How to Network Online

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Do spend every day wondering how you can network with dream employers?

Social recruiting has become a very popular way for employers to connect with talented candidates like you! Many employers are using social media to advertise their company culture and open positions to attract Millennial job seekers. Because of social recruiting, this has become the perfect opportunity for you to network with recruiters from your dream employer before you even apply for the job.

Recruiters aren’t just using social media to dig up reasons why they shouldn’t hire you, but they’re searching for reasons why you are the best candidate for their company. Did you know 29 percent of hiring managers found something on a candidate’s profile that drove them to offer them a job? This goes to show how important social media is to your success in landing a job.

By networking with recruiters, you will be able to build a personal connection with the company you have always dreamed of working for. If you’re wondering how you can start building these relationships, check out these ideas to help you get your name heard by recruiters:

Start following companies you want to work for.

If you want to get your foot in the door at your dream company, start following the companies you want to work for. Not only will this help you stay up-to-date on their latest news, but also you will have the opportunity to discover who their recruiters, employees, and management are. Once you start following a company you want to work for, search their followers for similar connections you may have. You should also start following the company’s recruiters and hiring managers.  This will help you make connections fast and start getting your name out their to the company.

Interact with the company’s social media profiles.

Once you start following companies you want to work for, begin interacting with their different social media accounts. Follow the company’s Facebook page, Twitter profile, and LinkedIn company page and join their LinkedIn groups. After you follow their accounts, it’s time to begin engaging with the company. Like and comment on their Facebook posts and share their content with your networks.

Start conversations online and take them offline. 

Now that you’ve made connections with recruiters on LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s time to start building that relationship offline. Ask the recruiter to exchange emails so you can ask questions about what it’s like to work for their company and employment opportunities they have available. The goal of exchanging conversation through emails should be to set up an informational interview over the phone or in-person. You want to build a relationship with recruiters and employers, so be personable and make the effort to take the relationship offline.

Once you make a connection, follow up periodically.

After connecting with a recruiter and establishing a relationship, make sure you maintain the relationship. This can consist of emailing the recruiter periodically just to check in or share what you’re currently doing with your career search. If you have already provided your resume to the recruiter, be sure to send updated versions of your resume as you gain more experience and skills. You can also follow up with the recruiter on Twitter or LinkedIn. But remember, always be professional and have a purpose when contacting the recruiter.

Networking with recruiters is a powerful strategy for your career search, especially for landing your dream job. Now that you know how to network with recruiters, connecting with your dream employer won’t feel as intimidating. Networking with recruiters is one of the most proactive things you can do for your job search. By creating these connections, you will be one step closer to landing the job you’ve always wanted.

Do you network with recruiters? How has your job search benifitted from having these connections?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

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Who Should I Put for My Job References?

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You will probably be asked for references before you receive a job offer—sometimes as early as at the screening interview, sometimes when you interview with the hiring manager, and sometimes only when an offer is extended “subject to a satisfactory check of references.”

It isn’t unusual, however, for people to be hired without a reference check, particularly if they come to the organization through a referral, if they’ve previously held a part-time job at the company, or if the hiring manager is in a hurry.

GET PERMISSION
In any case, your references are valuable to you, and you need to treat them with respect. Obviously, it’s a good idea to begin, early in your campaign, by asking potential references for permission to give their names. If they grant it, express your appreciation, offer to send them your résumé, and, if possible, meet with them or discuss your campaign strategy with them by phone.

You should try to develop a list of five or six references, although you may use only two or three of them in any one situation. These might be former managers, professors, friends of your family who know you well (but not family members), or people who know you through community service. Ministers, rabbis, and the like qualify if they can attest to your service to the community or the congregation or otherwise provide insight into your manner of overcoming obstacles.

Try to develop a list that can provide various perspectives on your accomplishments, and remember that what hiring managers are trying to assess is how you will perform and behave on the job.

MAINTAINING GOODWILL
Because your references are doing you a favor, you don’t want to abuse their goodwill. This means making sure they’re not called too frequently. If they have been called three times already, and you need to use them again, you should call them, thank them for their efforts on your behalf, apologize for any inconvenience, explain the circumstances, and ask whether they are still willing to help. This will help you avoid having your references go flat.

