Sunday, February 17, 2013

Networking in Small 1-to-1 Conversations: How Do I Do It?

Talking with people in your network in order to share information about you, as well as seek information and advice, is a time-tested technique for finding a new position or enhancing the one you’ve got!        But why?
It's a Smart Strategy!
Because . . . as folks in your network of contacts learn about you, and the needs you can fill in an organization, they begin to think of you in that context.  Remember, establishing and maintaining visibility is an attribute of successful job seekers  (Please refer to 6 Traits of Successful Job Seekers.)

When your network contacts hear of an opening, or a potential one, in their own organization or in the company of a friend or colleague, because you have networked with them and maintained your visibility, they think of you and refer you.  That’s a triple win - for you the job seeker, your contact, and the hiring organization.

 Whether following up with contacts you’ve made at a large scale event, or individually contacting members of your network is a smart strategy.  So, set up meetings to talk about the good things you bring into an organization as well as to learn what they know about organizations in which you could be an asset.  There just could be a job in it for you!

Successful 1-to-1 networking meetings are just conversations
Seem intimidating, doesn’t it?  Sitting down with a colleague or a referral from a member of your own network, and discussing your job search objective.  But, in fact, all we’re really talking about here is a conversation – a conversation between you and a person in your network.

If you are new to networking, or just getting your job search underway, early conversations are  likely going to be with a person you already know.  However, as time goes by and your immediate network refers you to people they know, you will be setting up conversations with these referrals -  people you are meeting for the first time.  In either case, the method for setting up and conducting a 1-to-1 networking conversation is the same.
Here's how to prepare for a successful 1-to-1 networking conversation!

How to set up a networking conversation
        1.    Contact the person whom you would like to meet with and suggest a meeting.
            a.    Face to face --  across a table over a coffee  --  is best; it provides you with the most opportunity to gain the greatest amount of information.
            b.    However, in today’s widely dispersed world, your conversation may be over the phone.

        2.    Set the date and time for your conversation.
            a.    If meeting in person, suggest a location and be specific.  In any metropolitan area, the coffee shop on the corner could be any 1 of 50 such shops.
            b.    If meeting by phone over a great distance, clarify time zones.  Be specific.

        3.    Prepare your contact for your conversation, stating your purpose for the meeting.
            a.    Tell them you are “on the employment market” and why.
            b.    Send an advance copy of your resume, and other marketing materials that show/showcase your
                   capabilities.  This could include a Bio, article by/about you, etc.

        4.    Tell them why you have chosen them to meet with them.  A little flattery, if sincere and honest
               won't hurt!
            a.    For instance, you might complement their depth and breadth of knowledge of their industry or
                   field and say that you would appreciate the opportunity to learn from them.
            b.    Or, you might say that you are aware they know all the who’s who’s of the industry.

        5.    Tell them that you will take no more than about 15 or 20 minutes of their time - no more -
                to learn from them.
            a.    Busy people really want to help; however, they fear getting tied up in a long meeting.
            b.    But most can spare 15 or 20 minutes.
            c.    Note:  Keep an eye on the time and signal when time’s up; if they want to continue beyond that
                   time, that’s good for you.  But, if they can’t afford the time, you have kept your word!

●  How to conduct a networking conversation 
The time has arrived for your meeting.  To hold this conversation successfully:
1.   Clarify your objective with your network contact as to why you requested the meeting to talk with them.  Open the conversation by stating your purpose in having chosen them.

2.  Say your “L”vator speech.  It is the most effective and efficient method of describing succinctly – in less than a minute –  what you do, what you’re good at, and what you want to do professionally.

3.  Ask pertinent questions.  Ask them about their knowledge of good organizations, people, associations, and headhunters/search firms that might be beneficial to you.

4.  Actively listen to their responses.    Take notes.
BUY the Coffee!

5.  And, by the way . . . . .  Buy the coffee - Should go without saying, but I am witness to the fact that it BUY THE COFFEE!! 
doesn’t always happen.  If your contact is taking their time, and sharing their knowledge, the least you can do is

How to follow-up a networking conversation
 – Following up is a Smart Strategy. More job opportunities are probably lost by lack of follow-up than any other failure of job seekers.  Successful job seekers when asked say that one thing they would have done differently to speed up their search was to Follow-Up!  Here’s how:

        1.     Follow up your networking meeting with a heartfelt Thank You note.
            a.    Thanking your networking contact at the end of the phone or in-person meeting is essential but NOT ENOUGH..
            b.    Follow-up with a Thank Your note  –  an e-mail or a mailed, written note  – , should:
                i.    Express your appreciation not only for their time but for the valuable information they shared.
                ii.    Be specific.  State specific items and topics he/she discussed that you found valuable, insightful, and beneficial.
                iii.    Mention your intent to contact the referrals your contact suggested, if he/she noted people in her/his network that they would put you in touch with.  Or, if he/she is contacting them for you by way of introduction, reiterate that both to be sure you’ve got it right and as a reminder.
                iv.    Conclude by saying that you will keep them posted about your progress.

