3 Reasons Why You Should Think Like A ‘Business-Of-One’
by Ellen Mehling, Career Development Consultant, METRO
It is well-known that networking is vital to a successful job search and a thriving career. LinkedIn has made it easy to connect with a large number of people, but in-person interactions should not be neglected and should be conducted with thought and care. Those who have met you in person and who really know you and have worked with you in some way are going to be the most beneficial to you. These are the people who will refer, recommend, or even hire you. These first words and conversations with other professionals can make or break your opportunity for further contact.
You will be remembered by the manner in which you introduce yourself, so choose those first words deliberately. Sometimes just your name, title, and workplace will suffice. And sometimes just your name and a general descriptive title (even just “librarian”) is appropriate, depending on the person or audience you are introducing yourself to.
In some cases, a few words describing what you do will be needed. If, for example, your title doesn’t make your job responsibilities clear or if there is a certain skill you want to be sure the person you are talking to knows about you, be sure to mention that too. If you are a student, give the name of the school and your degree-in-progress, with the possible addition of the kind of information work you hope to do following graduation.
It is best not to introduce yourself by saying you are unemployed or job hunting. I have heard many info pros begin their introduction with something like, “I was laid off two years ago…” We all have setbacks in our careers. By introducing yourself with a past setback you are telling other people that this one-time event, which may have occurred some time ago, has defined you in a permanent way. This encourages others to think of you as unemployed and that is not likely to lead to new opportunities. I would also avoid the phrase “in transition” as it has come to mean “long-term unemployed”.
Lead with your strengths; introduce yourself in the present tense, (“I am…” rather than “I was…”) and have some project or part-time job or volunteering or internship or blog or research or service in a professional organization that you can talk about later in the conversation. Keep your introduction to one or two sentences. After that, *listen* to the other person’s self-introduction and ask a follow-up question or two, to get things started. Read more…
After writing The Best Job-hunting Secrets of All Time, and reading the comments, I can safely conclude that 20% of job-seekers find networking necessary, appropriate, and comfortable. Another 20% find it necessary, but uncomfortable. The rest are either not doing it, or doing it wrong. (Note: I’ll be hosting a job-seeker webcast on Oct 10th discussing this and related topics.)
As many of you know I wrote a book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, attempting to describe the hiring process from all perspectives: job-seekers (active and passive), recruiters (the good and bad), and hiring managers (the fully- and not-so-fully engaged). One theme of the book was to suggest that job-seekers need to take matters into their own hands when they find companies, recruiters or hiring managers using some flawed hiring process. The techniques in the book will not help you get a job you don’t deserve; they will only help you get one you do.
. . . . by Courtney Baron, Head Editor, INALJ Georgia
I’m planning to go to my first conference this fall and I’d like to print business cards for the occasion. Many employers provide business cards for their employees, but if you are a library student like me or you do not currently have a library job, it’s a good idea to design and print your own. You definitely want your business cards to stick out without distracting potential employers and contacts from your important information. There are some amazing and creative ideas out there for library and information science business cards. I really like tailoring your card’s design to your specific LIS branch. Here are my favorites!
Stamp. Have a stamp made with your information and perhaps a fun image for the reverse side and hand stamp your cards. You can order custom stamps on Etsy or go to your local print shop. You can buy cardstock and have the business cards professionally cut or buy pre-made cards. The simple presentation is elegant and the stamp gives the card a homemade feel that’s very appropriate for our profession! (Image courtesy of Joseph Hopkins. Stamp from Bel Jean Copy & Print Center in Athens, GA)
QR code. I know QR codes don’t always get a lot of love in the library world, but one of my classmates decided to put a QR code link to his online portfolio on his business card and I thought it was an excellent idea. Especially appropriate for a tech savvy librarian! (Image found at http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/07/30-creative-qr-code-business-cards/ and printed by Moo @ www.moo.com) Read more…
When I present to college students about launching an effective job search, one of my slides is an iceberg graphic. Under the surface of the water, in the largest portion of the iceberg, the words “hidden job market” appear.
I tell the audience “some career experts say that 80% of jobs that get filled don’t get posted.”
What I don’t say is: not this career expert.
Although I don’t believe the conventional wisdom about the extent of the hidden job market, I want students to think that most jobs aren’t posted, so they don’t get complacent and put their main focus on job boards. I want them to be out there networking. Read more…
The high school prom. Do you remember yours? For every daydream you had of dancing the night away to your favorite Billy Idol song, wrapped in the arms of your crush, there was also the pre-prom nightmare of arriving late, of wearing the wrong clothes, of spending the night alone on the bench while the guy or gal of your dreams leaves hand-in-hand with somebody else.
Unless you’re a die-hard social butterfly, networking events may inspire similar mixed feelings of both fear and anticipation in you. In your mind’s eye, you see yourself effortlessly breezing from group to group, waves of laughter following you as you regale your peers with tales of your company’s climb to fame. In reality, you find yourself leaving after several awkward hours, tail between your legs, the pack of business cards you had specially printed for the event unopened in your pocket.
What can you do to make sure that the time and money you put into attending professional networking events pays off?
No matter what your reasons for attending, you won’t achieve a thing if you don’t talk to people, and to do that, you must first break the ice. You may have the most amazing business plan in the world, but nobody will know it if you don’t take that first step and make contact with them.
We asked industry experts for their best networking icebreakers. Read more…