Me Likey/Me Don’t Likey
Most of us have good work relationships. We get along with people, we know how to help colleagues, we enjoy building our business. In 2016, we know we need to have a strong network so when we need to change jobs (either our choice or our company’s), we’re ready. The part most of don’t like is the meeting strangers, making small talk, finding common ground and then figuring out whether this connection is worthwhile or an annoying person I want to avoid.
5 Ways to Make It Easier
When you watch a really great networker… what do you see? Someone who smiles easily, makes small talk like a champ and instinctively knows how to make friends. There are a few people who really can do all this well. But most of us, need to work on it. We need ideas, tools and support. Here are a few suggestions:
- Set a numerical goal for the number of new connections you want to gain every month. Why? Because if we set a goal, we’re likely to reach it. I recommend 5-10. LinkedIn is a convenient place reach out and ask for the connection.
- Write down 5 places where you might meet new connections. Does your church/place of worship have a social group? If you belong already, it could be a good place to make connections. If you don’t belong, maybe you could join. The point is to think of places where you are already comfortable and go from there.
- Reach out to 10 contacts a month. Look through your business cards, LinkedIn connections or address book. At the end of each month, find people to connect to in the coming month. Jot down the following: name, contact information (phone/email/mailing address), what you might say. If you take a few minutes to do this preparation, you will reap many benefits.
- Say thank you to 5 connections a month. Again, I recommend you jot down the names, contact info and what you might say. These people could be customers, old work connections, volunteer contacts.
- Review your contacts for people YOU can help. It’s amazing what happens when you give.
Connecting Isn’t Enough
Connecting isn’t enough because if all you do is meet more people and your association never goes any deeper, then you haven’t built a relationship. Engaging with others, thinking about how you can help them and consciously building relationships is the key to thriving in a changing business world. Got something that works for you? Please share.
Image credit: Social Media
Some people make jokes about their terrible memories and their inability to remember people’s names. Like it’s a big joke. It’s not.
“Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound” Dale Carnegie
Recently I recounted a story about the CEO of a national company with 2,000 employees. When I visited his office, the walls were covered with photos of the company’s employees. Some had check marks next to them. The check marks indicated those employees that the CEO had met in their hometown (all over the country) and with whom he had spoken about their family. His goal was to know the face, name and family members of each employee no matter where he met them. Imagine the energy it took to work on this.
Why did this CEO think this was so important? Well, first of all it meant that he was focused on employees. Next, it gave him a way to connect to people who were not at ‘headquarters’ and a way to make them feel that he cared about them, which, he obviously did.
I work hard to remember people’s names. I learned a trick many years ago; when I meet someone new, I say their name as I shake their hand. Then I try to use it at least one more time before we part company. It’s a small thing but it leaves a positive impression. Check out these tips for remembering names.
Photo credit: Whisper
I find it surprising and disturbing that recruiters are still holding two things against job seekers in their social media posts:
Swearing and spelling.
In the infographic, “Watch What You Post on Social Media,” when recruiters were asked, “what are the biggest red flags in job applicants’ social profiles?, the answer is, well, old fashioned … and perhaps not helpful to the potential employer.
In this survey, swearing and spelling have nearly the same negative impact as illegal drugs and sexual posts.
Look, I completely understand that we need standards and differentiators. But eliminating a candidate because they use an ‘F’ bomb vs. using drugs? This makes no sense. I am 100% for everyone paying attention to what they post. I am a well-known ‘hater’ of Face Book for many reasons (mainly they have continually shown open contempt for privacy), but I understand that it is an important part of many people’s daily lives. So just eliminating a candidate for a spelling error doesn’t make sense. In a tight job market, I can see why recruiters use any tool to distinguish between applicants. But spelling errors? We teach the whole language approach to reading and writing in school (vs. phonetics). When you look at the picture… at this kid’s notebook… you see “samwichis” and “lemminad” are early attempts to wrangle language. When you realize kids today probably are not even learning cursive… perhaps it’s time to think of the ‘context.’
I realize hiring is complex and keeping up with trends in social media is difficult. But especially in the coming, ‘war for talent’ – it will be helpful to think broadly about the changing mores in social media and expression.
