Doostang News January 17: 3 Networking Opportunities You May be Forgetting

Analyst, New York, NY
Consultant, Chicago, IL
Analyst, San Francisco, CA
Paralegal, New York, NY
Buyside Equity Research Analyst, Dallas, TX

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When asked about their networking strategies, many people will talk about attending happy hours or industry-specific mixers in order to make contacts.  Or they’ll mention that they’ve reached out to family, friends, and old classmates to help them track down job leads.  But there are a few important networking opportunities that job seekers often miss, either because they feel these might be too awkward to use, or because they simply don’t think of these in the first place.  Here are 3 opportunities for networking that every job seeker should consider:

The Company Website

Nothing like going straight to the source.  As many well know, the best way to secure a job is to know someone on the inside.  You may have sent out hundreds of resumes in response to online postings, but heard nothing.  Indeed, this isn’t all that unusual, as many of these positions have already been filled, or the hiring manager might have received thousands of responses.  Instead, try tracking down a few names and email addresses on the company website, and establish a rapport with someone.  Try to ask a specific question about the job you’re interested in, and ask that person to refer you to the individual in charge of hiring for that position – that is, the person who will be making the decision regarding the job, not the HR department.  If there isn’t a position to be filled at the moment, at least you’ll be among the first to know when one opens up.

Professional Networking Sites

Don’t be afraid to hit up your LinkedIn network.  Conduct a search based on companies you are interested in, and reach out to people who come up.  People place their profiles on these websites to network, so don’t hesitate to do just that.  Browse through your connections’ contacts as well, and see if there is anyone you can talk to.  The worst someone can do is ignore you or tell you they’re not interested in speaking, in which case you’ve lost nothing.  Follow the advice from above, and start engaging people from your extended network in conversations.

The Guy on the Street

You never know whom you might meet when you start a conversation with a friendly stranger – and you never know whom they might know.  Disregard what your mother told you and talk to everyone!  The guy serving you coffee, the lady cutting your hair, people in line at the post office – the individuals around you every day, especially the ones in the service industry who interact with a lot of people already, know others who just might help you land your next job.  Don’t be a pest, but don’t hesitate to bring up your job search if the moment is right.

It’s important to continually remind yourself of the importance of networking when trying to secure your next job.  Bear in mind, too, that when you start networking in new and creative ways, you’re bound to see some great results!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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Doostang News November 15: How Social Networking Sites Can Help You Land Your Next Job

Trading Analyst, New York, NY
Consultant, Mexico City, Mexico
Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Director/Manager Corporate Strategy, Charlotte, NC
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You’re likely aware of the necessary precautions to take when posting certain information to your Facebook or Twitter profile.  After all, a scandalous picture or status update can doom your chances of bagging a respectable job, especially as more and more hiring managers take to social networking sites to screen prospective employees.  Even though these platforms started out as tools for the youth to connect and share information, they’re slowly starting to lose their youthful flavor.  In fact, social networking is one of the most effective ways to find and land a job these days, and here’s why:

Connect with Relevant People

The open nature of online networking gives you access to a multitude of people you wouldn’t have had the ability to contact otherwise – people who may just hold the keys to your future.  After a little bit of research to determine who the hiring managers and other key figures are, you can then track these people down on websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.  It’s not unusual to reach out to people you don’t know on a social networking site, especially if you introduce yourself in an appropriate manner.  If you don’t have a friend in common that can make the introduction for you, start off with an initial dialogue that explains who you are and what you’re looking for.  It’s best if you can offer something that the other person might need, like an article relevant to their interests or an introduction to someone they might like to get to know – after all, social networking sites are all about sharing information and connecting with people, so they’re liable to appreciate the gesture.  Establish a good rapport with your contact first, and then go ahead and ask about available positions; if there aren’t any, stay tuned, because hiring managers often turn to their networks with opportunities before posting them on job boards.  Moreover, a human connection will be more likely to ensure that your application is actually seen by someone, instead of disappearing into the digital vortex that is online resume submission.

Build Your Personal Brand

No matter what a search result yields when you enter your name, it’s nice to have control over this content.  So another way to use social media to your advantage is to become an avid producer of content that is helpful to others.  Doing so conveys that you are current, involved, and in the know.  You may find that others approach you with opportunities once you gather a following on a blog or various social networking sites; alternatively, you can use this content to supplement your job applications.  You can also use this material as a conversation starter, reaching out to others with articles you have written that they might find interesting.

