Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Using social networks to find job opportunities

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

A short video with great tips to leverage social networks to develop relationships that may lead to job opportunities.

Best way to find a job

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Have you seen the lines of people applying for jobs every time there’s a job opening or a career fair? Have you actually stood in one of those lines yourself hoping to land a job?

My question is: What are the chances of you getting a job for which there are thousands of applicants? If you take into consideration the waiting, the frustration, and the anxiety you experience as you talk to other unemployed people, it is definitely not the best way to spend your time.

Volunteering in a project or organization you care about is a much more effective way to invest your time. You get to develop meaningful relationships with people who share your interests and who appreciate your dedication, you stay active and you might even learn a few new skills that will come handy when you find work again. And as 70-80% of jobs are still found through networking, building a stronger network is a better path to employment than anything else.

But there’s an additional benefit to volunteering: you get to discover what you are really passionate about, something critical in a time when you might need to change careers or the industry where you work. Realizing that you are good with people and that you’d rather spend time helping them get healthy than, say, trading stocks, is a great first step towards a more fulfilled life.

Take the opportunity to seriously explore your options and to connect your skills with your knowledge and passion. You may be surprised by how good it feels to do something you love even if it means you will make less money or that you will have to create your own job. Speaking of which… I think this is the way of the future. But that’s the topic for a different post!

Surprise someone

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Everyone likes surprises, especially during the holiday season and particularly, this holiday season that is so full of gloom and doom everywhere you look. Here’s an idea you should try.

Pick someone in your network who you would not usually send a gift to, someone who has helped you with small gestures, such as putting your phone call through an important contact or someone who has moved your resume to the top of the pile so you could get that job interview.

We all know people who have done those kinds of small favors that mean so much to us, and yet, they usually go unrecognized. So try this. Send them a small gift: a chocolate bar with a note; flowers; a balloon with a stuffed animal. Something that tells them you remember them and you value their help.

You will put a smile on their faces and you will have become memorable. Those kinds of acts are what make you stand out from the crowd as people talk about you by the cooler this holiday season.

A great networking tip on video

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whSKrw9gM10

Watch a one minute tip on networking that you can easily apply at the next convention or event you attend. I recorded this short video for a workshop that Speakers World www.speakersworld.com will conduct at the NSHMBA conference in Atlanta, both on October 9th and 10th. The workshop is about developing a good presentation and it will be conducted by the great Brenda Besdansky. Don’t miss it if you’re around!

Watch your words

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

    I was at Kellari’s Parea, a wonderful Greek Bistro in Midtown Manhattan, earlier this week. I was sitting at the bar waiting for a friend to join me for dinner when I heard my name mentioned behind my back. No, seriously. The voice came from behind me.

After the second time that I heard my name I turned to see if my friend had arrived, had sat down at a table and was calling me. What would be my surprise when I saw another friend, the editor of Siempre Mujer www.siempremujer.com, with a group of her friends, talking about me!

I walked around so she didn’t see me coming and put my arm around her. I got close to her ear before she could even see who I was and I said: “I hope you’re not saying anything bad about me, because I heard you talking!” She almost died at the incredible coincidence! And yes she was talking about me in the nicest terms!

But you know what? These kinds of things happen to me (and I assume to lots of people) all the time. And I mean it: all the time. If you want proof, just read my post “Small world” and you’ll see what I mean. Once again, the episode was a great reminder that you should never talk poorly about your colleagues. If you have nothing nice to say, it’s better not to say anything! But also, a reminder that we should all be careful when we talk in public as you never really know who’s eavesdropping.

The Art of Small Talk

Monday, August 25th, 2008

For many people, the worst part of networking is actually establishing the initial contact. How do you begin a conversation with a stranger? Well, that’s the key right there. You shouldn’t think about it as a full blown conversation. Set your goal at a less threatening level: chit chat.

The topic of your chit chat will vary according to where you are, but what is important right now, is for you to frame the interaction as something light, not something where you’ll have to proof how smart you are or how much you know about specific topic.

