True life: I am not a big fan of traditional networking. I’m introverted and generally overwhelmed by new social situations – especially with large groups of people that I don’t really know. I used to dread going to events but personally, I don’t think that networking is optional if you’re trying to grow a business. So like it or not, I’ve developed a system for networking that makes it WAYYY easier for me to feel comfortable connecting with new people!
So figure out why you want to network in the first place. Are you trying to find potential clients? People you want to collaborate with? Influencers in your industry? All of the above? Great! Make a list of these people because you’ll want to keep track of them. (pssst: you can also get my template at the end of this post!)
Step 1: Step Up Your Social
- FACT: Connecting with people on social media is less scary than in real life. Also, a lot of other introverts are on social media and they want to connect with you as much as you want to connect with them! Someone just has to take the first step…
- Assuming you’ve identified some of the people you’d like to connect with, start following them on social media. For my businesses, I find that instagram and twitter are the 2 platforms that are easiest to connect with people in my target audience, but it could be that your potential clients are on other networks.
- Once you’ve figured out what networks they are active on, ENGAGE with them! On instagram, engaging with people means liking their photos, leaving thoughtful comments (not mindless “love this!” or spammy “follow me!” comments – genuine comments that show you are actually interested in the content they are posting). On twitter, linking to other people’s content (if they have a blog or website) or sharing their tweets using the “quote” option with a related comment are easy, non-scary ways to start interacting. Pick one or two networks that you are really going to be active on and be consistent.
- PRO TIP: Optimize your social profiles to appeal to your target audience. If you are effectively interacting with new people, they will want to check out you out! Make sure your bio clearly states who you are, what you do, and why they should follow you!
Step 2: Connect In Person
- FACT: It is easier to introduce yourself to a person in real life if you have already “met” them on social media.
- Let’s pretend you are attending an event and some of the people you have been connecting with on social will be there. For most introverts, the hardest part is actually walking up to someone and saying hello, so try to change your mindset and think about the encounter not as “meeting someone for the first time,” but as “continuing the conversation you already started.”
- Lead with a simple introduction followed by a genuine compliment of their work. A flattering comment will set the tone and is an easy segue into further conversation!
- If you’re anxious about going to an event alone, ask a more extroverted friend to come along as your wingman/woman!
- PRO TIP: Before an event, think of three topics you can chat about with anyone that you aren’t “prepared” to talk to – 1 personal (gone on any trips lately?), 1 professional (any fun projects in the works?), and 1 topical (what brings you to the event?).
STEP 3: Follow Up
- FACT: Meeting people is not networking without followup.
- People are busy. Even if you meet someone and have a great conversation with them, don’t assume they will keep in touch!
- My general rule is: within 24 hours of meeting someone, send a followup email that offers something of value to them, THEN has a specific “ask.”
- PRO TIP: Make sure your “ask” is time sensitive. Even better if it is specific AND time sensitive. “I’d love to collaborate” is meh but “I’d love to collaborate on a webinar that I am planning to launch in September” is much better.
Ultimately, steps 1-3 don’t work unless you’ve done some homework and identified the people who you want to network with! As an introvert, I hate the idea of trying to start conversations with just anyone, so doing some advanced
stalking research is the key to getting started.
Keep going and be positive! Show you care and you will be set. Thanks for reading!
We had a great opportunity to attend the HRMA 2016 Conference the past week. As recruiters, we love to listen to speakers sharing their advice and experiences on how to expand teams and business in different and creative ways. In our field we believe that learning and growing as a person in a business is important. Here are some three takeaways we learned!
- Show interest.
Your employer and team members will want to know you want to be there. No one wants to work with someone negative. Becoming part of the office isn’t just about doing a job. It’s also important to join in the culture and camaraderie of your new workplace in order to give a positive impression and form relationships with the people there.
- The most important characteristics of staff of 2016 are Optimism and Empathy.
Employers are looking for those qualities on resumes, networking events and in you. These are important for relationship building, creativity, cultural sensitivity and the ability to manage diverse employees. As an employee, your office relationships are in a state of flux, and you don’t want to end up alienating anyone or gaining a reputation for being untrustworthy. Stay focused on work and some harmless personal sharing. If it might come back to haunt you, avoid it – showing empathy is the best way.
- With the expansion of technology, don’t forget that personality always win.
Between the networking, the cover letters, and the interviews, it can feel like nothing is tougher than getting to know your new team members and bosses. You want to be remembered for your strengths and your personality. Don’t be a robot. Be yourself and be confident.