        2.  Stay visible and update your contact on your search progress every 3 weeks or so.
            a.  Send an e-mail or make a phone call.
            B.  Caution:   To contact your networking contact every week is too often - you're in danger of being seen as a pest.  To contact them after 5 or 6 weeks is too long; they may assume you have found a job.

Your purpose in 1-to-1 networking meetings is to learn . . .
Your purpose, in a 1-to-1 networking conversation or meeting, is ultimately to learn what the other person knows about potential employers, helpful people, beneficial professional associations, and other good sources of information that could lead to employment for you. 

Following the step-by-step process described here will help you do that and achieve your goal of finding a new or better position.

It’s a Smart Strategy! 
____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How to Write an Accomplishment Statement

Your resume is a key marketing tool and your sales brochure.  It “sells” you in the employment marketplace.

To make your resume as strong a sales tool as possible, it should be what we call "Accomplishment-Based,"showing how you achieve results. . . . . That means that you write not only what you did but how it turned out.  You show on paper what you did, meaning the duty or task your performed, and what you achieved, i.e., what you accomplished.  This is the best technique you can use to:
    (1) Show how you have added value for previous employers and
    (2) Prove your claim that you can benefit a future organization.
It is a potent technique that showcases strengths and provides proof for your claims of abilities and competence.

How to write Accomplishments Statements
For each position you have held, determine what you actually accomplished.  For each bullet point you list under a position, state a duty you performed.  After you list the duty, do the following:

Step 1
    Ask:  What action did you take and what was the result?
                What was the outcome for your company?
                        For instance, what was achieved in savings, revenues, problems solved,
                        efficiencies, increased productivity or profit, or improvement of some kind, etc.?
                 What was the outcome for you?
                         Personal outcomes can include increases in responsibility, promotion, awards.
                 Quantify and qualify your results to the extent possible.  Not every result can 
                         be quantified, but they can be qualified.
Step 2 
    List:    Each of the duties you performed, followed by the outcome or result you achieved by
                performing that duty.  Do this for each position shown on your resume.
Step 3
    Select: For each resume you send, select those duties + accomplishments that are relevant to
                the position for which you are applying.
    Hint to get started:  Ask yourself this question:  What things am I proud of in my career?

Here are some examples of Accomplishment Statements
    ●  Provided financial analysis of operating costs, which resulted in reducing insurance costs $75,000 and in a refund of approximately $30,000

    ●  Streamlined customer complaint reporting system, increasing accuracy and timeliness, and reducing labor costs (add the $ savings if you know it).

    ●  Nominated for Chairman’s Award for work done on ______________________ .

How-To-Formula for developing Accomplishment Statements
And here's a method to help you craft an Accomplishment Statement:  
(1)  Start by listing a duty that you performed in a job you held.  Write it down.
(2)  At the end of the phrase listing the duty, write the words:  "resulting in ___________."
(3)  Ask yourself what did the company, customer,, my department, I, etc. get as a result of my performing that duty or task.  Below are two examples:

            Duty performed                       “Resulting in”                  Outcome or result
Step 1: Re-engineered reporting systems, resulting in  . . . . .. . . . .. . reduction of  timelines by 50%

Step 2:  Re-engineered reporting system,  reducing . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..timelines by 50%.

        Use the words “resulting in” to connect the duty with the result.
        Then change the words resulting in to a more accurate verb.  Above "resulting in" became

Using this method, you can turn a resume, which simply lists duties you have performed, into a results-oriented, accomplishments-based resume that gets employers' attention!
For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tired of Writing and Rewriting your Resume? - Save Time With a Master Resume

Question:  Tired of writing and writing and re-writing your resume for every job you apply for? 
Answer:  If you are, Craft a Master Resume.  It will save you time and the aggravation of writing and re-writing your resume!

Today, any savvy job seeker knows that in order to stand the best chance of being viewed as a viable candidate, you must customize each resume you send out for any position for which you apply, or to any company that you target.  It just makes sense.  It allows you to highlight those aspects of your career history that align with the employer’s requirements.