You should also take steps you can to prevent their overuse in the first place. If you’re asked for references early in the interviewing cycle, you can mention who you would use and what they can confirm about you, but say you would prefer that they not be contacted until a later stage in your discussions. Explain that you want to be fair to your references by not having them called too often and that you are having discussions with several organizations.

When the time does come to provide contact information, say that you wish to call the references first to provide them some understanding of the position you are discussing and to introduce the person who is calling.

This approach has multiple advantages. It gives you a chance to prime your references. It shows the hiring manager that you treat people with respect. It delays the reference checking until late in the process when the company already has decided you are the right choice. And it indicates that you are giving consideration to several companies and positions—raising your worth as a candidate.

MAKING THE FIRST CALL
When you do reach the stage of providing contact information, be sure to call each of the references you will give. Explain to them who might be calling, what the position is, why it relates to your goals, and what you think the person calling might be interested in knowing. You can also request that the reference confirm or emphasize certain characteristics.

A week later, ask your references if they received a call. If so, find out what the caller seemed to be interested in, and seek recommendations from your reference on what clarifications you should make with the employer.

For example, your reference might indicate that the caller said, “He seems likable, but I’m not sure he’s persistent enough to follow through when the going gets tough.” The reference might not have been able to address the caller’s concern based on what he knew about you, but you—now knowing the concern—could find a way to introduce more evidence regarding your persistence when the going gets tough.

If your references have not received a call after a week, check in with the hiring manager to see if there is anything you can do to make it easier to get through to your references—find out when they will be available or ask them to call the hiring manager on your behalf.

Bear in mind, though, that the hiring manager may already be satisfied that you’re the right person. Or on the other hand, the manager may be having discussions with another candidate and holding you in reserve. Either way, your thoughtful persistence will leave a positive impression.

DEALING WITH UNFAVORABLE REFERENCES
If you must provide a particular reference—your most recent manager, for example—but feel that the person may give you a mixed review, have a discussion with that person.

Find out what he or she sees as your strengths and weaknesses. Try to show them how you are making the most use of your strengths and that you are either working on your weaknesses or choosing a path that doesn’t emphasize them.

Ask for the person’s own suggestions. It’s pretty unusual for a person to give a weak endorsement of someone who is listening to his or her constructive suggestions.
At the same time, it’s important for you to prepare a hiring manager to hear an unfavorable reference if you think this may be a problem. By doing so, you get to tell your side of the story, and the manager won’t be hearing for the first time that someone thinks you made a mistake or didn’t handle your job or a particular situation well. Here’s an example:

“There is one reference I’m giving you that may not be as favorable as the others. Let me explain why. When I was hired by Security Services, I was told to notify my supervisor immediately if a dangerous situation seemed to be developing in the mall. I did so when after the July Fourth event, the crowds seemed to be getting thick, and a few troublemakers were starting to stir things up. I immediately told my supervisor of my concerns about the developing situation, but he took a wait-and-see attitude. Later, when trouble broke out, he seemed to want to pin the blame on me for not telling him soon enough. I don’t wish to make an issue of it, but I thought you should understand some of the background.”

Your ability to follow through and address outstanding issues will impress not only the recruiting manager, but also your references—smoothing the way for your next job search.

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How Should I Prepare for an Informational Interview?

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On the surface, an informational interview is exactly what it sounds like: a personal exchange geared toward learning about a specific career, industry, or position. But the beauty of the informational interview is that it goes beyond information gathering, which nowadays can mostly be done online.

“It’s about building a relationship with a professional in your desired field,” says Julie Cohen, career coach and owner of Julie Cohen Coaching LLC. “It will build your network, and give you an insider’s view of a career.” It’s also less stressful than a real interview because there’s no job hanging in the balance.

No matter where you are in your job search, you won’t regret adding the informational interview to your bag of tricks. Just make sure you take the right approach, and ask the right questions to make the most of your conversation.

PLAN YOUR OBJECTIVE
Think seriously about your goals before setting up an interview. “Even though you might want a job, don’t let that be your primary intention,” says Cohen. Contacts won’t be as willing to give up their time if that’s your stated agenda. Instead, focus on your desire to develop your career path and plan your strategy according to the job titles, companies, and industries that you’d like to explore.

