Networking for Young Professionals

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We’ve all heard the phrase, it’s all about who you know when it comes to the job search. At first, the idea of networking and building connections might feel overwhelming. You might tell yourself you can’t network because you are introverted, you don’t know how to talk about yourself, or maybe you think it isn’t important for your field. Here is your reality check: networking is necessary for everyone, in every field. These three tips are here to help you make the most of your time while networking.

#1 | Have a Pitch: Having an elevator pitch is crucial to networking. More often than not, networking will be more conversational than just walking up to someone and talking for 30-seconds about yourself. However, the point of having a pitch is to provide you with the language to talk about your skills, achievements, and goals. If you have that plan you’ll be able to bring your pitch into conversations at formal networking events or even at a family barbeque. Don’t have a pitch? Think through this formula: current + past + future. What are you currently doing? How has your past shaped where you are now? Where do you want to go next?

#2 | Set Goals to Put Yourself Out There: Have a goal for why you want to network. Exploring careers? In a new place? Maybe you simply want to expand your network. While you’re setting the purpose of your networking, you also want to set a timeframe. Want to attend two networking events a month? Great! Put it in your calendar to help hold yourself accountable.

#3 | Don’t Save Networking for the Job Search: Many people believe networking is only beneficial during the job search, however, if you save networking for just the job search it may seem forced. You want your networking to be more focused on relationship building than asking for a job. If you are continuously thinking about networking throughout your career, you’ll have that established rapport and network to lean on when you need it.

Take advantage of that next networking opportunity and focus on getting to know others while also building long-term relationships. YOUR next job opportunity could come from someone you haven’t met yet—get out there and start establishing rapport with individuals in your industry.

Need more advice? Download our FREE Top 5 Resume Tips for New Professionals!

How to Write a Brilliant Bio – Top 5 Tips

Click HERE to access my Writing a Brilliant Bio Guide NOW!

Do you feel the dread when someone asks for your bio? You probably worry about what to write, how much information to include, and the best way to weave everything together. You are NOT alone. It’s common for people to feel like they are bragging, over-estimating their skills, and are exaggerating their achievements within their bios. I’m here to tell you this: If it happened, then it’s a FACT. And, you are NOT bragging. In fact, you are giving people the ability to get to know you better and to connect with you further.

Here is a snippet of my 5 Tips for Writing Your Bio free download:

1. Identify Your Purpose. Why are you writing this bio? Are you speaking at an event? What is your topic? Is your bio for a social media site? Who will be reading the information? Think of your bio from the target audience point-of-view.

2. Shorter is Better. Impressive people have shorter bios. People—audience members and readers—have short attention spans. Don’t assume that you have to tell your life story.

3. Put the Most Important Information First. If you have an impressive certification, award, or educational background, call-it-out immediately. When considering whether or not someone should read your article or listen to your presentation, think of WHY they should…if you are an expert in your field, then talk about that FIRST.

4. Add Some Personality. If you have something unique to you that sets you apart from others, talk about it. Don’t squash your personality so that your bio sounds like all the rest. Often, it can be that little bit of personality that someone will remember.

5. Read and Rewrite. Challenge yourself to review your bio on a regular basis; things change, jobs shift, and people evolve. Don’t write it and forget it. Instead, ask a friend to evaluate your bio, discuss possible changes, and keep the file so that you can easily make modifications.

If you are ready to GO FOR IT and write your own bio, download my Writing a Brilliant Bio: A Step by Step Guide – it offers examples of completed bios, questions you can answer to get started, a YouTube tutorial, slides from a 45-minute presentation, and the 5 Tips for Writing Your Bio download – it’s a 17-page comprehensive guide that will allow you to create a bio that gets NOTICED.

And, if you still have questions, contact me today at heather@feather-communications.com!

5 Tips for Rejecting a Job Offer

You THINK you have found your dream job and perhaps even enjoyed meeting the company personnel and thought the interview went well. Then, you receive a job offer and find out one of the following: the job isn’t what you thought it was, the pay doesn’t match your needs, or the position requires way too much travel for your current situation. Now, you have to reject the job offer – read below for five tips on how to correctly do so.