Photo Credit: Extra Credit Woodleywonderworks
I studied French and German as an undergrad. I always thought I wanted to be a French teacher. Once I became a secondary school teacher, I realized I liked the kids, didn’t like ‘school.’ Ok, so now what?
I had worked in the University Library for my work-study money and I loved it. So next thing I knew, I was in a Master’s of Library Science program. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to do with this degree. I didn’t really seem like all the other ‘librarians’, but I loved all the adult learning, bringing order out of chaos, etc.
I moved from Washington, D.C. to Rochester, N.Y. and finished my degree at SUNY Geneseo. Now what?
The point of the story is not… what I did. The point is that it’s surprising and amazing how all the skills I learned along the way, helped me gain my future positions. Whether it was teaching that turned into training, or knowing a foreign language that turned into translating; I had a background that others didn’t. That brought me opportunity. That brought my skills and personality to the attention of people who could help me in my career.
Just when you think your weird/odd range of interests could be of no possible benefit to anyone… suddenly you find that you are the person who can get the job done. Make your career long by doing the following:
- Constantly be learning
- Learn different things than other people (stamp collecting? uni-cycling?)
- Expand your network by deliberately including people of various ages, ethnicities, professions, etc.
Do not be discouraged if you are in a job (or looking) that isn’t exactly what you want or if you feel that your diverse skills aren’t appreciated. Hang in there and never give up. With patience if you come to see where you fit. The world needs you just the way you are.
Photo credit: Somersault Netjer-Lelahell
Yes to irreverent, NO to idiotic.
When I saw this article, “Resume Blasphemy” I thought, how great! I love this idea.
Instead of listing… where you went to school and worked… the author suggests you write how you would do the job including:
- “A clear picture of the business of the employer you want to work for.
- Proof of your understanding of the problems and challenges the employer faces.
- A plan describing how you would do the work the employer needs done.
- An estimate of what/how much you think you could add to the bottom line.”
Imagine you are the hiring manager and instead of skimming boring resumes, you get to read through descriptions of various approaches to the advertised job. This is at the heart of behavioral interviews but it goes farther because it requires the applicant to do all the work.
My suggestion… whether you send the irreverent resume or not… write it! Imagine how prepared you will be for that interview.
Photo Credit: How to…
When you are interviewing for a job… probably one of the last things on your mind… is why and when you might leave. You’re thinking… I don’t even have the job… why would I think about when I might leave?
Great companies make this complex question part of the interview process.
In an insightful article by someone I admire, Charlene Li of Altimeter Group, How I Hire: Figuring Out Fit — And The Exit Strategy… she outlines the criteria and process for assessing candidates based on culture, skills and my favorite and what I consider relatively unique… sense of purpose.
“As part of the hiring process, I also talk with people about how they will leave Altimeter one day. The idea of lifetime employment is dead, so why not face up to the reality that this person we’re hiring will one day leave? It’s a core part of us living the value of Integrity — that openness and transparency develops trust.” Charlene Li
The last regular, ‘show up in the office’ job I had, I actually negotiated my departure date as part of my hiring package. When they offered me the job, I told them I would stay one year. It allowed me to focus on getting the job done without worrying about how I’d leave. It was very empowering.
I am not suggesting that every time you take a job, you should negotiate your exit. What I am suggesting is that you think about what you want to get from the assignment… even it it’s just to earn some money or stay for 6 months. Be conscious of what it will look like when you have reached that goal.
By the way, this takes courage and it puts the responsibility for finding your next ‘step’ right where it belongs; with you.
Image credit: Diane Arbus Moving On
LinkedIn (LI) is my favorite social site. Why? Because they built a ‘professional’ social site that truly adds value.
Initially, LI gave users something valuable.. an electronic Rolodex. The site helped us understand to increase the value of our already valuable connections (and gave us tools to use them more effectively). In my recent post, ‘Because Every Job is Temporary…” I discussed the fact that we all need to be looking for work — all the time. Therefore, building a network, helping others and keeping our skills up to date are critical.
Then they made it problematic for people to ‘spam’– if you said you didn’t know someone… they got bounced from LinkedIn temporarily. When they said they valued our privacy, they meant it (unlike some others…)
Once they gave us this tool (for free), they then helped us to build connections across industries, interests, commonality — with groups etc.