SCOUT FOR TARGETS
There are several resources you can use, starting with professional acquaintances, family, and friends. You can also check in with your alumni association or college career center; they usually have a database of former students who are willing to lend an ear. Professional associations are a good starting point, too, as is a job or company search on LinkedIn.

It’s convenient to have some sort of a connection to your interviewee, but don’t be afraid to find new contacts in creative ways. Cohen suggests browsing recent news articles related to your career interests, and tracking down the person who was quoted or profiled. Plus, the article should give you ammunition to initiate a dialogue-and eventually ask for that interview.

POP THE QUESTION
“Many people are uncomfortable asking for informational interviews because they think it’s a one-way street,” says Cohen. But don’t worry that you’re asking for something without offering anything in return. People love to talk about what they do, and as long as you show that you’re genuinely interested in how they got where they are, you should be successful.

Email is the least intrusive way to pose your question. Start by simply letting the person know why you’ve contacted them, whether it’s “Jon recommended I speak with you,” or “I read your article in the Post and want to hear more about your work.” Then give a little background and say why you would value a meeting-but don’t make it as formal or as long as a cover letter, and DON’T include your resume. End by giving a few dates and times you’re available. A standard request is a 15-minute phone interview, but if you feel comfortable, ask for lunch or a coffee.

PREPARE
Research the same way you would for a job interview. Google your interviewee to see if anything pops up that you can talk about. Make sure to prepare enough questions to pass the time, because you’re the one leading the conversation. If you’re meeting face to face, dress appropriately for the location and for a potential employer. It’s okay to bring your resume, but keep it hidden unless you’re asked to share it.

LEAD THE INTERVIEW
The most important part of the interview is asking the right questions. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • What lured you to this industry?
  • What training did you need?
  • What is your typical workday like?
  • What do you like most about your work, and what do you like least?
  • Do you have any recommendations for someone just starting out?
  • Are there other people you’d recommend speaking with? (This is particularly important because it will build your professional network.)

Everything you ask should be something that can’t be found elsewhere, so don’t ask the contact to repeat his bio. If the interview runs long, point out the time and leave it up to the contact to wrap things up. When your conversation ends, be gracious and appreciative. If it was a face to face and drinks or food were ordered, always attempt to cover the tab.

FOLLOW UP

Your final move should be an email to thank the person for providing her time. Tie up any loose ends from the conversation, including names or documents they promised you. Keep the door open for future correspondence by asking if it’s okay to keep in touch. It may just happen that three months later, your quick email to check in will illicit an invitation for a real interview.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at WetFeet.

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Is Your LinkedIn Profile a Disaster?

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Interested in having your LinkedIn profile professionally written by Doostang? E-mail sebastian.king@doostang.com for more information.

Most job seekers know to update their resume when it’s time to look for a new job. But what about your social media footprint? One of the first places recruiters look for talent in the social sphere is the professional networking site LinkedIn.

You might have a LinkedIn profile, but are you making the most of this social network when it comes to the job search? Job seekers are often willing to turn to writing professionals to revamp their resumes, but not when it comes to a LinkedIn profile. Yet most recruiters are looking you up on LinkedIn to gain additional information, or even evaluating you entirely on what you chose to share on this social channel.

Turning your nose up at professional help when it comes to your LinkedIn profile isn’t exactly a smart move. Professionals reviewing your LinkedIn profile will often catch some big blunders you’re not even aware you’ve made. Simply searching “LinkedIn profile writer” on Google or LinkedIn itself can get you in touch with a professional. But if you don’t have extra cash to enlist their help, here are some of the biggest mistakes job seekers make that can turn a great candidate into a LinkedIn profile disaster:

You Skipped The Picture

Who needs a picture, right? After all, your qualifications should speak for themselves. But before you put your camera away, know that it’s never advisable to skip adding a profile picture. Putting your smiling face beside your professional experience is actually an essential part of LinkedIn, something too many job seekers fail to realize.

A professional looking over your profile would know what TheLadders study recently confirmed: recruiters actually spend more time looking at your profile picture than your qualifications. Don’t worry, finding a job isn’t a beauty contest. There are plenty of reasons recruiters look at your profile photo first and qualifications later.

For instance, if you’ve recently attended a networking event and add some of the great contacts you met, it’ll be hard for others to recall who you are without seeing your smiling face. Plus, humans in general are visual creatures, which explains the rise of visual-based social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest for socializing, job searching, and personal branding.