Being a new hire or even wanting to change in your new role puts you on the spot to prove your worth. Show up ready to go above and beyond, and you’ll make a valuable place for yourself in no time! Call us if you need any advice. We love helping people achieve their goals and dreams.
Thanks for reading!
At the risk of being redundant, I am compelled to address an issue that many people have been concerned with. The other day, I had a conversation with a client and a good friend. We had not spoken in a few months, so I gave her a call to catch up. She sounded aloof and down, which is not her normal ‘spit fire’ disposition. ‘What’s going on, my friend, you do not sound like your normal ball of energy self’, I inquired. She responded with a big, heavy heart sigh, and then shared with me that she is really struggling to stay motivated, and this is effecting her ability to keep her team motivated and positive. She then shared that within the last month they had a reduction of force and she had to lay off 40 employees. ‘Perhaps you should start searching for a new position for me’, she said.
‘Nonsense’, I said. ‘You are a loyal, tenured employee that has true passion for both your job and the company’. And to quote how Cher so eloquently stated in Moonstruck, ‘Snap out of it!’ She laughed and brightened up, and replied, ‘What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger.’
I realize that these are hard times. Are they tumultuous times, I think not. Are they uncertain, when aren’t they. I spoke with a candidate a few weeks ago, a stellar guy that for years has been my ‘go to’ person for when I am seeking referrals. He told me that his company just laid off 108 employees, and he was one of them. We have all been in this playing field before, either a survivor of a layoff, or a product of reduction of force.
Being laid off is everyone’s fear. You can not let it run your life! I had a friend laid off and I went to check in on her. She was still in my pajamas at 4 in the afternoon. ‘What in the h#@% are you doing?’ I asked. She just shrugged it off. ‘If I were you I would take this time to ramp yourself up, sharpen your mind, recreate yourself.’ After I left, she thought about it long and hard. I got off the pity pot, and went to work. She started exercising 4 hours a day, she pulled out her paints and canvas, and joined a book club. Most importantly, she made a business plan. She treated unemployment like a full time job, and created a structure for herself. Not long afterward, she embraced ‘outside the box’ thinking, and had several interviews set up in industries she would not have thought compatible with her experience. A direction that inevitably lead her to her dream job. This was all due to the miracle of positive thinking.
With that said, and to repeat again, we have all been on one side of the fence or the other at one time. A survivor of layoffs, or a product of reduction of force.
One day I would like to share my journey of ‘out of the box’ thinking that brought me to where I am today.
Thanks for reading!
As a recruiter, we have to do many “awkward” things. Such as; sending cold emails. We do still do the “cold calling” but with the world hiding behind screens nowadays….it is easier to follow the trend.
Anyone looking to make connections in their career or life should take advantage of cold emailing, a largely untapped resource that can help you find direction and even a fulfilling career. Here are just a few tips to help you shake off the nerves and send a cold email that’s sure to impress any recipient.
WHY SEND A COLD EMAIL
If you’re looking to connect with a potential client, network in a new city, or even make friends with someone in your industry, sending a cold email can be a great way to get the ball rolling. Setting up informational interviews or casual coffee meetings with someone you want to learn more from can be super beneficial to your personal and professional life.
Reaching out to someone that you want to get to know is flattering for them, so don’t let your worries about getting in contact with a stranger deter you from sending a cold email. You just have to make sure that you send the right message to the right person. If you’re thinking of applying for a new job at a public relations firm, email someone in the same or a similar position that you’re applying for. If you want to increase your blog quality and engagement, find a blogger in a similar genre to what you’re looking to create.
CRAFTING YOUR MESSAGE
When crafting your cold email, keep things concise, professional and easy. The goal is to reach your goal with as little back-and-forth as possible. You don’t want to waste any of their limited time since they’re already giving you some of it by opening your email.
What you write depends on what you want. Be direct about your intentions.
Before you sit down to write, you should start by asking yourself these questions:
- What do I hope to gain from this interaction?
What you write depends on what you want. Maybe you’re looking to change industries and want to meet up with someone to see what the work is really like. Or you’re looking to get involved with an organization in your community, but would like to know more first. Be direct about your intentions.
- What do I have in common with this person?
Did you both attend the same university for undergrad? Do you have a friend or a previous employer in common? Mention it in your email. The person you’re reaching out to will be more likely to help you out if you share common interests or experiences.