If you’re at an event, standing next to someone while you get a drink, try initiating the dialog with:

  • Are you a member of this organization?
  • Have you been to one of these events before?
  • Isn’t this a fabulous event? I’m really enjoying the… (fill in the blank)

    Follow these simple questions with others that are a little bit more “fact” based:

  • Do you know if there are any special requisites to join this organization?
  • How did you find out about the event?
  • Are you familiar with …. organization? They do similar events. I’ve been to… (fill in the blank)

    As your colleague notices your interest in him/her, continue moving your interaction to more professionally related questions:

  • Where do you work?
  • Do you like working for your company?
  • Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?

    The dialog will flow from there as the other person asks you questions. And before you know it, you’ll be having that conversation you were dreading, in the most natural way.

  • Small World

    Saturday, August 9th, 2008

    Tuesday night I had dinner with an old acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t seen in ten years. She had moved overseas and had only returned to the States at the end of last year.

    She had been hired by a woman who was leaving her position -let’s call her Carla- and my friend was very happy about her new job. She didn’t know what company Carla –who I know as well– had moved to but she thought she might have left the industry.

    On Friday I went out for drinks with a group of colleagues who work in one of the publications to which I contribute. What would be my surprise to see Carla amongst the people invited! She was now working at this publishing house!

    This was a great reminder of a rule I live by: never speak ill of anybody!! It’s a small world and it’s getting smaller!

    Send Summer cards

    Thursday, July 10th, 2008
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    I never stopped sending Christmas cards to my contacts, even with the advent of e-cards. But a couple of years ago I started a new tradition: sending summer cards.

      It started because I wanted to share some of the pictures I had taken during my trip to the Greek islands. I had been looking for a different occasion to stay in touch with my network other than the big holidays when people are usually bombarded by mail.

        So, I went to one of the websites where you get to design your own cards and uploaded my pictures, created my text and voila! I had my own customized card. As a matter of fact, I designed more than one so that I could send different cards to contacts who worked at the same company.

        They were an immediate hit! I got lots of e-mails commenting on the cards which I turned into a perfect opportunity to discuss projects with my connections.

          This year I made the cards funny. It’s working out really well; people are loving them not just because of the thought but because I turned them into a reminder to enjoy the summer and take some time off.

            Try something different to stay in touch with your network. Linkedin alone is not going to cut it! 

            Aspirantes

            Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
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            They are the energetic, professional leaders of the future and they are here now! The high school students members of ASPIRA, called Aspirantes, develop a strong bond amongst themselves that last a life time. I met several the other day at the Aspira of New York Annual Circle of Latino Achievers luncheon.

            Whether they are still in high school or they were Aspirantes 20 years ago, everyone expressed great passion for the people they had met through this organization. And just like when you are a member of any meaningful group, they help each other along the way.

            Joining organizations like ASPIRA (www.aspira.org) that help them develop leadership skills while still in high school is a wonderful way for teenagers to open doors. Above and beyond all the mentorship and guidance they received during their years as Aspirantes, all of the students attending the luncheon got scholarships for college.

            Asking questions to expand your network

            Monday, April 28th, 2008

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            Last Friday I presented a Networking workshop for the scholars of the Young Latinas Leadership Institute, a group of the 100 Hispanic Women organization. They are students at the City University of New York (CUNY) who receive a $1000 scholarship every year during their four years of college plus mentorship, internships and support from 100 Hispanic Women.

              I talked about the importance of establishing relationships while they are in college and that an excellent way to develop a good network is by becoming visible to others. That means, to get others to know you and notice you for your uniqueness, relevance and for what you have to offer.

                One way to achieve this is by asking questions at workshops and presentations you attend so you get noticed by presenters and participants alike. The key is to ask the right question! So here is a description of what a good question sounds like:

                  • It makes you look smart while it doesn’t make you look smarter than the presenter

                    • It allows the presenter to continue to show off his or her expertise

                      • It gives the audience additional information that they hadn’t heard yet• It doesn’t put the presenter on the spot

                        • It’s not confrontational

                          My suggestion is that before you ask a question at an event, you introduce yourself and thank the presenter for the presentation or for his/her insights or for his/her inspiration, whatever the case may be. Then go ahead and ask a question that is:

                            • Short

                              • Well phrased
                              • To the point

                              The idea is that when you ask good questions, most of the time, people want to meet you and find out more about who you are and what you do. And that is a powerful way to expand your professional network.