However, you want to be careful what you’re saying with your images. Make sure the profile picture you choose is professional. Don’t put up a picture of your dog, your baby, or that photo you snapped at the bar during half-priced margarita night. Don’t choose a photo with another person in it, and make sure the image is brightly lit with high resolution. A professional reviewing your LinkedIn profile could help ensure you chose a photo that puts you in the best light.

You Ignored Keywords

You might know about recruiters using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sort through resumes based on keywords, but are you ignoring keywords in your LinkedIn profile?

Too many job seekers don’t think to make their LinkedIn profiles as keyword-rich as their traditional resume, but skipping keywords could mean a recruiter misses your profile altogether when conducting a search. Professionals looking over your LinkedIn profile will advise you to make sure you pack your profile with keywords relevant to your experience.

This is especially true when it comes to your headline. Many LinkedIn users ignore the headline altogether, but it can work as a smart elevator pitch for your candidacy. Make headlines short but descriptive, giving recruiters a feel for your professional experience in less than a sentence. Another keyword feature to take advantage of is LinkedIn’s “Skills & Expertise” section, which allows you to endorse others for their specific skills and receive endorsements in return.

You’re Not A Joiner

Perhaps you’ve always been a lone wolf, but when it comes to LinkedIn it’s time to start mingling. According to statistics, 81 percent of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group. More than half participate in group discussions, while 42 percent update their information regularly. Unfortunately, too many job seekers throw together a LinkedIn profile, slap on a profile picture, and then call it a day.

This isn’t a smart plan, and any professional advisor would recommend you put a little time and energy into populating your LinkedIn profile over time. You might feel bad bragging about your work achievements or linking your industry-related writing on your Facebook, but LinkedIn was created to show off what you can do. Brag away! Update your status and keep your professional network informed about your professional achievements.

Don’t be afraid to rub virtual elbows with people in your industry or who share your interests. Joining groups and taking part in discussions offers a great way to expand your network, adding to the list of people who will remember you when a position opens up at a great company.

If you add substance and value to a group as opposed to just spamming, you’ll be thought of in high regard. A professional advisor might be able to help you isolate the groups and organizations you should target in order to grow your network and get in front of industry movers and shakers.

Maybe your LinkedIn profile isn’t a total disaster, but it could probably benefit from a professional tune-up. Finding someone who understands how recruiters think and what they look for on this unique social media platform is a good way to go from job seeker to star employee.

What do you think? What are some common mistakes you see on LinkedIn? Share in the comments!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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Job Seekers: Don’t Talk Yourself Out of a Job

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There are plenty of articles, books, infographics, and videos which discuss the best interview tips for job seekers. They provide insightful ways to research companies before the interviews. They teach you about the different interviewing steps. They provide interviewing blunders so seekers can learn from them. And they give suggestions on how to make a candidate stand out in the interview process. Mostly, these are all great resources for job seekers to use, but what about teaching them how NOT to talk themselves out of an opportunity during an interview?

Although I’m in a recruiting role now, I have also dealt with the ups and downs of being a job seeker. As I perfect my recruiting skills and collaborate with other recruiters, I’ve learned some of the mistakes I’ve made when I was searching for a job. I realized that sometimes saying too much could actually work against a candidate and extra information could cause a recruiter to think the following things:

  • You’re all over the place: I completely understand when a candidate wants to talk about all of their experiences in detail because it shows some additional skills and initiative that they believe will add value. Sometimes this is true, but if you present it wrong or overelaborate these experiences, you may take away from the core point that you were trying to make. The purpose of the interview is to show the recruiter that you are perfect for that specific position. If you clutter it up with other details, it might cause some confusion.
  • You’re not as skilled as they initially thought: Your resume might say you have five years of experience in a specific position, but if you go off on a tangent about all the other duties you preformed while in that role, the recruiter might believe that your job didn’t focus solely on the function they’re looking for. You may have gained those skills through additional side projects. If this is the case, make sure you present it in a way so recruiters know that it was something extra that you did and that your previous job fully-involved all of the duties that the recruiter is targeting.
  • You don’t know what you want: One of the biggest things I’ve seen when it comes to this is the fact that candidates tend to talk a lot about irrelevant experiences and skills they have. They may think it helps show their diverse skill-set and years of professional experience, but it can make a recruiter wonder where your true passion lies. Are you just taking this job because you have enough experience to meet the requirements or will this job keep you engaged enough?
  • You talked yourself into a corner: make sure you ask the recruiter questions in regard to what they’re looking for in a candidate and what the expectations are. The last thing you want to do is have to backtrack a previous statement you made about why you didn’t like a specific job/duty or what you thought you were the weakest at. It’s extremely hard to recover from that.