Tip #1 – Actually reject the offer. Sometimes people are so worried about saying “no” that they do nothing. This is definitely NOT the correct course of action. You have to follow-through with the entire hiring process, even if you decide you do not want the position.

Tip #2 – Put it in writing. Send an email and document the rejection of the offer. It’s important that there is a record of declining the position. And, if you would like to, you can also send a hard copy via mail.

Tip #3 – Use the “I appreciate you” sandwich. This looks like the following: thank the company and personnel for the time spent interviewing you and for considering you for the open position (positive). Then, state that you have decided to decline the offer (negative). Finally, end the documentation with another thank you and appreciation statement (positive). This allows you to have the order of thank you—bad news—thank you.

Tip #4 – Be concise. While it is important to state the rejection, it’s not necessary to elaborate on WHY you are declining the offer. Keep it simple and concise. If you feel that a ‘reason’ is a necessity, then just state that circumstances have changed or that the position isn’t the right fit at this time.

Tip #5 – Maintain open communication. It’s vital that you preserve this potential relationship. After all, the company may decide to re-offer the position in the future and offer you more money or exactly what you need to make a move. Do you want to be considered at that point? If so, then be sure that you are always professional and never bad-mouth the employer.

Finally, remember that just because one opportunity doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still be positive about your job search and use that past experience as you move forward. There is something about knowing even more people and understanding more companies that allows you to build your network and enhance communication within your field. Use that information to your advantage and keep going—you WILL find the appropriate position if you don’t stop looking.

Ready to make a career move and not sure how your resume will work in today’s job market? Contact me today for a free resume review!

Four Ways to Find a New Job

We all know the value of job sites such as Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster. However, sometimes it can feel like you are one of hundreds or thousands of people sending your resume into the abyss of online job searches. And, sometimes, that is the truth. For many people, going online and finding these potential positions is time-consuming, frustrating, and overwhelming. Here are four other ways to discover job opportunities that may fit better with your desired career opportunity.

1. Networking. Did you know that most jobs are found because of word-of-mouth? That’s right—the old saying that ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is true. Tell people that you are looking for a change or new opportunity. The more people that know, the better your chances of finding a new job. However, if you are a ‘covert’ job seeker (someone that is keeping the job search fairly quiet), be careful who knows this information and only tell those that are trustworthy and can keep your confidence.

2. Chambers of commerce and economic development corporations. The purpose of these organizations is to cultivate business success in the community. Typically, organizational personnel may know of job openings or upcoming openings before they are advertised. Chambers of commerce want to see their members succeed and finding good employees leads to profits and stability. Check the websites of these organizations, or connect with someone that works there so you can be one of the first to know of new jobs.

3. Company websites. Let’s say that you want to target a specific company for a new position. Instead of checking large job sites, go directly to the company website. Often, they will have a specific page for job openings and the information will be current. And, these are typically posted prior to going to the larger websites.

4. Connect with a placement agency. In the past, these agencies were viewed as a place to get temporary workers and ‘a body’ to fulfill a job. However, that is no longer the case. Organizations such as Manpower, Flex Staff, and Express Employment Professionals find mid-level and upper-level management opportunities in a variety of fields. And, as an individual, you do not pay for the service—the companies that need the employees pay the temporary agency. If you can align yourself with a professional at one of these organizations, they will find a position that fits your skill-set.

The moral of the story is to NOT limit yourself to online job sites. Think of other ways you can connect to job opportunities beyond just the job posting. Most importantly—if possible—build these relationships prior to needing them. That means creating a networking circle, knowing your local business development organizations, and connecting with agencies that can help you in your job search.

Check out our Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW – it’s a free download!