Once you figure out who you want to email and what you need from them, format your email like this:
- Start by introducing yourself, telling the person what you do
- Note your common acquaintance(s) or shared interest
- Clearly outline how you think they can help you
- Include a direct ask, specifically a call-to-action. Do you just want to send them some questions about their job? Do you want to meet up and and potentially gain a new mentor? Include the specifics so they know how to respond
- If you’re looking to schedule a time to talk to them, make sure to include your availability so booking a meeting requires as few emails as possibleOnce you’ve sent your email, it’s time to be patient and wait it out. Don’t hound the person until they respond to you. Give them a two-week window to respond before you follow up. If you haven’t heard from them in that span of time, follow up in a reply to your previous email so that they see both messages in the same thread. If they don’t respond after your follow-up, you may want to move on to someone in a similar position and see if they’d be interested in helping you out.FOLLOW THROUGH AND FOLLOW UP
- If the person agrees to meet up with you or answer some questions via email, be courteous, punctual, and respectful of their time. There’s no shame in getting right down to business when you finally meet. You should treat it the same as you would a job interview, whether the purpose of the conversation is personal or professional. And be sure to follow up within 24 hours to thank them for taking the time to make your career journey a little easier.
- If you do meet with them to talk about their employer or industry, don’t show up expecting to hear that it’s an amazing place to work or thinking that this meeting is going to get you a job. Be honest with them and yourself about your expectations. If you really want to get the inside scoop on PR and marketing for a non-profit, then show up only expecting to have a conversation and learn something. If anything more comes out of it, that’ll just be a bonus.
- KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC
Finding a new job is an exciting time! Re-doing your resume, researching companies you believe are the “right fit” for you. As a reward, you finally got that expected phone call booking an interview at your favorite company. Congratulations!
However, even though you have constantly dreamed about it, it is completely understandable if fear invades you just after you hung up. Interviews can be very unsettling as you have no idea of what they will ask you. Who will be interviewing you? What questions will they ask? Don’t overthink!
Preparation is the key in these situations. These are a couple questions that are a bit tricky. Good luck!
1 – Have you ever had a bad experience with a previous job?
Here what really matters is how you dealt with the situation. Of course, you won’t tell anything that could disqualify you, such as being suspended. But be honest about what happened and make sure that you explain in detail how you manage to turn the experience into a good lesson.
2 – Why have you been out of work for so long?
This is a very tricky one, especially if you have been out of work for something that few companies might still see as a problem, such as depression. If this is the case, try to be as vague as possible and move the conversation to how you have managed to keep your skills updated and your network shining. When the reason is something like a sabbatical, prove to them how your experiences have made you an even better professional.
3 – What is your biggest weakness?
The most famous tricky question of them all is certainly this one. As a favorite of any interviewer, you should be prepared to answer it in a positive way. And all that you have to do is to talk about something that is considered as a weakness but that has a positive outcome – some of the best options available are to say that you get impatient when you can’t meet your goals, or that you are a perfectionist, because you want your work to be flawless.
4 – What you dislike the most about a corporative environment?
Another one hard to be answered directly. What your interviewer might be looking for is to identify bad team workers. So find a way to show that there isn’t anything that you dislike in a corporative environment in general, but maybe how some companies might go wrong about it.
5 – Tell about a day when you messed up at work
Don’t even try to lie here and say that you have never messed up. Not being able to admit failure is a fast way not to get the job. What you need to prove instead is that you have learned from your mistakes and that you will not do it again.
6 – How would you deliver bad news to a colleague?
Answering this question will show how capable you are to deal with stressful situations, especially those that involve emotion. Plus, you will be able to show off your diplomatic and communicational skills at the highest level.
7 – Will you be out to take my job?
Sure you will, but you wouldn’t say that, would you? The best way to answer this question is saying that you are happy with the position offered at the moment and try to deal with it as a joke if possible.
8 – How will I know that you aren’t going to change careers again?
If you have changed careers is very likely that you will hear this question. So be prepared to say that you have made up your mind about what you want professionally from now on. Also, let they know the bright side of the story and how your previous career can add value to their company.
9 – Why did you left your last job?
With this question, they want to know if you just angrily stormed out. Ensure that you explain the circumstances but also how you broke the news to your previous employers, if you helped them to find a replacement and how you supported the transitional process.
10 – You have been fired from your last job. How did it make you feel?
The point here is to show that you aren’t short-tempered and that you didn’t keep any grudge from your previous
Interviews should be a fun challenge! This is your time to shine as an employee. Don’t overthink an interview. Be prepared and research before. Look the part! You got this!