However, doing this takes a lot of time, time that a job seeker may need for other activities such as networking, attending meetings, etc.  And, writing and re-writing the resume can get discouraging.

The solution lies in crafting a “Master Resume.”  It will take some time initially, but the time you spend up front and will save you lots of time over the long run.

Here’s how:  
        1.    Gather together all the various resumes you have written and other helpful documents that show job duties you have performed, skills you have, abilities that are your strong points, and attitudes that helped you achieve challenges and complete assignments.  These other documents could include performance appraisals, commendations, letters of recognition by supervisors, letters of appreciation from customers, articles about/by you, awards, etc.

        2.    Now list the duties, skills, abilities, and attitudes under each position where you performed that duty, exhibited that ability, used that skill, or displayed that attitude.  You can see you have quite a comprehensive description of your work per position.

        3.    Next separate out each duty performed, and put it into the format of an Accomplishment Statement; list the duty under the position in which you performed it.

        4.     Set up a file computer file (paper too so that you have a hard copy to refer to) called Master Resume and keep only this document in it.

You now have a Master Resume, showing each and every duty you performed in each and every job you've held.  It also includes information about skills, abilities, and attitudes you used or exhibited per position which may come in handy down the road or writing your Linked In profile, answering interview questions, and networking.

No one will ever see your Master Resume but you!
Your Master Resume is a lengthy document, but don’t worry, no one will ever see your master resume but you!  It is simply a another tool for your “Basic Tool Kit” that will make your applications and resume submissions more complete and yet save you time.

How do you use your Master Resume?  
When you find a position that interests you, or a company you’d like to contact, go to your Master Resume file.
  1. Copy the document, name it according to the position / company you are preparing it for, and paste it into the file of the company you are contacting.  (Note: You should have a separate file for each company contacted.  This makes your follow-up easier and you can quickly find the resume when they call.)
  2. Delete all those duties and descriptions that are not relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  3. Amplify any items you wish to strengthen.
A great resume
Voila!  You have a great resume submission!  You have produced, in a fairly short period of time, a relevant resume that shows that you have the experience and results to perform this new position!  That the beauty of taking the time up front to craft your Master Resume!

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub

Resume Template - Chronological resume

There is no one way to do a resume.  There any many formats.  However, what is important is a format, and any variations of that format, that clearly shows a job seeker's skills, experience, and accomplishments in an EASY-TO-READ way.  The chronological format shown here does that.  It makes it easy for any recruiters and hiring managers to read about you and see if you might be what they are looking for to fill an opening in their company!

Template - A Format for a Chronological Resume


centered or to the side
key contact info - name, phone, e-mail, Linked-In address, physical address is optional

Summary Statement 

(Also called Career or Qualifications Summary)
 (This is the equivalent of your "L"vator speech)
Cite profession you want to work in, and skills and knowledge you possess.  A short paragraph consisting of phrases.   List your:    
Skills                                     Talents                                      Strengths
                        Expertise                               Certifications                            Languages

Professional / Work Experience / Employment History

(List in detail. starting with most recently held job, positions held for previous 10-15 years.)
Company name, location                                                                                        Years in position 
Position Title
Short overview of the job duties and responsibilities.  2-3 lines.
    ● Duty/Task you performed with Accomplishment/Result           
    ● Duty/Task you performed with Accomplishment/Result  
    ● Duty/Task you performed with Accomplishment/Result

Company name, location                                                                                        Years in position 
Position Title
Short overview of the job duties and responsibilities.  2-3 lines.
    ● Duty/Task you performed with Accomplishment/Result            REPEAT FOR EACH JOB
    ● Duty/Task you performed with Accomplishment/Result  
    ● Duty/Task you performed with Accomplishment/Result

Other Relevant Experience  

(Optional; include only if relevant)
List with lesser detail, only relevant jobs held prior to the last 10 or 15 years.  Don't list years..


List highest schooling/education achieved, name of school, years only if relevant to the job.
Masters Degree (i.e. MBA), Name of University, Location
Bachelors Degree (BA Humanities), Name of University, Location

Professional Development / Training

List any trainings, courses, certifications, etc. name of organization providing training (years only if relevant and recent)

Professional Associations / Memberships / Awards / Honors / Publications

Choose from the titles shown above the appropriate title for this part of your resume.
List professional associations of which your are a member, and positions held.
List publications which you authored/co-authored, significant reports you authored, etc.
List honors / awards/ etc.
Do not list political, religious, or hobby affiliations, unless relevant.

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
 ____________________________________________________________________________                 AJC - for Your Career Path
  Linked In:        
Twitter:  @AfterJobClub