sometimes. Oh, sure, he’ll sit quietly on the edge of the tile where the hallway meets the kitchen most of the time, but he throws all caution to the wind if the prospect of a treat is on the horizon.
It makes me wonder how often we play by the rules when, on occasion, breaking the rules might be in our best interests. Are you sitting on an imaginary line of someone else’s creation, waiting for something that may or may not happen? Or, when the reward is right in front of you, or even hidden behind a door somewhere, are you willing to just go for it?
Never feel guilty for resting.
I am not, and never have been, a morning person. So, when we decided to get a dog, I worried that I would not be able to manage those early-morning wake-up calls. Instead, we were blessed with a dog who is clearly not a morning person, either! Lazarus would sack in until noon if he could. And he often does, waking up only long enough for a potty break and breakfast in the early morning hours, before going back to snooze for hours on end. And you know what? He feels no shame.
You shouldn’t, either. Rest is important. In fact, it’s vital to a healthy life. When you need to rest— especially in these challenging times when you are working so hard and feeling like you are getting nowhere fast—just do it. Everything else can wait…at least until your nap is done.
You are worthy.
Lazarus just expects to be loved and adored. It’s not even a question in his mind. And the more he expects it, the more it seems to happen for him. He believes he is worthy of the pat on the head, the treat, the walk—yes, even the fish fillet he snatched off my husband’s plate when he looked away for all of five seconds. With him, there are no apologies, no half measures, no “what if’s.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we felt like we are worthy of success, joy, happiness, contentment, rewards? We are, you know. So, go for it! Claim what you would like to see happen. Be bold. Just do it!
Thu 10 Dec 2009
Guest Column by Jane Stubblefield
(c) December 10, 2009
Whether it’s expected, or comes as a complete surprise, being separated from your job is a shock to your psyche as well as to your savings account.
I joined the ranks of the unemployed last February. After the normal cycle of blaming and raving, I realized what happened to me was truly a blessing in disguise.
Finally I could step back, evaluate my experience and decide how to reclaim my purpose in life, which was much more about creating a livelihood than it was about just having a job. Obviously I would have to devote many tedious hours to finding a full-time position, but I also wanted to make that search process creative, nourishing and outwardly focused.
After spending months networking within industries related to my diverse background, I ultimately decided to return to my passion and focus my job search on finding a position as a Director of Volunteers for a nonprofit organization.
Working with volunteers had always brought out the best in me, both personally and professionally, so it seemed logical that the next step in my job search should be seeking an appropriate volunteer opportunity to keep me nourished and connected to the professional community. My goal was to find an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution, network with the people in my industry, and gain new skills to enhance my resume (pretty ambitious for a 63-year-old grandmother who recently had retirement in her sights!)
I soon was energized by a great opportunity! I am completing an unpaid internship at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. My assignment is to write a volunteer policy manual—a perfect fit for me right now. I’m “working” for a highly recognized and respected organization with professionals who appreciate my skills and experience. I’ll add this project to my resume, and I’m gaining valuable knowledge while conducting the research required for the assignment. By taking the initiative to pursue volunteer work while unemployed, I’m hopeful potential employers will see me as a resourceful, energetic and creative person who also takes responsibility for making a contribution to our community.
Whether you’re seeking employment in the private, public or nonprofit sector, the benefits of volunteering in these economic times are invaluable—a win/win for everyone!
Charities are experiencing unprecedented needs for skilled volunteers as requests for their services skyrocket and resources dwindle. Volunteers can provide much-needed expertise and in return, have the opportunity to freshen skills, add depth to their resumes and network with a wide variety of resources that can make valuable connections for them.
As for your psyche—volunteering turns your focus outward and helps you keep your own situation in perspective as you help those in need.
Ready to volunteer? I offer a few tips to help make your volunteer experience successful.
- Explore your passions and determine what matters most to you before beginning your search.
- Target your approach. Find a position that will enhance your skills, and once in a position, seek project opportunities that showcase your talents and leadership ability.
- Be genuine and don’t over commit. Be honest about what your expectations are and make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you.
- Always be professional and do the best job you can, no matter what you are asked to do.
- Take every opportunity to learn everything you can.
- Temper your expectations. Nonprofits don’t always have the same level of resources that corporations do, so don’t complain about what the organization may be lacking.
- Always speak well of the organization. You never know who is listening!
- Be humble and helpful, and always respect the staff and their clients.
- Don’t leave the organization in the lurch! Seek short-term projects rather than long-term commitments, and if you find a job and need to leave the position before the agreed upon date, figure out a way to finish the project before you go.
- Request a letter of recommendation from your supervisor when you leave, and be prepared to make specific connections from your volunteer experience to a job interviewer.
David McNally, international business speaker and author, suggests that “the seeds of thriving are sown through giving.” Aren’t you ready to thrive rather than just survive? You have the time; you have the skills; now go find your passion and volunteer today!
No matter where you live, organizations are waiting for your help. Step away from your computer and engage in a healthy activity with untold benefits. You never know where this path may lead!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Guest columnist Jane Stubblefield is experienced in volunteer and event management and is currently serving in a “nontraditional” internship with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. She lives in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where she sings in the church choir and enjoys spending time with her toddler grandson.
Tue 13 Oct 2009
By Diva Nikki
(c) October 13, 2009
Are you looking for potential next steps in your career but are not quite sure what that next step should be? Or maybe there’s a manager in your company that you think would be great to work for–or a company you’d really like to be part of–but there are currently no positions posted.
An informational interview could help you in any of these situations. Unlike an official job interview, an informational interview is about gathering and sharing information in a casual way. You gain information about a manager or position in which you might be interested. And you share information about yourself that – hopefully – will interest them.
So how do you get an informational interview?
It’s easier than you might think. Remember, you’re asking someone to talk about themselves and what they do–something most people relish the opportunity to do! Good managers also keep their eyes open for talent, so you’re helping them by sharing your information, too. (more…)