I won’t lie, I’ve been this type of candidate before. I was excited to land an interview and wanted to tell the recruiter everything I possibly could about my professional experience so they thought I could be an asset to their company. I thought my broad skill-set would help them see that I was adaptable and flexible. Unfortunately for me, it was quite the opposite. Instead, the recruiter received a jumbled amount of information that didn’t help them easily see how my skills perfectly matched their job opening. Even if I did have a great match of skills, they couldn’t determine that with all the additional chatter about “this” and “that”.

I strongly suggest for candidates to take the time to really re-read details about the job and the company and then consider great examples from their previous experiences that fluidly matches what the recruiter is looking for. Think of these answers beforehand so you can get straight to the point effectively and don’t include any unnecessary details that isn’t relevant. As a candidate, you want to paint the best picture for the recruiter so they can see that your transition into this position will be a smooth one.

About the Author, Ashley Lauren Perez:  After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in human resources and organizational management, Ashley pursued her passion and secured a career path in the human resources industry. She is currently a Sourcing Specialist for WilsonHCG, as well as a Brand Ambassador for WilsonHCG and #TChat. Additionally, she uses her experience and knowledge to write a blog focusing on an array of Social HR topics. Even if you aren’t in the Charleston, SC, area, you can easily connect with Ashley on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

 

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Personal Branding Without Purpose: A Job Seeker Failure Story

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There’s so much emphasis personal branding as a “critical” job search skill. Yet so many of us genuinely suck at branding ourselves.

And for most of us, there’s one simple reason for our shortcomings: our endgame is unclear. We haven’t identified – and in some cases, even thought about – our goals for why we want to engage in personal branding.

We have… no clear purpose.

“Simple,” you may say… “my ‘purpose’ is to get a job!” So you create a Linkedin account, and lurk on twitter chats. You get an About.me page and join BeKnown and Google+. Depending on your chosen career field, you may even develop an online portfolio to show off your work, blogs and your smiling face in a professional headshot. You are the perfect personal brand. Right?

And yet… you don’t receive a single job offer. Fail.

Here’s what you may not realize: The purpose of personal branding is NOT to get a job. Not one recruiter ever said, “Ooh, this guys’ personal branding is really good. I’ve never heard of him, but I’m going to call and offer him a job!”

With that in mind, here are three tips to getting the most out of your personal branding efforts:

1. Determine What You Want to SELL

If you don’t know what you want to sell – no one is going to buy. And, despite what most people seem to think about personal branding, you are NOT selling YOU.

You are selling your ability to do a specific job within an existing company culture.

Try to be everything to everybody, and your personal brand is doomed for failure. Be too specific, and you’ll be seen as rigid and less than a team player. Find the right balance. Include a conservative yet professional picture. Most important, SELL how YOU would help accomplish the goals of the employer.

2. Know that Personal Branding is NOT a Standalone Task

You can have the best possible branding… and if no one notices you’re just getting sucked into yet another round of false expectations and disappointments. Just like those hundreds of resumes sent through that mega job board without a single call back… you’re wasting your job seeking time.

Personal branding is only effective when combined with networking and hard work!

No matter how introverted you may be, or how uncomfortable you may feel in public arenas meeting new people, you must take baby steps toward becoming a networking phenom – or your personal branding falls on deaf ears.

3. Set Quantitative Goals to Drive Eyes to Your Brand

It’s easy to set goals for your personal branding – and networking. Todd Herschberg, one of the most connected people on Linkedin, says it really comes down to working a plan: “Add two or three new Linkedin contacts a day. In three to four months, the absolute minimum time frame of an average job search, you’ll add 200 to 300 new contacts and influencers who may be tempted to recommend you next time they hear about an opportunity.”

Goal setting can apply to just about every other aspect of your job seeking efforts including twitter, face-to-face networking, and building mentor relationships – all critical tasks that will result in more views of the personal brand you’ve worked so hard to create.

