Doostang News February 28: Tips for Improving Your Networking – Part 2

Investment Banking Associate, New York, NY
Sr. Marketing Consultant, Atlanta, GA
Pre-MBA Associate, Boston, MA
Change Management PM, Chicago, IL
Associate, SF Bay Area, CA

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Welcome back to our second installment of tips for improving your networking skills.  Last time we discussed the importance of taking the time to really establish a meaningful connection with someone and of exchanging stories with the person you’re speaking to.  Both of these things help make you more memorable and create a basis for further conversation.  Read on for more tips on how to effectively chat people up at those networking events that we all love, oh, so much!

Create a Transition for Your Next Conversation

Once you’ve won over a contact at a networking event, the next battle becomes following up with them in a meaningful and relevant way.  Perhaps you feel comfortable approaching new people for the first time, but freeze up when it comes to following up with someone.  A good way to make this easier is to establish some basis for follow-up.  It can be as simple as telling them that you will get back to them with some piece of information, or paying close attention to a question they had and following up once you have an answer for them.  Or it may be as bold as scheduling a lunch meeting and actually following through with it.  Whatever it is that you decide to do, try your best to keep the conversation open when you say goodbye.

Become a Resource

It’s easy to list the ways in which others might be able to help us, and to attend networking events for the sole purpose of meeting such people.  But also try to consider how you could help others and make yourself available.  People seem most eager to follow up with someone when that other person is the gatekeeper to their next dream job or perfect connection.  Yet if you leave an event and find that there is some way in which you can aid someone you just met, try to be just as enthusiastic about getting in contact with that person.  If you do this, you will build a much richer network of contacts around yourself – ones that will be more likely to go out on a limb for you.

Embrace Social Media

As a follow-up to the in-person meeting, add your new contacts to your online social network.  The advantage of professional networking sites is that they grant your contacts access to all your information, including your resume if you choose to display it.  No matter how riveting of a conversation you had with another person, they’re not always going to remember all the details, so it’s helpful to provide that information afterward as well, and in a format that they can revisit.

Networking isn’t easy, but with these tips we hope it will be easier.  Just remember that in addition to everything, it’s important to be professional, friendly, and attentive – and hopefully this will render you unforgettable!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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Five Reasons You’re Not Getting Job Interviews

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

Equity Research Associate, New York, NY
Management Consultant, Nationwide
Analyst, Los Angeles, CA
Pre-MBA Private Equity Associate, Boston, MA
Investment Banking Analyst, San Francisco, CA

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It’s a tough market out there. Not only is unemployment high, but the regular flux of the market has stilled somewhat as people hang on to jobs and paychecks rather than seeking advancement or relocation. Don’t make your job search any tougher than it needs to be. Evaluate your efforts to see if you’ve made any of the following mistakes.

1 – Your resume and cover letter are not written aggressively. Most people only capture job duties and responsibilities in their resumes. That’s just not enough to gain attention in these tough market conditions. Your resume and cover letter must be written to grab the interest of the employer or recruiter, plus win high rankings in applicant tracking systems and online resume databases. A great resume is powerfully written with strong industry keywords; it details specific accomplishments and brings in measurements of performance wherever possible; and it is focused and relevant to the targeted position. A poorly written resume can be a significant hindrance in winning interviews.

2 – You are limiting your efforts to answering online job advertisements on fewer than ten job sites. Fishermen know when fishing is poor, they have to cast a wider net. The same goes for job search. If you are limiting your efforts to a few online job sites, you miss out on a majority of the market. A strong job search will include not only big job boards, but also networking, targeted communications, and creative career marketing. Don’t ignore job boards but don’t limit yourself to just online ads for your marketing efforts.

3 – You are not targeting specific companies first. Most jobs are never advertised anywhere. They are filled from within, filled from employee referrals, or filled from prospective candidates whose resumes are already in the company’s database. If you are only chasing advertised positions, you are behind in the race right from the beginning. Generate a list of companies for which you would like to work and get your resume and cover letter to all of them. Build a consistent marketing campaign targeting these companies and build a knowledge base on their operations, their missions, challenges they face, and markets in which they operate. Use this information to market yourself to the needs of the company. In your communication, always speak to how you can be valuable to the company and how you can meet their needs.

4 – You ask your network if they know of any job openings. The question “Do you know of any open positions?” is a yes or no question. Once you get a “no” from your network contacts, you have exhausted your efforts, right? If you feel like you have a limited reach in your network, it is because you are asking the wrong question. You should be asking your network contacts for information about specific companies.  As you work your network, you will build a significant knowledge base that will eventually lead to specific contacts within companies and give you insight that will be valuable in your marketing efforts. Asking for information instead of asking about open jobs also makes networking easier! You don’t put your network contacts in the uncomfortable position of not being able to help. If you have ten different companies you are researching, more than likely your contact will be able to give you some kind of information on at least one of those companies. You actually make it easier for your network contacts to help you!

5 – You are not following up on your efforts. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. You must be a squeaky wheel. When employers get hundreds of applicants for a single opening, the five percent who take the trouble to follow up and keep following up will stand out in the crowd. You want to be in that five percent who rise above the masses. Sure, it’s an extra step and it sometimes feels superfluous, but it is not wasted effort. You are not being a pest or bothersome. You are demonstrating you have an interest in the company and an ongoing interest in being considered for employment. Make some noise and be sure to follow up on your resume submissions.

Job search takes a lot of effort. With unemployment near double-digits, there are a lot of candidates in the market. The ones who get results are the ones who put forth the extra effort to conduct a smart, complete 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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