So, what’s this page I’ve never seen? It’s called Talent Solutions and it is part of the LinkedIn Recruiter offering which is only visible to companies that pay to use the sourcing and hiring tools. Recruiters can see all your information, but you can’t see them. Think no one is watching you? Think again. If you are actively adding to your skills, building your connections, interacting with people and posting your blog/slideshare/other content regularly, then you are the kind of candidate many recruiters are looking for. The real reason you should care about LinkedIn… explains more.
Like the Panda in the picture… you have to work for your food, even if the tree is right in front of you.
Photo Credit: Tai Shan, National Zoo Panda dbking
There’s that line from the movie Forest Gump… “stupid is as stupid does” … well, there’s stupid and then there’s bravely awesome. Clay Shirky, one of my favorite authors, says…
“My motto for 2013, adapted from Agile Programming precepts = What Is The Stupidest Thing That Could Possibly Work?”
One of the reasons we keep doing the same thing over and over and don’t innovate… is that we surround ourselves with people just like ourselves. It’s human nature. And if someone sounds different or has goofy ideas or looks different; we forget to value the difference. We discount them based on whatever. The goal of diversity is to OPEN up the pool of ideas and thoughts. Recent research shows that large corporations that have women board members are more profitable than those that don’t. This only tells part of the story.
Real innovation must come from change and change takes courage. We’d all still be hitting each other with clubs if there weren’t some of us willing to create tools to go get food.
The more we think about things and try to ‘figure it all out,” the less likely we are to take the risk. The most successful parts of my life.. traveling, new jobs, speaking in front of large groups, etc. all came to me because I didn’t think about what might happen. I just did it.
We don’t have to engage in foolish risks without considering how to mitigate them, but letting “risks stop us from doing new things” is the safe road and on the ‘safe road’ only the guy with the biggest club will survive and I’m not having that.
Photo credit: Projectile Placement skycaptaintwo
I like twitter. I use it for both business and personal purposes. I know, you’re shaking your head right now and wondering how I have time to fool around on twitter.
If you are interested in a great twitter tutorial… check out Charlene Kingston’s free eBook, Twitter for Beginners. You do need to register to get it but I promise you won’t get ANY spam from her and you’ll have a great resource.
I wish I could show you right now the power of real time search. If you follow smart people, leaders in your field, you can learn a great deal in a short period of time. I use it to search for relevant information for my clients. I also search for articles that I think would be relevant to my connections, then I add my 2 cents and post the link to Linked In.
This article helps you to learn how to target your tweets to people by occupation (e.g. attorneys) and location (e.g. city). You can provide customer service or listen to what people are saying about you or your competition. In just a few minutes a day, you can keep up with real time information about your industry.
Just remember that marketing today isn’t about telling the world how great you are… it’s about adding value. Just because you can easily find a target audience on twitter doesn’t mean you should spam them! (definition of spam: I don’t want it and I didn’t ask for it).
I realize it’s popular to say (and think) twitter is stupid.. and it’s certainly your choice to stop reading this or think twitter is dumb. But it’s the business that is most adaptable to that often wins. Are you adapting?
Image credit: twitter tricks
This week I had a couple of meetings like I do almost every week. (Do you meet between 2-5 new people a week?)
First — the good meeting!
One was with a guy I met who has been unemployed for about a year for the first time in his career. I met him briefly after a talk I had given. He confirmed our meeting the day before. Yeah for him. Then he offered to buy me a coffee, I always appreciate the offer. Another yeah for him. (cost him $1.72) He told a story about delivering meals to shut ins as one of the ways he spent his time while unemployed. Triple wow. He even asked how he could help me. Unbelievable.
And now the not so good meeting:
Meeting with someone I had met before and had helped him with something. By 5pm the day before, he had not confirmed our meeting so I did. Ick, not happy. I usually send my cell phone number so in case something comes up last minute.. the person doesn’t leave me sitting there. Hmm, maybe you could send me yours so in case something comes up for me? Nope. Didn’t improve.
In the article, “5 ways to lose your dream job during the interview process” — the same simple etiquette applies. Confirm your meeting, be polite, don’t talk too much, think of ways you can help the other person, don’t be cocky, send a thank you note, etc.
Seems pretty simple to me. But if it’s so simple, why don’t most people do it? I have no idea. Sigh…
Oh, and did you send a Linked In invitation after your meeting?
Photo credit: photo bucket