Despite the hype by buzzword chieftains, and the strong emphasis placed on personal branding, this is not some golden ticket to getting a job. Instead, personal branding is just one more important weapon in your candidate arsenal.

Determine what you want to sell, incorporate networking and a little elbow grease and set achievable goals. Now, your personal branding will soar above your job seeking competition – and you’ll avoid yet another job seeker fail.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at YouTern.

About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Switch and Shift, The Daily Muse and Under30CEO.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2012”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!

 

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5 Worst Ways to Answer: ‘How’s Your Job Search Going?

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“How’s the job search going?”

This seemingly innocuous question is an inevitability for most, if not all, of the 11.7 million unemployed folks in America. The questions shows up everywhere: dinner with your parents, small talk at get-togethers and even networking events with strangers.

When faced with this question, you can answer by going down one of two paths: The easy path, where you simply mutter an evasive response (It’s going alright)and then change the topic (How about those Kings?).

Or you can go down a more difficult, but productive path, which can potentially turn dull jibber jabber into a great, new job opportunity.

We encourage the latter. “Remember every person you know, and every person you meet is a potential employer, or knows a potential employer,” says Carisa Miklusak, CEO of TMEDIA.

If you want to make a great impression, don’t say:

1. “I’m really open to anything.”

It sounds too unfocused and desperate. “Instead, take the time to explore the type of company and position that you are seeking and then ask for relevant intros!” says Michelle Proehl, Slate Advisers.

Mary Westropp, Vice President for Communications at New Directions offers a much more proactive answer: I’m giving it everything I got. I’m on the lookout to meet folks in [insert your field of interest].

 2. “When I get a job, you’ll know it.”

This one is just a bit closed off and rude. Another, nicer alternative: “Well, it’s taken longer than I expected. In the meantime, I’ve been volunteering and building my resume.” Miklusak suggests.

3. “Would you be able to help me find a job?”

Asking anyone for a job puts them in an awkward position – even your acquaintance in HR, she may not really have any influence over new hires.

A less awkward route is to be honest about your position (“I’ve been searching daily, and I haven’t found the right opportunity yet”). And then follow it up with: “How are you doing? Is there anything I can do to help you?” suggests career coach Lavie Margolin. Be remembered by your thoughtfulness rather than awkwardness.

4. “It’s not going very well”

This response may be honest, but it makes it seem like you’re hopeless.

To sprinkle a little sunshine in your tone, talk about a recent milestone you’ve achieved. For instance, if you “arrangedan informational interview at one of your target companies,” says Proehl. Or, you “advanced to a second round interview at another.” It can even be something small, like “I’ve been attending networking events once a week.”

5. “I’m not really sure what I want to do anymore”

The problem with this answer is that it’s a combination of No. 1 and No.4. If you really don’t know what you want to do, talk about signs of progress.

You can be honest and explain how you’re clarifying your goals. “For instance, when you met with a product manager at a tech startup, you realized that you really liked the startup environment, but being an engineering manager was actually more up your alley,” Proehl says.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at CareerBliss.

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6 Tips to Nail Your 30-Second First Impression

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It’s vital when you go to interview to make the best first impression you possibly can. The interviewer only has one chance to form an opinion of you and you need to make sure it’s a good one. How can you impress in the first 30 seconds? Here are some top tips from the Graduate Recruitment Bureau to help you come across as the perfect candidate.

1. Eye-contact

This can feel awkward but you need to make sure that when you meet your interviewer you look them in the eye as much as you can. Obviously don’t stare unblinkingly (they probably won’t like that) but make sure you make the connection. It’s easy to forget and stare at the floor or the wall but you need to be aware of this because it will make you look as if you’re not engaging.

2. Walk tall

You need to make sure your body language exudes the confidence of someone who believes they will get the job. Stand up straight with your shoulders back – no slouching! Keep your body language open and friendly. Arm folding is a no-no and when you’re standing/sitting waiting don’t pace or shuffle nervously. Remember you are calm and cool and you can get this job!

3. Get the handshake right

The handshake is the universal sign for politeness and professionalism so you need to get it right. Keep it firm, not too firm though – you don’t want to crush any fingers – and two shakes should be enough. Lean in for the handshake and step back when it’s done. If you’re worried you’re going to have sweaty hands (it happens) then keep a tissue in your pocket it and give it a quick squeeze before the handshake.

