Successfully Navigate Your Next Networking Event (Even If You Dread Them)
After two years of virtual everything, in-person events are back. I’m headed to 2 holiday networking events this week. It’s the first time I’ll be going to a local industry event in over two years. I’m excited and a bit nervous.
Most people I talk to say they hate networking events. They feel awkward and uncomfortable. They are tired of boring conversations. And they feel like they never met anyone anyway.
If that’s you, I’m going to help you change that right now.
CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE
Let’s start with attitude. A lot of people don’t like networking because they think of it as transactional. They are going to an event to ask people for help.
A better attitude, go to events to meet people, and think about how you can help them.
While walking into a room of strangers who seem to all be friends isn’t easy for most of us. There are many ways to make it easier, even fun.
Make It Easy For Recruiters To Say Yes To You
Most recruiters and hiring managers are sourcing candidates on social media, particularly LinkedIn. In fact, 53% of recruiters said they found the highest quality candidates on Linkedin when responding to Jobvite’s 2021 Recruiter Nation Survey. This is great news if you have a robust, optimized LinkedIn profile.
As a recruiter I spent hours on LinkedIn sourcing candidates, often scrolling through 500+ possible matches. Some were easily eliminated due to missing or inappropriate photos. My all-time favorite unsuitable photo is the woman wearing a wedding gown, veil, and all.
Potential candidates fell into 2 categories:1) Yes, contact them immediately and 2) they might be a possibility. The one thing that consistently moved candidates from maybe to yes was if it was easy to contact them.
The point is, don’t make the mistake of thinking if recruiters want to contact you they will track you down or use an InMail. Unless they think you are a perfect candidate, they may not. You can increase your odds by making it easy for them by including contact information on your LinkedIn profile.
Can You Answer This Key Question?
Some people go into interviews and wing it. Others prepare ahead of time. Usually this includes researching the company and planning responses for commonly asked interview questions.
Questions like “what is your management style?” and “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
But, there’s one key question they often don’t prepare to answer.
“Why do you want to work here?”
When I was recruiting, I always asked candidates if they knew anything about the company. The smart ones would tell me a few things they learned while researching the company. Things they liked, that made them want to work there.
The unprepared would say “no” and leave it at that.
How To Get The Most Out Of Networking Groups
After 2 plus years, in-person networking events are back. While you may not find pre-pandemic crowds yet, attending these events is an important part of the job-search process.
The truth is that people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. This philosophy extends when it comes to filling open positions. It’s one of the reasons that companies have employee referral programs.
It’s also one of the reasons you should have been attending virtual events, and have to ease back into in-person. There are many networking opportunities out there.
If you’re looking for a new opportunity industry events are the best way to meet your peers. Attending industry conferences is a great way to meet people at various levels from different parts of the country.
Recruiters Don’t Work For You
I get a lot of questions about recruiters. The most often asked question is who the recruiter works for. The short answer is the recruiter isn’t working for you.
While, someone who’s out of work recently told me it’s cruel to say this, it’s true.
Retained and contingency recruiters work for the one who pays them. And that’s the employer.
Retained recruiters are paid a fee to find candidates and are generally paid whether the employer hires them or not. Contingency recruiters are paid only if the employer hires one of their candidates. Their fee is a percentage based on the candidate’s first year salary.
What A Personal Brand Is (And Why You Need To Develop Yours)
Personal branding is a popular concept promoted by marketers, public relations specialists and, more recently, career professionals. Countless articles have been written on the subject. A recent Google search turned up about 353 million results.
Still, questions abound.
- What is a personal brand?
- Why is it important?
- How do I develop one?
While there is no pat answer, there’s substantial evidence that a strong personal brand can boost your job search and positively impact your career.
What A Personal Brand Is
Your personal brand is how others perceive you. As entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk notes in a 2019 article about personal branding, “Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career.”
The Power Of Doing One New Thing
Do one thing every day that scares you. — Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s not easy to step out of our comfort zone and do something that scares us.
But, the only way to make those scary things less scary is to step up and do the things we’re afraid of.
I speak from experience.
Although most people wouldn’t know it, I’m an introvert. I used to be one of those who stood alone at networking events too shy to introduce myself. Two decades later, chatting with strangers is pretty easy.Read more
Facing Age Discrimination? Be Prepared If You’re Over (Or Under) A Certain Age
One of the issues often raised when a group of job seekers gets together is the question of age discrimination.
Several years ago, I was invited to be a guest at Platform to Employment a program that was developed by The Workplace to address the needs of the long-term unemployed.
Originally launched in Connecticut, the program has had such great success that it was expanded to ten other cities in early 2014. You may have seen it featured on 60 Minutes.
Several days before my visit, I received a list of questions that the group was hoping I could answer from the recruiter’s perspective. Not surprisingly, a number of the questions addressed the problem of age discrimination.
Here are a few of the things I learned while working as a recruiter.
Do You Have A “Tombstone” Resume?
While most people think of resumes as employment histories, today’s resumes are marketing tools designed to sell you (the product) to a potential employer (the buyer).
They are not boring lists of responsibilities. They are a place to document everything you do on a day-to-day basis. They don’t include every job you’ve ever had or every single thing you’ve done during your career.
That style of resume is sometimes called a “Tombstone” resume because it focuses on the past, not the future.
To be effective, your resume needs to highlight the skills and achievements that make you valuable to potential employers.
What Future-Focused Means
The days of getting a job based on your experience or job title alone as long gone. You may think managing a $MM budget or having executives reporting to you is impressive. But, on it’s own, it’s not.
How To Avoid The Biggest Virtual Interview Mistake
The biggest mistake you can make with a virtual interview is not taking it seriously. In the past, phone interviews were used primarily for screening. A recruiter or human resources associate called potential candidates to get basic information: are they still looking, do they meet the essential qualifications, do their salary requirements fall in the employer’s range, etc.
They also screened for basic communication skills. Can this person carry on a conversation?
If the candidate passes the initial screening they were invited in for an interview.
Virtual interviews, even for local candidates, was becoming more common when I was a recruiter almost 10 years ago. When COVID hit virtual interviews became the only option.
And it looks like virtual interviews are here to stay.
Today, candidates will likely have have several virtual interviews before being invited for an in-person discussion.
- A screening interview – with a recruiter or HR associate
- A longer interview with senior HR personnel
- A phone or Skype interview with the hiring manager’s assistant or someone else on the team
- A phone or Skype interview with the hiring manager
While these steps are a generalization, the point is that you should expect to have 2 to 3 video or phone interviews before meeting anyone in person.