Be an Active Community Member

Take advantage of the enormous Twitter community and start reaching out to people and having conversations.  Twitter allows you to communicate and share information with everyone from your neighbor to Lady Gaga, so sign up today and start conversing with key players in your target industry.  Once you become embedded in the community, you can also reach out to followers who now know and trust you, and seek out opportunities.

Get “Linked In”

Many individuals spend hours crafting the perfect Facebook profile, but stop short when it comes to filling out a page on LinkedIn.  However, it’s important to take the time to upload your resume, gather references if you can, and connect with as many people as possible.  Since the premise of the website is to establish an online professional network, you won’t seem awkward or boring when you reach out to people with career related matters.  Another feature you should take advantage of is LinkedIn groups – join the ones that are relevant to you and become an enthusiastic contributor.  The more involved you are, the more likely you are to stand out and garner opportunities that become available.

Networking is a crucial part of the job search, and online networking makes that process much easier.  Staying up to speed with various social networking sites is sure to make a world of difference in a job search, and is something every job seeker should pursue to some degree.

Stay connected,
The Doostang Team




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Avoid a Job Hunt Rut

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

Investment Banking Analyst, Boston, MA
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Does this sound familiar? You see a post for that dream job and promptly submit your resume – only to hear nothing for days, then weeks. You wonder why you didn’t receive a response as you continue to scour postings for the next position that seems like an ideal match.

If your job search has hit this type of rut, take heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t just as qualified as your competition. It could just mean your job search strategy is all wrong.

In a job market this tough, you need to be more aggressive than ever to get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters. The key is to gain as much exposure as possible. The more you put your resume out there, the greater your chances for grabbing a hiring manager’s attention.

Here are a few ways to jump start your stalling job search:

Utilize job boards

Employers once relied solely on high-priced headhunters to gain access to highly-qualified candidate pools. Now, they can turn to the Internet – namely, job boards — where job seekers post their resumes. The boards match qualified applicants with open positions based on employers’ customized criteria.

While most job seekers are familiar with mainstream boards such as Monster, they may not realize there are literally hundreds of boards tailored by industry, profession, or diversity group. For those concerned with privacy issues, most boards even offer the option of keeping certain details of your contact information confidential until an employer wants to reach you. Most allow job seekers to post a resume free of charge, so there’s really no good reason to ignore these opportunities.

Send a follow-up letter

If you have already sent in your resume only to yield no result, don’t be afraid to take another shot. Rather than just submitting your resume a second time with a standard cover letter, use a follow-up letter. This approach is particularly useful if you’ve updated your resume recently and would like a chance to submit the new-and-improved version. A follow-up letter allows you to reintroduce yourself while demonstrating you are very serious about a company or position.

Unlike making a telephone call to follow up, a letter doesn’t catch the employer by surprise or put him or her in the awkward position of talking to you without the benefit of your resume for reference. Keep the letter short and to the point, but be sure to focus on why you would be ideal for the position. The goal is to lure the reader into revisiting your resume, giving your application a second chance.

Prepare a 30-second speech about yourself

Whether you attend an organized networking event or happen to run into a former colleague in the park, you should be prepared to capitalize on opportunities to establish professional contacts that can lead to your next job. Many job seekers lament that networking events, like those sponsored by college alumni organizations or professional associations, are a waste of time. After all, you meet so many new people and have such a brief window of time to make any impression at all. Before you’ve finished with small talk, the conversation is over without even getting to the reason you were there in the first place.

Going in prepared, however, can make all the difference. Creating and practicing an “elevator pitch” – a 30-second speech summarizing your professional qualifications and goals – can make the most of the limited time you have to establish new contacts. As an added bonus, you will also eliminate those terribly awkward moments when you struggle for what to say.

Take advantage of online networking sites

Setting up profiles on popular networking sites, such as LinkedIn, not only provides you with an online presence for your professional qualifications. It also helps you reconnect with former colleagues with whom you’ve lost touch. The wider your network of contacts, the more potential opportunities will come your way. Joining most of the popular online networking sites is free, so there’s really no excuse not to do it.

Of course, for any of these techniques to be effective, you need to be sure employers can not only find you, but will be impressed with what they see. That’s why it is crucial to make sure your resume is up to par and rich in keywords before these methods can jump start your job search.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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