4. Talk the talk

When you meet the interviewer for the first time, introduce yourself. Yes, they (hopefully) already know who you are but if you introduce yourself it makes you look confident and prepared. It also means that you can avoid any awkward discussion about the weather or your journey there. Make sure you speak clearly as well, don’t mumble.

5. Dress to Impress

You have to look the part when you show up for interview. It’s irrelevant whether everyone there is in a suit or whether they’re lounging round the office in surf shorts. You have not yet earned your place there so you must dress smartly to show the interviewer that this job is important enough for you to have made an effort.

6. Smile

Last but not least, try and look like you’re not having one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your young life. Smiling will open up your face and make you look much more approachable and friendly. Believe it or not, if you smile for long enough you’ll start to feel genuinely more relaxed as well.

About the Author: Frankie Pocock is an online researcher and marketing assistant at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

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5 Ways to Stay in Touch with Your Professional Network

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Networking, networking, networking. It’s one of the most emphasized job search methods out there. The problem: most job seekers who think they’re networking aren’t actually accomplishing anything.

It’s not enough to connect on social media and then forget about them. Stay in the minds of your professional network by keeping in touch on a regular basis.

Here are five ways to stay in touch with your professional network:

1. Social media

True, it’s not enough to simply add someone as a social media connection, but social media is still important.

Facebook and Twitter allow you to share content directly with the people in your network. Use them to send interesting articles to the professionals who might find them relevant. LinkedIn keeps track of changes in your connections’ careers. Pay attention to these updates and congratulate people in your network when they get a promotion or start something new.

2. Email

Sending an email to someone is much more direct and personal than social media. Email is more likely to result in a back-and-forth conversation, so take advantage of it.

Like with social media, you can start a conversation with an article or some congratulations. Another idea is to let them know when you start something new or accomplish something important, and ask them for advice.

3. Phone calls

Sometimes a quick phone call is all it takes to learn something new.

Call up your contact and say, “Hey, I’m really interested in learning more about this part of your job. Would you chat for a bit to share insights on how you do it?” If they have the time, they’ll probably talk to you. If they’re busy, chances are they’ll tell you to call back when they have the time. Either way, be prepared with questions to ask.

4. Greeting cards

A fun way to reach out to people is by sending greeting cards.

A simple handwritten note is all it takes. It can be to say thank you or even for a holiday. Send these to people you have connected with in the past, or people you have just met. No matter who you send these to, be sure to thank them for their time.

5. Invite them out

Whether it’s lunch or just coffee, face-to-face communication is always the best way build and maintain a relationship.

Do research beforehand and come ready to discuss the latest trends your industry. Have a strategy and goals for the conversation. What do you hope to gain from your meeting? Ask for career advice. If you show you want more than just a connection to a job, most professionals will be happy to help.

When you keep in touch with your professional network, they are much more likely to help you out when it’s time to look for a new job. Maintain a genuine relationship with these people and the rest will be easy.

What are some other ways you find effective for staying in touch with your professional network?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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How to Make Your Business Card Social Media-Friendly

Forging connections in the digital age isn’t always as easy as it once was. When we’re so used to being able to hit the “connect” button on social networking sites, the majority of us have come to focus on building our network online and completely miss out on important face-to-face opportunities.

It’s time to use social networking and in-person networking in tandem. Never fear, your trusty business card will be certain to fuel your real-life connectivity. These little pieces of information have been used for centuries, and they aren’t going out of style any time soon. In fact, they’re becoming an increasingly more important way to connect others with your online accounts.

When was the last time you revamped your business card? As a beneficial piece of your networking strategy, you owe it to yourself (and your career!) to make a few adjustments. Consider spicing up your card in a few ways to better deliver your personal brand to everyone you meet–and don’t forget your social networking websites!

Modernizing your business card to ensure its social media friendliness is a simple feat with this handy infographic from UPrinting.com. Take a look at how a well-printed, creative business card featuring QR codes can be a quick and easy way to connect yourself with whoever you meet.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

About the author: Brittany Schlacter graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in public relations and a minor in fashion. Before joining Come Recommended as a content creator trainee, she gained valuable experiences in public relations, community management, blogging, integrated marketing, and business operations.

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