Top Five Tips for Attending Your Next Job Fair

If you have been out of work for awhile, it’s likely that you have been or will be attending a job fair or career event. Or, if you are a college student seeking an internship opportunity or are ready for your first ‘real job,’ you will definitely be attending a career fair. These events can be overwhelming or intimidating, especially if you aren’t prepared. Follow the tips below to ensure you are professional, prepared, and ready for that job opportunity.

Tip #1 – Dress professionally. We have all heard the saying that people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. However, first impressions are critical to your future career success. If you don’t appear to be professional and ‘put together,’ a potential employer may disqualify you immediately. So, be sure to wear professional attire, walk and sit up straight, and build your confidence. Don’t make any excuses for appearing to be your best self. If you are short on money to build a professional wardrobe, borrow clothes from someone or visit your local thrift store—you would be amazed at the bargains that can be utilized to create professional attire.

Tip #2 – Be prepared. Bring hard copies of your resume with you on the day of the event. And, carry them in a nice portfolio. If a company is interested in you as a candidate, you will want to leave them with a document that describes your job history and contains your contact information. Bring more than enough copies – you can always take the extra copies home with you.

Tip #3 – Conduct research. The career fair will most likely feature a variety of employers from your area. You may be interested in some of them and others may not interest you at all. Research the companies that interest you and find out as much as you can ahead of time. This can cut down on the awkwardness of randomly stopping at a table or booth and not having anything to discuss. Instead, mention that you saw they recently earned an award, have a new product offering, or are expanding their current location. Don’t try to research all of the companies – just focus on the 5-10 that peak your interest.

Tip #4 – Practice your elevator pitch. Most employers are going to ask you about yourself. Be prepared with your 30-60 second bio. Don’t discuss personal issues; rather, stay focused on your educational background or professional history. Remember that it is all about THEM – how are you going to help them in the daily functions of their business and why should they even consider you? If you are nervous doing this, practice with a trusted colleague or friend before the event.

Tip #5 – Follow up. After you prepare for the event, attend the career fair, and make those connections – then what? Don’t let all of that work go to waste. Follow up with your new connections, sending an email or a thank you card. If you can get your name in front of the potential employer again, it’s just one more ‘touch’ on your way to a new job opportunity. And, even if it doesn’t work out right now, something may become available in the future.

If you are ready to move forward with your career search and just don’t know where to start, please contact me today – my passion is helping you reach your career goals!

Networking Your Way to Career Success

Are you seeking a new career opportunity? Or, have you been out of work for awhile and don’t know what to do next? If you are simply sitting behind your computer and perusing the job boards for that next big career step, you are missing one vital part of job search—in-person networking. See below for several tips to maximize your time and reap the benefits.

Tip #1 – Volunteer within the community. If you are unemployed or have a passion for a particular organization, consider volunteering. Not only will this fill your time and make a significant impact on those the organization serves, you will also meet other professionals and can connect with them. If you are extremely interested in an organization, consider serving on a board of directors or taking a more vital role within the group.

Tip #2 – Attend chamber of commerce events. Most city’s have local chambers of commerce that allow you to attend networking events for free or minimal charge. What if you spend $5 or $10 to attend an event and are able to connect with 100+ professionals? Be sure to dress in business attire, have business cards or a connection card available, and put on your best smile.

Tip #3 – Schedule a minimum of one business lunch or dinner per week. Whether you are currently employed or not, you still have to eat lunch and dinner. Rather than staying home and grabbing a sandwich from your kitchen or eating in your company lunchroom, make a point to connect with someone outside of your current company and schedule a lunch appointment. This will allow you stay connected to your field (or your desired field), and you can let these individuals know that you are seeking new opportunities.

Tip #4 – Follow up. After you attend networking events or meet someone via a volunteer organization, be sure to follow up with them. Send an email thanking them for their expertise or explaining how much you enjoyed meeting them. This shows follow-through and that you maintain contact with your connections. It’s important to stay top-of-mind when potential job opportunities arise. And, if you secure an interview, following-up is more important than ever.

If you are ready to move forward with your job search and aren’t sure if your resume is ready-to-go, contact us today for a free resume consultation – we would love to help!